U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today published a proposed rule that would significantly raise immigration filing fees.

The proposed increases would take effect later this year and would affect employment-based petitions and related applications for foreign nationals and family members.

Key proposed fee increases:

Type of Petition Current Proposed Increase
Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (I-129) $325 $460 42%
Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (I-140) $580 $700 21%
Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (I-485) $985 $1,140 16%
Petition for Alien Relative (I-130) $420 $535 27%
Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (I-539) $290 $370 28%
Application for Employment Authorization Document (I-765) $380 $410 8%
Application for Travel Document (I-131/131A) $360 $575 60%
Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card (I-90) $365 $455 25%
Application for Naturalization (Standard N-400) $595 $640 8%
Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes (N-470) $330 $355 8%

A full schedule of proposed fee changes may be viewed here.

Additional proposed changes:

  • USCIS would reject petitions that are accompanied by a failed or dishonored check. This would impact H-1B cap-subject petitions, which would be removed from the lottery. Current regulations allow such petitions to be eligible for the lottery as long as the check is corrected within 14 days. The agency does not have data on how many H-1B petitions would be affected and is seeking comments on the change’s potential impact.
  • USCIS would reject applications submitted without the correct biometric services fee (which would remain at the current amount of $85). Under current rules, USCIS notifies the applicant of the deficiency and holds the application until proper payment is made within an allotted time.
  • Naturalization applications would follow a three-tiered schedule. The standard fee for Applications for Naturalization (N-400) would increase from $595 to $640; a reduced fee of $320 would be charged to applicants at 150-200 percent of the poverty level; no fee would be charged for military service applicants and those qualifying for fee waivers.

Background: USCIS signaled increases in immigration fees in April when it submitted proposed rulemaking for review by the Office of Management and Budget, indicating that “the current fee schedule does not adequately recover the full costs of services provided by USCIS.” Immigration fees are subject to review every two years and were last raised in 2010.

The agency stated that if it does not adjust the current fees to recover the full costs of immigration services it would be forced to reduce services, reversing recent progress in reducing case backlogs.

BAL Analysis: USCIS will accept comments for a 60-day period ending July 5. After comments are received and reviewed, the agency will publish a final rule. Companies and individuals should plan for increased government filing fees for immigration-related petitions. Those interested in submitting comments may contact their BAL professional or submit comments directly to USCIS.

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

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