USCIS Has Issued a Final Rule to Adjust Fees Beginning on April 1, 2024

On January 30, 2024, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule to adjust immigration and naturalization fees.  Effective April 1, 2024, key categories that will see fee increases include: H-1B Cap Registration Fees; Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers in H, L, O, E, P, and TN classifications; Form I-140, Immigrant Petition; Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status; Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; and I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, among others. The proposed fee increases impose significant costs on employers, especially for-profit employers with over 25 full-time employees. Employers will need to take these fee increases into consideration when reviewing and revising budget forecasts as well as internal immigration policies.

USCIS FEE INCREASES IN KEY CATEGORIES:

H-1B Cap Registration (NOTE: will not impact FY2025 Cap Registrations)

  • Current Fee: $10 // New Fee: $215

I-129* Petition for H-1B; H-1B1 Nonimmigrant Worker

  • Current Fee: $460 // New Fee: $780 for employers with >25 FTE; $460 for small employers (25 or fewer FTE) and nonprofits

I-129* Petition for L Nonimmigrant Worker

  • Current Fee: $460 // New Fee: $1,385 for employers with >25 FTE; $695 for small employers (25 or fewer FTE) and nonprofits

I-129* Petition for O Nonimmigrant Worker

  • Current Fee: $460 // New Fee: $1,055 for employers >25 FTE; $530 for small employers (25 or fewer FTE) and nonprofits

I-129* Application for E; P; TN Nonimmigrant Worker

  • Current Fee: $460 // New Fee: $1,015 for employers >25 FTE; $510 for small employers (25 or fewer FTE) and nonprofits

I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

  • Current Fee: $370 // New Fee: $420, if filed online; $470, if paper filing

I-140* Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

  • Current Fee: $700 // New Fee: $715

I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

  • Current Fee: $1,140 // New Fee: $1,440, for standalone filing

I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (under age 14)

  • Current Fee: $750 // New Fee: $950

I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

  • Current Fee: $410 // New Fee: $470, if filed online; $520, if paper filing; $260, if filed concurrently with Adjustment of Status application or for renewal during pendency of AOS application ***Fee is no longer waived if filed concurrently with Adjustment of Status application***

I-131 Application for Travel Document

  • Current Fee: $575 // New Fee: $630 ***Fee is no longer waived if filed concurrently with Adjustment of Status application***

*NEW FEE ALERT:

Every I-129 and I-140 petition will now require a $600 Asylum Program Fee as of April 1, 2024, in addition to the separate Form I-129 and I-140 filing fee increases. The Asylum Program Fee is $300 for small employers with 25 or fewer full-time employees, and there is no fee for nonprofits.

NEW FORM ALERT:

In addition to the above-listed fee adjustments, USCIS will issue new editions of Form I-129 and Form I-140 on April 1, 2024. There will be no grace period for the new forms, so any petitions submitted on or after April 1, 2024, including FY2025 H-1B cap filings, will need to be prepared on or after April 1, 2024, after the new form editions are released.

REMINDER: Premium Processing Fee Increases Effective February 26, 2024

As a reminder, premium processing fees will see the following increases take effect on February 26, 2024:

Form I-129 Petition for E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, LZ, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, TN-1, and TN-2:

  • Current Fee: $2,500 // New Fee: $2,805

Form I-129 Petition for H-2B or R-1:

  • Current Fee: $1,500 // New Fee: $1,685

Form I-140 Petition:

  • Current Fee: $2,500 // New Fee: $2,805

Form I-539 Application requesting a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2:

  • Current Fee: $1,750 // New Fee: $1,965

Form I-765 for F-1 students seeking OPT or STEM OPT extensions:

  • Current Fee: $1,500 // New Fee: $1,685

Premium processing is an expedited processing service that is available for certain types of immigration benefits requests. By requesting premium processing, USCIS guarantees they will take action on the case—typically a decision or Request for Evidence—within a certain timeframe (or else refund the premium processing fee).

In addition to fee increases, the premium processing service will change from calendar days to business days for the majority of cases, almost doubling processing times. The new timeframes for premium processing are below:

  • 15 business days for most classifications, including but not limited to Form I-129 for H-1B classification, Form I-140 for EB-1A extraordinary ability and EB-1B outstanding researcher classifications, and all PERM-based I-140s;
  • 30 calendar days for Form I-765 for F-1 students seeking OPT or STEM OPT extensions;
  • 30 calendar days for Form I-539 applicants requesting a change of status to F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status, once all prerequisites, including receipt of biometrics, have been met; and
  • 45 calendar days for Form I-140 EB-1C multinational executive and manager and Form I-140 EB-2 national interest waiver classifications.

Not all petitions eligible for premium processing are recommended to utilize the service. In some cases, it may be strategically sound to file with regular processing, depending on the circumstances.

USCIS has not increased fees since 2016. Following a comprehensive biennial fee review, USCIS determined that fee increases were needed to provide the funding required for USCIS to provide adequate service to applicants and petitioners, maintain workloads without delaying USCIS processing times, and improve backlogs. USCIS also released an FAQ on the final rule’s fee adjustments, including a complete new fee schedule table, available here.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please reach out to your McCown & Evans attorney for more information.