USCIS Publishes Proposed Rule Increasing Filing Fees

Today, USCIS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that will increase filing fees for most applications. The agency last increased its filing fees in 2010. The proposed rule is open for written comment until July 5, 2016.

USCIS is funded almost entirely by filing fees, with direct congressional appropriations accounting for just 1% of the agency’s budget. This funding structure serves as the primary justification for the fee increase. As explained in the proposed rule:

“USCIS calculates its fees to recover the full cost of USCIS operations, which do not include the limited appropriated funds provided by Congress. USCIS anticipates if it continues to operate at current fee levels, it will experience an annual shortfall of $560 million between IEFA (Immigration Examinations Fees Account) revenues and costs. This projected shortfall poses a risk of degrading USCIS operations funded by IEFA revenue. The proposed rule would eliminate this risk by ensuring full cost recovery.”

USCIS has recognized the need for increased staffing and resources, opening the Potomac Service Center in Arlington, Virginia in 2015. However, the fees are a necessary component in addressing long processing times and a growing backlog of nonimmigrant and immigrant cases.

Although each application will experience a different change, the rule will result in an overall fee increase of 21%. Notable changes include:

  • I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker – Increase from $325 to $460 (42% increase)
  • I-130, Petition for Alien Relative – Increase from $420 to $535 (27% increase)
  • I-131, Application for Travel Document – Increase from $360 to $575 (60% increase)
  • I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker – Increase from $580 to $700 (21% increase)

The most significant increases are the fees for applications associated with the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Perhaps in reaction to the SEC’s investigation of EB-5-related investments at the Jay Peak ski resort in Vermont and continued congressional scrutiny of the program, the filing fee for  Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, would increase by 145% from $1,500 to $3,675. The fee for Form I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program, would make a 186% jump from $6,230 to $17,795.

The new rule also proposes to establish a three-level fee for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization. First, USCIS would increase the standard fee from $595 to $640. Second, the agency would continue to charge no fee to applicants who meet the requirements of Sections 328 or 329 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) with respect to military service and applicants with approved fee waivers. Third, USCIS would charge a reduced fee of $320 for naturalization applicants with family income greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This change has been proposed to increase access to United States citizenship.

Another change would be the procedure for accepting applications with checks that have been dishonored or lack the required biometrics fee. Currently, regulations prevent USCIS from rejecting these cases until the applicant has been provided an opportunity to correct the deficiency in their payment. Under the proposed rule, USCIS will be able to reject the case entirely until proper payment has been submitted.

We have included a table of all proposed fee increases. We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops.

Proposed Fees by Immigration Benefit
Immigration Benefit Request Current Fee Proposed Fee Delta ($) Percent Change
G-1041 Genealogy Index Search Request $20 $65 $45 225%
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Microfilm) $20 $65 $45 225%
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request (Copy from Textual Record) $35 $65 $30 86%
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card $365 $455 $90 25%
I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Document $330 $445 $115 35%
I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker $325 $460 $135 42%
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) $340 $535 $195 57%
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative $420 $535 $115 27%
I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document $360 $575 $215 60%
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $580 $700 $120 21%
I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion $630 $675 $45 7%
I-360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant $405 $435 $30 7%
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status $985 $1,140 $155 16%
I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur $1,500 $3,675 $2,175 145%
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status $290 $370 $80 28%
I-600/600A/800/800A Orphan Petitions $720 $775 $55 8%
I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver $585 $630 $45 8%
I-687 Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act $1,130 $1,130 $0 0%
I-690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility $200 $715 $515 258%
I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision $755 $890 $135 18%
I-698 Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of the INA) $1,020 $1,670 $650 64%
I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence $505 $595 $90 18%
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization $380 $410 $30 8%
I-800A Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved Form I-800A $360 $385 $25 7%
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits $435 $600 $165 38%
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition $405 $465 $60 15%
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions $3,750 $3,750 $0 0%
I-910 Application for Civil Surgeon Designation $615 $785 $170 28%
I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program $6,230 $17,795 $11,565 186%
I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center $0 $3,035 $3,035 N/A
I-929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of U-1 Nonimmigrant $215 $230 $15 7%
N-300 Application to File Declaration of Intention $250 $270 $20 8%
N-336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings $650 $700 $50 8%
N-400 Application for Naturalization $595 $640 $45 8%
N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes $330 $355 $25 8%
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document $345 $555 $210 61%
N-600/N-600K Application for Certificate of Citizenship $600 $1,170 $570 95%
I-191, I-192, I-193, I-212, I-601, I-602, I-612 Waiver Forms $585 $930 $345 59%
  USCIS Immigrant Fee $165 $220 $55 33%
  Biometric Services $85 $85 $0 0%

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