Navigating the New USCIS Fee Structure: What You Need to Know

On January 30, 2024, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced substantial increases in fees for various immigration applications and benefit requests. This marks the first major revision since 2016, prompted by the need to address the agency’s financial and operational challenges. The new fees aim to facilitate more efficient processing of applications.

Starting April 1, 2024, the updated fee schedule will take effect. To avoid the increased charges, applicants should ensure the USCIS receives their applications before this date.

The need to refresh the USCIS fee structure had been imminent, given the agency’s financial and operational challenges. With the new fees, the agency can address its pain points and ensure timely processing for new applications. 

Things you need to know about the new fee structure

Below are some of the significant fee changes for certain forms and applications:

  • Petition for Alien Relative: Fees will increase by 26% to $675 for paper filing and $625 for online filing.
  • Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485, for immigrants who want permanent residency with a green card): The fee will spike by 18%, from $1,225 to $1,440. In addition, advance parole and employment authorization will cost an extra $630 and $260, respectively.
  • Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) or Form I-129F for US citizens petitioning their fiancé(e) to enter the US: The fee will jump by 26% from $535 to 675.
  • H-1B cap: The electronic registration fee will be $215 per registration but remains at $10 per registration for the FY 2025 cap registration period, from 6th March to 22nd March 2024.
  • H-1B petition fees will become $780 from $460.
  • Premium Processing timeframe: Will shift to a 15-business-day timeframe, moving away from the previous 15 calendar days.
  • Immigrant benefit requests will now include the service fees for biometrics.
  • Form I-485, previously bundled with other applications at no extra cost, will now require separate filing fees for associated requests. Applicants filing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) along with their adjustment of status application will need to pay a $260 fee. Conversely, those applying for advance parole in conjunction with their adjustment of status will incur a $630 fee for processing.

Discounts and fee reductions

The USCIS has introduced discounts and reduced fees:

  • Employers with up to 25 employees, educational institutions, government research organizations, and nonprofits that qualify under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code will be eligible for discounted rates.
  • Online filing fees across various benefit requests will also be reduced.
  • Employment-based applications (Forms I-140 and I-129) will have a new $600 filing fee, but nonprofits and small employers get a discount and will only need to pay $300.

Additional fee adjustments

Moreover, several other applications and petitions will see fee increases, including the following:

  • I-129 H-1B petitions will now cost $780, up from $460.
  • The fee for I-129 H-2A Named Beneficiaries will jump to $1,090, with a reduced fee of $545 for nonprofits and small employers.
  • I-129 H-2B Named Beneficiaries will see their fee increase to $1,080.
  • L Nonimmigrant worker petitions (I-129) will have a new fee of $1,385, with a reduced fee of $695 for eligible nonprofits and small employers.
  • Nonimmigrant petitions (I-129) will be adjusted to $1,055, with a $530 fee for eligible nonprofits and small employers.
  • The fee for I-129 petitions for E, H-3, TN, P, Q, and R categories will be set at $1,015.
  • The fee for an I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) will increase to $675.
  • Applications for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the US after Removal or Deportation (Form I-212) and Advance Permission to Enter as a Nonimmigrant (Form I-192) will cost $1,175 and $1,100, respectively.
  • Fees for I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status will go up to $1,440 (including biometric services).

The USCIS’s fee adjustments reflect its efforts to sustain operational efficiency and service quality. The complexity of these changes underscores the value of expert guidance. The best immigration lawyer in Manhattan can provide clarity and support throughout the application process, ensuring compliance with the new fee structure.

For those seeking assistance, Berd & Klauss, PLC offers experienced immigration legal services. Contacting one of the best immigration lawyers in Manhattan can simplify the process, helping applicants understand and meet the new requirements.