USCIS IMMIGRATION FILING FEES INCREASE
The USCIS announced major increases to the cost of becoming a US citizen on July 31, 2020 and the final rule will be published in the US Federal Register on August 3, 2020. This Final Rule removes certain fee exemptions and changes fee waiver requirements, alters premium processing time limits, modifies application renewals among others. These changes while most consider to be politically motivated, are said to be necessary in order to meet the operational needs of the USCIS.
Starting October 2, 2020, the following applications, and many more will have increased fees:
- Green Card Applications
- Naturalization Applications
- H1B visa Applications
- Asylum Applications
- Suspension of Deportation Applications among others
Green Card Application
While some applications may not show a direct fee increase, the USCIS “unbundled” a number of the applications and this invariably means that applications which carried a zero application fee because they were part of a bundle, now has its own fee, despite being a part of the bundle. To this end, applications for Employment Authorization (EAD) and travel documents which once added no additional fee to a regular green card application may now cost an additional $1140 to the application fee.
Form I-485 Application to register Permanent Residence, which is one of the forms used in the Green Card application providedfor areduced fee of $750 for certain applicants under the age of 14 but this new rule eliminates the reduced child fee.
Form I-881 Application for Suspension of Deportation which is one of the forms used in removal applications had 2 different fees. The fee of $285 for individuals and $570 for families. This new rule increases the fee for this application to $1810 with no differentiation to individual or family applications. This increase does not affect the EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review) fee of $165.
The Form N-400Application for Naturalizationfees will increase from $640 for most applicants to $1170 (paper filing) and $1160 (online filing). In addition, the new rule eliminates the reduced fees of $320 for qualifying applicants. This is about 81% to 266% increase in the application fees as the case may be.
Form I-589 Application for Asylum and for withholding Removal will now cost $50 as opposed to a zero fee. In addition, asylum applicants may be required to pay $550 for Employment Authorization for the first time as long as their asylum application remains pending.
DACA holders may be required to renew their status every year as opposed to every other year, to this end the fees for renewal will be doubled indirectly.
Employers petitioning for H1B visa applicants may face an increase of almost 70% for one H1B worker. In addition, the processing time has been increased, opting for premium processing may have no impact on the processing time to receive a decision on the H1B application.
Nothing in this article is legal advice. Contact an experienced immigration attorney for more information.
By: Lolade Ogbuagu, Esq. An associate attorney in the immigration department with the Law Offices of Patel, Soltis, Cardenas & Bost LLC, with offices in New York (Brooklyn, Bronx), and New Jersey (Jersey City, Hackensack, Freehold).