USCIS Proposes New Increases to Immigration Fees

The USCIS announced that they are proposing an increase to immigration and naturalization application fees in order to fully recover operating costs, maintain timely case processing, and prevent case backlogs in the future. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or NPRM, has been published in regards to this change.

The increase in fees will not yet be implemented, but it is being put forth as a proposal. The fees will not change until the final rule goes into effect, which will only happen after the public has been given the opportunity to share their thoughts regarding the changes. The USCIS is planning on hosting a public engagement session to hear comments regarding the new proposed fee changes on January 11, 2023. Afterwards, the USCIS will work to finalize the fee schedule and put forth a final rule on the matter.

Did you know?

The USCIS receives 96% of its funding from filing fees, not from congress.

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic led to a drop in revenue for the USCIS by 40%, greatly affecting their workforce and ability to handle cases in a timely manner. They had to implement a temporary hiring freeze, cash reserves were depleted, and their workforce slowly weakened during this time. With an increase in fees, the USCIS expects that they will be able to improve customer service, manage the ever-increasing load of new cases, and continue to fulfill their humanitarian goals. It will also support the goal of rebuilding and strengthening the US immigration system.

This new rule would increase some fees, including a modest increase for naturalization applications. Rest assured, existing fee waiver eligibility for low income populations will be preserved and new fee extensions for humanitarian programs will be implemented as well.

Other notable changes that this final rule will affect include:

  • Biometrics costs will be incorporated in the main benefit fee and will no longer be separate
  • Separate fees for each nonimmigrant classification covered by Form I-129 will be established
  • The premium processing timeframe will change from 15 calendar day to 15 business days
  • Lower fees will be available for certain forms filed online

Additionally, the H1B Lottery registration fee will likely increase from $10 to $215 – a significant jump.

What will this change accomplish?

The USCIS projects that the increase in profits from this fee change will allow them to increase their number of employees handling the processing of applications and will also allow them to implement new technological improvements. Additionally, they will be able to increase support for individuals who need assistance or information from the USCIS. 

For more information regarding how you can take part in the January 11, 2023 public engagement session on the matter, check the USCIS Upcoming National Engagements page.

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