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USCIS proposes comprehensive adjustment of its fee schedule

Posted November 15, 2019Jennifer Salviati - Sr. ParalegalArticles

On November 8th, 2019 The Department of Homeland Security released notice that it intended to publish a proposed rule which would comprehensively adjust the fee schedule of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). As an agency funded primarily by revenue generated by fees, this proposed effort would aim to close USCIS’ budget gaps which officials claim are caused by increased adjudication loads, increased operating costs and an overtaxed agency infrastructure.   

The proposed adjustments reflect a weighted average increase of 21% on all USCIS fees, however, the filing fees for certain processes such as those associated with Applications to Replace Permanent Resident Cards (Form I-90) and Immigrant Petitions for Alien Workers (Form I-140) will be adjusted downwards to account for what the agency believes to be inequities in the current fee structure in regards to the complexity of certain case types and the manpower required to adjudicate them in comparison to others.

The proposed rule, if enacted, would also see restructuring of the fees and filing procedures associated with certain common visa types that are currently filed on Form I-129, such as those for H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, O, R and L visas. The proposed rule sets forth plans to roll out new versions of Form I-129 which integrate the visa-type-specific supplements which are currently filed separately, and to charge different, separate, filing fees for each visa type instead of the current, uniform $460 fee for all filings on Form I-129.

USCIS claims that the adjustment of fees would allow the agency to begin to clear the oftentimes lengthy adjudication backlogs for certain visa types by allowing them to “…assign more resources to …particular adjudication as needs and priorities dictate.”

If the proposed fees are enacted, employers may see the following fees change:       

  • Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (H-1B): $560- 22% increase from current $460 fee
  • Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (L-1A or L-1B): $815- 77% increase from current $460 fee
  • Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (O-1): $715- 55% increase from current $460 fee
  • I-140- Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker: $545 -22% decrease from current $700 fee

Please contact your Meltzer Hellrung attorney if you have any concerns or questions about the proposed, prospective changes to USCIS filing fees.