USCIS Fee Increases

USCIS Announces Significant Fee Adjustments Effective April 1, 2024

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently unveiled a series of significant fee adjustments, set to take effect on April 1, 2024. According to USCIS, these changes are aimed at addressing chronic underfunding issues and supporting the expansion of services provided by USCIS. The key objective is to achieve an overall average fee increase of 26%, which reflects the Consumer Price Index changes since the last fee update in 2016. However, it is important to note that this average increase encompasses a mix of reductions and substantial fee hikes across various benefit request categories.

Here are more details regarding this important update and its impact on immigrants and employers.

Background On Recent USCIS Fee Increases

The process of revising USCIS fees began with a notice of proposed rulemaking issued on November 14, 2019. Subsequently, the final rule was published on August 3, 2020, which sought to implement a weighted average fee increase of 21%. This rule was initially scheduled to take effect on October 2, 2020. However, in a noteworthy turn of events, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction against the proposed fee rule on September 29, 2020. The court cited various concerns, including the adverse impact on low-income immigrant populations, procedural and substantive violations of the Administrative Procedure Act and a failure by the previous administration to sufficiently justify the policy shift. While there is talk of lawsuits against the new proposed fees, there may be fewer grounds available to justify another injunction.

Disproportionate Impact of USCIS Fee Increases

One of the critical issues highlighted during the fee adjustment process was the disproportionate impact on certain immigrant groups, particularly those least equipped to absorb higher costs. For instance, the 2020 proposals sought to increase the fee for the N-400 Application for Naturalization from $640 to $1,160, representing an 81% increase. In contrast, the 2024 fee for N-400 Naturalization will increase from $640 to $760, marking a comparatively modest 19% increase. However, to achieve the necessary overall fee increase, employment-based fees will see substantial adjustments, with the 2024 fee for an I-129 Petition for H-1B workers increasing from $460 to $780, a significant 70% increase.

USCIS Fee Reductions and Exceptions

Amid these substantial fee increases, there are notable exceptions where fees may be reduced or adjusted:

  • Individuals seeking adjustment of status will pay half the standard fee for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, provided they have already paid the full fee for a concurrently filed or pending adjustment application.
  • Most applicants will no longer be required to pay a separate biometric services fee.
  • Nonprofits and small employers (with 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees) filing Form I-129, will benefit from a 50% discounted fee, or they may pay the same fee as under the previous fee rule if it results in a lower cost.
  • There will be a $50 discount for forms filed online with USCIS, except in limited circumstances where the form fee is already substantially discounted, or when USCIS is prohibited by law from charging a full cost recovery fee.
  • Naturalization applicants filing Form N-400 with incomes between 150% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines will pay half the full fee. Previous regulations allowed this discount for incomes between 150% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Source: USCIS Frequently Asked Questions on the USCIS Fee Rule

USCIS Fee Increase Impact on Employers

These fee adjustments are likely to have a substantial impact on employers’ budgets for 2024, as well as their planning for the FY2026 H-1B Cap. It is crucial for employers to proactively assess the implications of these changes and consider strategies to mitigate their impact.

For a more comprehensive understanding of these fee adjustments, here is a summary of some notable fee changes:

USCIS Fees being increased by 26% or more include:

Type of FilingCurrent Fee(s)NPRM Fee(s)Final Fee(s)Current vs. Final Fees% Change
H-1B Registration Process Fee$10.00  $215.00  $215.00 $205.00 2050%
I-526/526E Immigrant Petition by Standalone/Regional Center$3,675.00  $11,160.00  $11,160.00 $7,485.00 204%
I-129 Petition for L Nonimmigrant workers$460.00  $1,385.00  $1,385.00 $925.00 201%
I-956 Application for Regional Center Designation$17,795.00  $47,695.00  $47,695.00 $29,900.00 168%
I-956F Application for Approval of an Investment in a Commercial Enterprise$17,795.00  $47,695.00  $47,695.00 $29,900.00 168%
I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions$3,750.00  $9,525.00  $9,525.00 $5,775.00 154%
I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions (with biometric services)$3,835.00  $9,525.00  $9,525.00 $5,690.00 148%
I-129 H-2A – Named Beneficiaries$460.00  $1,090.00  $1,090.00 $630.00 137%
I-129 H-2B – Named Beneficiaries$460.00  $1,080.00  $1,080.00 $620.00 135%
I-129 Petition for O Nonimmigrant workers$460.00  $1,055.00  $1,055.00 $595.00 129%
I-129CW CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker and I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: E, H-3, P, Q, R, or TN Classifications$460.00  $1,015.00  $1,015.00 $555.00 121%
I-192 Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant (CBP)$585.00  $1,100.00  $1,100.00 $515.00 88%
I-129CW CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker and I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: E, H-3, P, Q, R, or TN Classifications (with biometric services)$545.00  $1,015.00  $1,015.00 $470.00 85%
I-129 H-1B$460.00  $780.00  $780.00 $320.00 70%
I-129 Petition for L Nonimmigrant workers (small employers and nonprofits)$460.00  $1,385.00  $695.00 $235.00 51%
I-956G Regional Center Annual Statement$3,035.00  $4,470.00  $4,470.00 $1,435.00 47%
I-131 Refugee Travel Document for a child under the age of 16$105.00  $135.00  $135.00 $30.00 29%
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (under the age of 14 in certain conditions)$750.00  $1,540.00  $950.00 $200.00 27%
I-690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility Under Sections 245A or 210 of the Immigration and Nationality Act$715.00  $985.00  $905.00 $190.00 27%
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits$600.00  $875.00  $760.00 $160.00 27%
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition$465.00  $675.00  $590.00 $125.00 27%
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (paper filing)$410.00  $650.00  $520.00 $110.00 27%
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status (paper filing)$370.00  $620.00  $470.00 $100.00 27%
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status$1,140.00  $1,540.00  $1,440.00 $300.00 26%
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal$930.00  $1,395.00  $1,175.00 $245.00 26%
I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision$890.00  $1,155.00  $1,125.00 $235.00 26%
I-910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation$785.00  $1,230.00  $990.00 $205.00 26%
I-601A Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver$630.00  $1,105.00  $795.00 $165.00 26%
I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence$595.00  $1,195.00  $750.00 $155.00 26%
I-129F Petition for Alien FiancĂ©(e)$535.00  $720.00  $675.00 $140.00 26%
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative (paper filing)$535.00  $820.00  $675.00 $140.00 26%
I-129 H-2B – Unnamed Beneficiaries$460.00  $580.00  $580.00 $120.00 26%
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document$445.00  $680.00  $560.00 $115.00 26%

Source: USCIS Frequently Asked Questions on the USCIS Fee Rule

We understand that these changes raise questions and concerns. Our team at Maggio Kattar is dedicated to providing guidance and assistance throughout this transition. If you have any questions or need further information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

In conclusion, the USCIS fee adjustments set to go into effect on April 1, 2024, are a significant development that will affect various stakeholders in the immigration process. Staying informed and seeking expert advice is crucial during this period of change. We will continue to monitor developments in this area and provide updates as necessary.