Any employer anticipating submission of an immigration application or petition should consider filing prior to December 23, 2016, to avoid higher USCIS filing fees.
On October 24, 2016, USCIS announced a final rule that adjusts the required fees for most immigration applications and petitions. This will be the first increase in six years and, according to USCIS, the increase is needed in order to recoup higher costs associated with customer service, case processing, fraud detection, and national security. USCIS is almost entirely funded by application and petition fees.
Another reminder: most nonimmigrant extension requests can be submitted up to 180 days prior to the expiration of the foreign national employee’s current status. Employers may want to consider filing these extension requests prior to December 23, 2016, if the individual is eligible.
Examples of the increased fees:
- from $325 to $460 for Form I-129 (i.e., nonimmigrant petition filings seeking visa status such as H-1B, L-1, TN),
- from $580 to $700 for Form I-140 (i.e., immigrant petition for an alien worker), and
- from $1070 to $1,225 (including required biometrics fee) for Form I-485 (i.e., application to register permanent residence or adjust status).
Immigration applications or petitions postmarked or filed on or after December 23, 2016, without the new increased fees will be rejected. To avoid delay because of insufficient filing fees, new applications or petitions should be sent in well in advance of the scheduled fee increase.