USCIS Proposes New Fee Schedule (Updated)

November 27, 2019

On November 14th, 2019, USCIS published a proposed rule regarding the adjustment of certain immigration and naturalization fees. Overall, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposes to increase fees by a weighted average of 21%, including multiple new fees for nonimmigrant worker petitions and new fees for some benefit requests. The proposed rule would also limit the number of beneficiaries a petitioner could list on certain forms and would considerably increase the cost of applying for naturalization.

USCIS is a fee-funded government agency that uses fees to adjudicate applications and petitions. The proposed new fees would fund increased costs associated with Trump Administration policy goals for vetting applicants, petitioners, and beneficiaries. The rule would increase the cost of citizenship applications by over 80%, impacting as many as 9 million eligible applicants. The current USCIS filing fee to submit a Form N-400 Application for Naturalization is $640. The proposed rule would increase the fee to $1170. In the past, DHS set Form N-400 fees lower than its cost of adjudication in an effort to “promote naturalization and immigrant integration,” but will now increase fees under the direction of the Trump Administration.

Other proposed changes include:

  • Limiting fee waiver requests to only where it is required by law, such as for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioners; note that on Dec. 10 a federal judge blocked the proposed changes to the fee waiver process for citizenship applications;
  • Making certain forms ineligible for fee waiver requests, such as Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization or Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
  • Charging separate filing fees for Forms I-485, I-765, and I-131 (known as the “Green Card” and “EAD/AP”, respectively) rather than allowing applicants to submit these forms concurrently under one USCIS Form I-485 filing fee;
  • Separating Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker into several different forms to cost anywhere from $560 to $860 depending on non-immigrant worker classification; and,
  • Increasing the fee for Form I-131A Application for Carrier Documentation from $575 to $1010.

For more details, see the complete proposed rule, which will undergo public comment until December 16, 2019. On December 10, 2019, a federal judge ruled that a lawsuit challenging these proposed changes had standing; the fee waiver process for naturalization will remain the same and will not be effected by the proposed changes.

 


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