A federal judge denied a motion to halt the implementation of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services fee increases Friday. This means the fee increases will take effect as scheduled on Monday, April 1.

Key Points:

  • The Department of Homeland Security published a final rule on Jan. 31 to increase USCIS filing fees for the first time since 2016.
  • Last week, groups representing employers and visa applicants sued DHS, saying the agency did not follow proper procedures in drafting the fee rule. The plaintiffs subsequently asked for injunctive relief to stop the fees from taking effect while their lawsuit continued.
  • U.S. District Judge Charlotte Sweeney denied the plaintiff’s motion to stop the fee increases from taking effect April 1 but did not dismiss the case.

Background: Under the fee rule, base immigration filing fees will increase significantly and a new asylum program fee will be charged for each Form I-129 and Form I-140 filing. The rule also changes premium processing time frames and requires applicants and petitioners to use new forms in many cases. More information is available here.

BAL Analysis: Litigation over the fee rule is expected to continue, but the judge’s ruling Friday means that the fee hikes will take effect April 1. Employers will see costs increase substantially, including for fiscal year 2025 H-1B cap petition filings. Companies can use BAL’s USCIS fee calculator to gauge the impact the increases will have on their immigration programs. BAL will provide additional information as it becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group.

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