Key Takeaways of USCIS Filing Fee Increases

Today August 3, 2020, USCIS published a final rule that significantly increases certain immigration filing fees. The rule, which will be effective October 2, 2020, also removes some fee exemptions, changes fee waiver requirements, alters premium processing time limits, and modifies intercountry adoption processing. Any application, petition, or request postmarked on or after October 2, 2020, must be accompanied with the fees set forth in the final rule.

The following is a summary of the upcoming USCIS fee changes:

Adjustment of Status. Removes the reduced Form I-485 filing fee for children under the age of 14 filing with their parent. A standard Form I-485 fee of $1,130 will apply to all applicants.

Requires separate fees for Forms I-765 ($550) and Forms I-131 ($590) filed in connection with applications for adjustment of status, more than doubling the total cost of filing an adjustment of status application package to $2,270.

Provides a $50 reduction in the fee for Form I-485 filed in the future for principal applicants who pay the $50 fee for Form I-589 and are subsequently granted asylum.

Electronic Filing. Provides that the fee for forms currently available for online filing with USCIS and filed online will be $10 lower than the fee for the same paper forms.

Premium Processing. The final rule also lengthens the timeframe for USCIS to take an adjudicative action on petitions filed with a request for premium processing from 15 calendar days to 15 business days.

The Premium Processing fee can automatically increase annually without notice and comment rulemaking if the fee increase will only be in accordance with the increase in the Consumer Price Index.

Asylum. Establishes a $50 filing fee for Form I-589.

Provides a $50 reduction in the fee for Form I-485 filed in the future for principal applicants who pay the $50 fee for Form I-589 and are subsequently granted asylum.

Biometrics. Creates a $30 biometrics fee for TPS initial applicants and re-registrants and asylum applicants and long-term CNMI residents filing a Form I-765.

Removes the $85 biometrics fee for most other applications.

Employment Based Immigration. Creates separate fees and forms for each visa classification filed on Form I-129, with fees increasing as much as 75 percent for an L-1 petition.

USCIS is limiting the number of named beneficiaries to 25 that may be included on a single petition for H-2A, H-2B, H-3, O-2 P, Q, E, and TN workers.

PL 111-230 fees for employers with significant numbers of H/L employees (“50-50 rule”) will now also apply to H-1B and L-1 extension petitions, in addition to initial petitions. It will not apply to amended petitions that are not seeking an associated extension request.

Naturalization. The filing fee for Form N-400 will increase by 83 percent from $640 to $1,170. The final rule eliminates the reduced Form N-400 fee option for certain applicants.

Forms. New Forms I-129, revised Forms I-600/600A, Form I-765, and Form I-912 will be published 30 days before the new fees go into effect.

Secure Documentation. USCIS will send secure identification documents, such as Permanent Resident Cards or EADs, only to the applicant or self-petitioner unless they expressly consent to having the document sent to a designated agent, their attorney or accredited representative and the designated agent, attorney or accredited representative will be required to provide identification and sign for receipt of the document.