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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a proposal Tuesday to increase fees for immigration benefit requests, including all high-skilled classifications.
Additional Information: USCIS has not increased fees since 2016. The Trump administration issued a regulation to increase fees in 2020 but was blocked in court from implementing it. USCIS has stated it needs additional funding to continue to work through backlogs, restore reasonable processing times and prevent future backlogs.
USCIS will hold a virtual public listening session during which the public may speak directly on the questions raised in the proposed rule. This session will be held at 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 11. An FAQ on the proposed fee increases is available here.
Separately, the State Department submitted a final rule to increase nonimmigrant and special visa application processing fees for review last week to the White House Office of Management and Budget. The text of the rule is not available, but OMB review is the last step in the rulemaking process before it can be published. The State Department has said the increases will help “ensure that the fees for providing these consular services better align with the costs of providing the services.”
BAL Analysis: The proposed USCIS fee increases would impose significant costs on employers. However, the agency may make changes to its proposal, and the higher fees will not take effect for several months. The increased State Department fees will also increase costs for employers; the exact amount of the fee increases is not known at this time. BAL will continue following the proposal and will provide updates as information becomes available. BAL will be hosting a webinar on the USCIS fee increases and their impact on employer’s immigration programs in the context of talent acquisition priorities. More information on the webinar will be available here in the coming days.
*For a full list of the proposed USCIS fee increases, see page 18 of the proposed rule.
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