Government Filing Fee Changes May Be Coming Soon

On May 3, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a proposed rule that seeks to increase filing and processing fees for certain applications. The proposed rule will be open to comment from the public until July 5, 2016. This proposed rule is not yet effective. It is uncertain if the rule will be finalized and implemented. The proposed amounts below may change, if and when the rule is finalized.

The proposed rule includes fee changes for the following applications, among others:

  • Petitions filed on behalf of non-immigrant workers, such as H-1B, L-1, O-1, E-2, P-1, TN, etc. (Form I-129): increase from $325 to $460.
  • Immigrant petitions filed on behalf of alien relatives (Form I-130): increase from $420 to $535.
  • Fiance(e) petitions (Form I-129F): increase from $340 to $535.
  • Immigrant petitions on behalf of alien workers (Form I-140): increase from $580 to $700.
  • Immigrant petition by alien entrepreneur under the EB-5 program (Form I-526): increase from $1,500 to $3,675.
  • Application for Regional Center Designation under the EB-5 program (Form I-924): increase from $6,230 to $17,795.
  • USCIS also seeks to require  a new filing fee of $3,035 for the Form I-924A, which is used for applications under the EB-5 Regional Center program.
  • Application for adjustment of status (Form I-485): increase from $985 to $1140 (plus $85 biometrics fee).
  • Application for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (Form I-765): increase from $380 to $410.
  • Application for naturalization/U.S. Citizenship (Form N-400): increase from $595 to $640 (plus $85 biometrics fee).  Note that USCIS will seek to reduce the fee to $320 for applicants that meet certain income criteria.  A fee waiver will continue to be available to low-income applicants.
  • Application for a certificate of citizenship (Form N-600): increase from $600 to $1,170
  • S. Immigrant Fee for individuals entering the U.S. on immigrant visas issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad: increase from $165 to $220.

DHS also proposes to remove regulatory provisions that prevent USCIS from rejecting an immigration or naturalization benefit request paid with a dishonored check or lacking the required biometric services fee until the remitter has been provided an opportunity to correct the deficient payment.  Finally, DHS proposes to clarify that persons filing any benefit request may be required to appear for biometrics services or an interview and may be required to pay the biometrics services fee.

As discussed above, the proposed rule may look completely different after comments are reviewed by DHS. Individuals who are considering the filing of an application or petition for immigration benefits should  continue to monitor the proposed rule, which may be found here. If and when it is finalized, such individuals may consider filing their applications or petitions prior to the effective date of the rule, in order to avoid becoming the subject of higher fees.

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