Increased Fees to USCIS and Changes to Premium Processing Time Frame Coming Soon

DHS announced a final rule on July 31, 2020 that adjusts fees for certain immigration and naturalization forms as well as alters the time frame for adjudicating petitions requesting premium processing. Overall, the fee adjustment amounts to a weighted average increase of 20% in order to help USCIS with operational costs. The final rule is effective October 2, 2020 – all applications and petitions postmarked on or after this date must include the new fees as indicated in the final rule.

Below is a summary of some of the fee adjustments:

  • I-129H1 (H-1B) - fees increase from $460 to $555 (21% increase)
  • I-129L (L-1) - fees increase from $460 to $805 (85% increase)
  • I-129E&TN (E and TN) - fees increase from $460 to $695 (51% increase)
  • I-539 - fees increase from $370 to $390 if done online (5% increase) and an increase to $400 if paper application (8% increase)
  • Biometrics (Non-DACA) – fees decrease from $85 to $30 (65% decrease)
  • I-765 (non-DACA EAD) – fees increase from $410 to $555 (34% increase)
  • I-140 - fees decrease from $700 to $555 (21% decrease)
  • I-290B (Appeal/MTR) - fees increase from $675 to $700 (4% increase)
  • I-485 (AOS) – fees decrease from $1,140 to $1,130 (1% decrease)

Please note that although the fee for the application for adjustment of status, Form I-485, has decreased slightly, there have been some significant changes made through the final rule. First, DHS is requiring that children under the age of 14 that are filed concurrently with the principal applicant will now have to pay the full fee of $1,130, instead of the current lower fee of $750. Further, DHS is requiring separate fees for the EAD (I-765) and the Advance Parole (I-131) applications when filed concurrently with the I-485 or when the I-485 is pending. Currently, the EAD and AP applications can be filed with the I-485 without having to pay a separate fee, so the new requirement of separate fees increases the total cost significantly.

There will also be changes in some forms, such as Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant. USCIS will post the new and revised forms online 30 days before the new rule goes into effect.

Finally, the final rule alters premium processing time limits. The time frame for USCIS to take an adjudicative action on petitions requesting premium processing has increased from 15 calendar days to 15 business days. DHS acknowledges that this will result in a slightly longer wait for Petitioners, but does not think it will “meaningfully harm” Petitioners.

To view the final rule and see the complete table of final fees, click here.

By: Kristina M. Hernandez

Kristina is an associate attorney at Reddy & Neumann, P.C. She was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 2011. Her practice includes representing companies and individuals with employment-based visa petitions and applications and advising clients regarding litigation options in federal court pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Kristina also guides employers to ensure compliance with all Form I-9 requirements by conducting internal audits of clients’ records, processes, and procedures. For more articles written by Kristina, you can read the latest immigration news and updates by visiting Kristina’s blog at www.navigateimmigration.com.

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