On November 14, 2019, the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) published a notice of proposed rulemaking to increase filing fees.  This USCIS proposed fee chart was published after an internal review concluded that the current USCIS fee structure does not recover the costs of adjudication. This fee increase appears to be impending as the USCIS recently forwarded its implementation plans for these increases to the White Hour. If a final rule takes effect as indicated in the proposed rule, their would be an 83% increase in the cost of Naturalization; petitions for non immigrant workers would see an increase from 20 – 70%; and fees would now be required for individuals filing affirmative applications for asylum. In addition to the following policy changes would be enacted.
  • Implement Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery as the sole method of delivery of secure documents (such as green cards, EADs, and advance parole authorizations). In 2018, USCIS had partially implemented this protocol for documents that need to be re-mailed because they have been returned as non-deliverable.
  • If a check or other financial instrument used to pay a fee is returned as unpayable because of insufficient funds, USCIS will resubmit the payment to the remitter institution one time.
  • Remove the $30 charge for dishonored payments.
  • Limit fee waivers only to VAWA self-petitioners, T and U nonimmigrants, certain battered spouses and children, and TPS applicants. Extremely limited exceptions. Fee waivers could generally no longer be requested for Forms I-765 and I-539.
  • Incorporate the biometric services cost into the underlying immigration benefit request fee instead of charging a flat $85 biometric services fee.
  • Change the premium processing timeframe from 15 calendar days to 15 business days.
  • Consistently apply the $4,000 9-11 Response and Biometric Entry-Exit Fee to all petitioners filing a new or extension H-1B petition who employ 50 or more employees in the United States if more than 50 percent of the petitioner’s employees in the aggregate are in H-1B, L-1A or L-1B nonimmigrant status, except for petitioners filing an amended petition without an extension of stay request. This fee would apply to petitions filed on or before September 30, 2027. A similar payment (for $4,500) would apply to covered L-1 petitions.