On November 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a proposed rule that would alter the filing fee structure for many USCIS documents, including non-immigrant visas, immigrant visas, naturalization, and related documents.
Published with a 30-day notice and public comment period, the proposed rule’s fee structure would generally increase fees for most USCIS documents and filings. USCIS’s stated purpose is to more closely match revenues from filing fees with the costs of processing and adjudicating submitted forms and materials. Naturally, the practical impact will be an increased burden upon applicants. This is particularly true with naturalization and adjustment of status to legal permanent residency.
For example, the fee for the N-400 Application for Naturalization will jump from $640.00 to $1,170.00, and the rule seeks to remove methods currently in place for reducing N-400 fees. Likewise, while the individual I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status fee will decrease slightly from $1,140.00 to $1,120.00, the current waiver of fees for related documents such as the I-131 and I-765 would be greatly restricted or eliminated. As such, the typical adjustment of status filing would increase from $1,225.00 ($1,140.00 plus an $85.00 “biometrics” fee) to above $2,000.00 – per individual. The current I-485 fee reduction (currently $750.00) for individuals under the age of 14 years would be eliminated as well.
Though generally not quite as substantial, non-immigrant visa processing fees are also scheduled to increase – in many cases by at least 50% over the current filing fee. Most substantially, I-129 filing fees for H-2A visas and L-visas will rise from $460.00 to $860.00 and $815.00, respectively, or nearly double the current fee.
Consequently, individual applicants and businesses considering any immigration matters in the near term should monitor this proposed rule. The proposed rule can be found here , and public comment is encouraged. It is also important to note that this proposed rule is not final – public input and possible legal action may delay or blunt USCIS’s proposed action. However, the proposed rule does provide a critical planning tool for any anticipated immigration matter.