U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services posted a pre-publication version of a regulation that would raise government filing fees for immigration petitions, applications and other benefits. The official proposed rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register on Nov. 14.

Key points:

  • The fees would be raised by a weighted average of 21% and would affect most employment-based petitions and requests.
  • Among the proposed changes, USCIS would separate Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker into several separate forms for each classification, such as H-1, L, O, TN, etc., that would each have its own filing fee.

Background: According to the proposal, the current fees are not sufficient to fund USCIS services based on projected budgeting. The government last raised immigration-related fees in December 2016.

BAL Analysis: Companies should budget for potentially substantial increases in government filing fees for immigration-related petitions and applications, particularly for nonimmigrant worker classifications for which new forms would be introduced along with new filing fees significantly higher than the current Form I-129. It is too early to know whether the new H-1 fees would be implemented in time for H-1B cap cases filed in 2020. BAL is reviewing the proposed rule and will follow up with more detailed analysis in coming days.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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