HR and tax alert | November 2016

USCIS announces significant increase in filing fees set to take effect on 23 December 2016

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Executive summary

On October 24, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted its new fee schedule in the Federal Register, which will go into effect on December 23, 2016. USCIS’s operating budget relies almost entirely on fees paid by companies and individuals seeking immigration services and benefits. Although existing law requires USCIS to review fees every two years to determine whether additional funding is required so the USCIS operates efficiently, this is the first time in six years the agency’s administration has decided to increase its fees. The new fees are attributed to a need to reflect the average 21% increase in the cost to process applications and petitions. Among other things, these include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other customers eligible for fee waivers or exemptions.

Key points

The fee increases will impact employers and sponsors that file for employment-based nonimmigrant and immigrant benefits, as well as certain family-based immigration filings. USCIS will not increase the current premium processing fee, which will remain at $1,225.

The following is a list of new fees for some commonly used employment-based filings:

  • The fee for Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, will increase from $325 to $460.
  • The fee for Form I-539, Application to Extend/ Change Nonimmigrant Status, will increase from $290 to $370.
  • The fee for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, will increase from $580 to $700.
  • The fee for Form I-1485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, will increase from $985 to $1,140 for individuals above 14 and from $635 to $750 for minors.
  • The fee for Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, will increase from $420 to $535.
  • The fee for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, (advance parole, re-entry permit) will increase from $360 to $575.
  • The fee for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, will increase from $380 to $410.
  • The fee for Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, will increase from $365 to $455.
  • The fee for Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant, will remain $585 when filed with and processed by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
  • There will be a modest fee increase to file Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, from $630 to $675.
  • There will be a modest fee increase to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, increasing from $595 to $640.
  • USCIS will offer a reduced filing fee of $320 for naturalization applicants with family incomes between 151% and 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. For 2016, this means, for example, that a household of four with an income between $36,000 and $48,600 per year could pay the reduced fee.

Please click here to find a full list of applications affected by the new fees.

What does this mean for foreign nationals and employers?

Applications and petitions mailed, postmarked or otherwise filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include the new filing fees; otherwise, the application or petition will be rejected. Employers should take the new fee schedule into consideration when budgeting for immigration-related expenses and file any pending or proposed petitions prior to December 23, 2016, to meet any budgetary constraints.

How we can help?

Individuals or organizations who believe they may be affected by this notice should contact one of our US immigration professionals to discuss in greater detail the effects of this new provision to avoid any potential travel restrictions.

EYG no. 03625-161Gbl

For additional information with respect to this alert, please contact the following: