New USCIS Fees will be in Effect as of April 1

New USCIS Fees will be in Effect as of April 1
Photo by Alexander Grey / Unsplash

USCIS has, at last, published the final rule creating the new filing fees for all application types. Before looking into some of the actual changes, here is some general information about the changes (these are facts and figures from USCIS):

  • In the past fiscal year, USCIS received 2 million more receipts than in previous fiscal years, for a total of 11 million receipts. Adjudicated 10 million cases to completion (more than ever before).
    • Backlog went down by 15 percent.
  • Hired additional staff, currently at nearly 21,000 employees.
  • Backlog is currently at 4 million and needs additional funding to continue reduction efforts as receipts continue to rise.
  • The Final Fee Schedule is 14 percent less than the proposed rule due to a saving of nearly $730 million when taking into consideration efficiency measures.
  • Every fee in the final schedule is either less than or the same as that in the proposed rule.
  • For individual filers, the final rule generally limits newly established fees to no more than the increase in the Consumer Price Index since Dec. 2015, which was approximately 26% (although many such fees will increase by well under 26%).

Let's take a look at some of the changes that are coming.

Employment Application Fees:

Form Type Previous Fee New Fee
H-1B Application Fee $460 $780 (but will remain at $460 for nonprofits and small employers (25 or fewer FTEs)
H-1b Other Fees $500 fraud fee, $750 or $1500 training Fee Previous fees plus NEW Asylum Program Fee - $600 ($0 for nonprofit companies, and $300 for small employers (25 or fewer FTEs)
I-140 Fees $700 $715
L-1 Fees $460 $1385 ($695 for nonprofits and small employers)
O-1 Fees $460 $1055 ($530 for nonprofits and small employers)

Family and Individual Application Fees:

Form Previous Fee New Fee
I-130 $535 $675
I-485 $1140 (plus $85 biometric fee - this also covered fees for I-765 and I-131) $1440 (includes biometrics but NOT I-765 or I-131)
I-485 (under 14) $750 (if filed with parents) $950 (if filed with parents)
I-765 (filed with I-485) $0 $260
I-765 filed via paper $410 (plus $85 biometrics fee when needed) $520
I-765 filed online $410 (plus $85 biometrics fee when needed) $470
I-131 (filed with I-485) $0 $630
I-131 $575 (plus $85 biometric Fee if required) $630
N-400 $725 $760
N-400 (filed online) $725 $710
N-400 (for those with household incomes between 150-400% of the poverty level $725 $380
I-90 $455 (plus $85 biometrics fee if needed) $465
I-90 (filed online) $455 (plus $85 biometrics fee if needed) $415

Other Fee Changes:

  1. As can be seen above, USCIS is offering a $50 discount on fees for applications that can be filed online and ARE filed online (however, if you are eligible to pay a reduced fee (such as on the N-400) there is no additional discount for filing online).
  2. As can also be seen above, to address the costs of Asylum applications USCIS has instituted a new $600 asylum program fee to employers who file an I-129 or I-140 form. The new fee is discounted for nonprofit and small employers (25 or under FTEs)

Overall Impressions:

Individual fees:

For many individuals, they may see little to no increases, perhaps some fee decreases. This is true for most applications EXCEPT the I-485 process. There, if you are filing an I-485 and I-131 and I-765 the total fee would be $2330 for one adult as opposed to the current $1225. This is a huge jump and for large families will cause significant hardship. While it is true that, in many cases, it could just cause people not to file for the I-765 and I-131 without need, it is also true that many people apply for the I-765 for children solely to get a SSN so they can get deductions on their tax returns. USCIS should have a way to address this issue outside of the I-765 context. Also, restricting applicants' ability to travel during the pendency of the I-485 simply because they cannot pay the large fee is also not a fair way of allocating the fee increases.

Employer Fees:

In terms of businesses, it is surprising that to cover costs for Asylum applications, USCIS would be charging employers an additional fee for that. They have already burdened them with the fraud prevention fee, the training fee, and now this fee. While most employers will still use immigration to get workers, because they have no choice, it does just add on to the burden that they are paying, and this time (unlike the fraud and training fees) it really has nothing to do with the employment process. At least they have reduced this fee for smaller companies and non-profits.


If you feel that the above fees are unfair or unduly burdensome we urge you to write to your Congressperson or Senator - urge them to review the fees AND to finally allocate funding to USCIS to cover some of their costs.

In addition, please do get in touch with me or my office if you have any further questions about the fees or their impact.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

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