USCIS Hikes Filing Fees For Non-Immigrant Petitions

USCIS published a proposal to change the fee structure for some immigration services that is expected to go into effect in FY 2020. Although these changes will affect both immigrant as well non-immigrant applications and petitions, not all of them are expected to rise. Some are even proposed to fall.

This change in fees is to cater to the increasing operating and administrative costs associated with adjudicating and administering the many immigration requests, processes and benefits. According to a comprehensive review by USCIS, the current fees do not recover the full costs of providing adjudication and naturalization services.

How Will the Proposed Fee Change Affect Non-Immigrant Visas in FY 2020?

YTD 2019 has already seen several changes to non-immigrant US visas, both in processes as well as final adjudications. Most of these have put a stronghold on H1-B and its dependent visa, H4 and H4 EAD while other visa categories like F1, student visa, L1/L2 non-immigrant visas and US Permanent residency have faced unprecedented delays.

The final rule is expected to be published by the end of November.

Here is a primary list of applications being affected by the fee change

  • The biggest effect will be for Forms I-765, I-131 and I-485’s filing fee.
  • There is also potential hike in nonimmigrant visa filing fees.
  • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker will be separated into different individual forms, also with individual costs attached to it.
  • Changes to Premium Processing fees
  • Calendar days to change to Business days for premium processing
  • Additional fees for expediting other requests
  • Eliminate the option to have reduced fee N-400
  • Changes to Naturalization applications and Certificates
USCIS Fees Hike

The USCIS just added a non-refundable, pre-registering fee of $10 to all H1-B petitions.
The following chart explains the proposed breakdown of the different fees –

Based on a weighted average increase of 21%, USCIS is going to use this change in fees to adjudicate immigration benefit requests, detect and deter immigration fraud, and thoroughly vet applicants, petitioners, and beneficiaries. USCIS last updated its fee structure in FY 2017 again, by a weighted average increase of 21%.

Stay tuned to this page to see when this fee change gets formalized and how it will influence immigration petitions in Yr. 2020.