Employment Law Report
USCIS Final Fee Increase
Written by: Glen W. Krebs
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has released a final rule regarding fee increases for various immigrant and non-immigrant visas. The rule, released on January 30, 2024, is the first fee increase for USCIS since 2016. The new fee increases will go into effect on April 1, 2024; note that any applications postmarked prior to April 1, 2024 will use the current fee schedule. The fee increases will be used to assist USCIS in covering its operating costs and support timely processing of new applications. The fee increase was first proposed in January 2023, after receiving over 5,400 public comments USCIS revealed the final rule. The final rule reduces the proposed fee increases for many categories.
There are particularly large increases for some common business non-immigrant categories. The fee to enter the H-1B lottery has increased from $10 for each prospective beneficiary to $215. This will likely reduce the number of employers entering the lottery due to the increased barrier to entry. H-1B, L, E, and O visa fees which were previously all $460 will increase to $780, $1,385, $1,015, and $1,055, respectively.
For immigrant visas, one key change is the requirement to pay fees for Employment Authorization and Advanced Parole when filing an I-485 Adjustment of Status. Previously, when accompanying an I-485 to adjust status, there was no fee for Employment Authorization or Advanced Parole. Under the new rule, when filed concurrently with the I-485, the Employment Authorization fee will be reduced by half to $260 and the $630 Advanced Parole fee will have to be paid in full. This is in addition to the I-485 fee raising from $1,225 to $1,440.
USCIS is also increasing the number of applications that may be filed online. To incentivize filing online, fees will be decreased by $50. The fee increases are reduced in most cases from the initial proposed rule but still entail a significant increase in costs for immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
If you are in need of any immigration services there is no better time than the present. Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs is uniquely situated with experienced immigration attorneys ready to provide assistance.