The Department of Homeland Security announced a final rule (PDF) that adjusts fees for certain immigration and naturalization benefit requests to ensure U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recovers its costs of services.
Under the new rule, total filing fees for adjustment applications (green card) and ancillary benefits will nearly double, as will fees for naturalization. Employers petitioning for nonimmigrant employees would be subject to fee increases of up to 75%, depending on the nonimmigrant classification sought. With some case types, including naturalization applications and requests to replace or extend green card, a $10 discount will be offered to those that opt to file applications online instead of by mail. Currently, adjustment applicants pay a filing fee of $1,225. This fee covers the adjustment application itself, as well as applications for initial employment authorization documents (EADs) and advance parole (AP). It also covers future EAD and AP renewals while the adjustment case is pending. The new fee structure eliminates this total, “bundled” fee, and instead require separate fees for new and renewed EADs and APs. The cost to file an adjustment application with ancillary benefits will increase to $2,270, and applicants will be required to pay fees of $550 and $590, respectively, for each EAD and AP renewal.
In addition to fee increases, the final rule increases the premium processing timeline to almost three weeks (from 15 calendar days) imposes new fees and/or additional fees on asylum and DACA applicants, and requires employers with a high proportion of H-1B and L-1 employees to make additional border security fee payments when petitioning for these employees.
Instead of the current Form I-129 fee of $460, an employer would file a visa-specific I-129 form with its new accompanying fee. The change would affect all classifications sought through the Form I-129, including H-1B, H-2A/B, L-1, O, and TN.
The proposed H-1B fee increase is 21%, to $555. The L-1 classification has the highest increase, with a fee of $805, 75% more than employers currently pay for each L-1 initial or extension of stay petition filed with USCIS.
For a full list of changes and a complete table of final fees, see the final rule (PDF).
This final rule is effective Oct. 2, 2020. Any application, petition, or request postmarked on or after this date must include payment of the new, correct fees established by this final rule.
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