USCIS Is Increasing Filing Fees and Premium Processing Timelines on April 1, 2024

February 05, 2024
Amanda Rizzo

On January 30, 2024, USCIS published a final rule to adjust its filing fees, stating in a press release that “the current fee schedule falls far short in recovering the full cost of agency operations, including the necessary expansion of humanitarian programs, federally mandated pay raises, additional staffing requirements, and other essential investments”. USCIS pointed out that the agency is almost entirely fee-funded, with about 96% of its funding coming from filing fees and about 4% from congressional appropriations. According to USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou, the updated fees will enable the agency to provide more timely decisions.


Asylum Program Fee

One of the changes USCIS has made to its fee structure is to offset the cost of its humanitarian mission by increasing the fees for other applications. For example, Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker will now require employers to pay an additional “Asylum Program Fee” of $600. However, nonprofit employers will not have to pay this fee and small employers with 25 or fewer full-time employees will pay a reduced Asylum Program Fee of $300.  USCIS justified this change, stating that “DHS is authorized to recover the full costs of providing all such services, including the costs of similar services provided without charge to asylum applicants and other immigrants. Stated simply, the total fees that we receive may cover our total operational costs.”


H-1B Fee Increase and Form I-129 Fee Increases

Overall, filing an H-1B petition for an employee will be more expensive whether it is a new petition or an extension for a current employee. In order to enroll an employee beneficiary into the annual H-1B cap lottery, an employer must register the beneficiary online with a USCIS account. This H-1B registration process fee is increasing from $10 to $215 per beneficiary registration. If a beneficiary is selected, the employer must file the H-1B petition with the new Form I-129 fee of $780, increased from $460. Small employers with 25 or fewer employees and non-profit employers will not have this fee increase and will continue to pay the $460 amount. However, new petitions still require the $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection fee and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) which is $1,500, or $750 for non-profit employers, educational institution employers and small employers. The Asylum Program Fee of $600 will also apply, reduced to $300 for small employers and non-profits. Thus, in most cases a new H-1B cap filing represents a total filing fee of $3,595. Small employers or nonprofits will pay a total filing fee of $2,225 for a new H-1B cap filing.

The Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker has long been used to file for the following employment classifications, H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L-1, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, R-1 E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B1 or TN. The previous filing fee for all categories was $460. USCIS is now adjusting the Form I-129 filing fee according to employment category with decreased fees for nonprofits and small employers with 25 or fewer employees. These adjusted fees are in the chart at the end of this post.


Fee Exemptions

USCIS is also significantly expanding fee exemptions for many humanitarian-related forms, including those for T- Visas (survivors of trafficking), special immigrant juveniles (abandoned, abused or neglected children), U-Visas (crime victims), certain adoption related applications, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) filings, and many others. In some cases, these exemptions expand through the final adjudication of the applicant’s application for permanent residence (i.e. green card). For example, applicants for a U-Visa, T-Visa, special immigrant juveniles and VAWA petitioners will no longer have to pay fees associated with their initial filing or their permanent residence application.


Higher Fees for a Green Card

The new fees will increase a family-based permanent residence application from the current total fee of $1,760 to $2,115.  USCIS accepts applications for optional employment authorization (EAD) and travel permit (advance parole), which allows an applicant to work and travel while their application for permanent residence is pending.  Previously, those benefits did not have a separate fee if submitted with the permanent residence application as a bundled filing. USCIS will now require separate fees for these optional filings, bringing the total cost to $3,005.


Lower Fees for Filing Electronically

USCIS allows many applications to be filed online and the new fees will discount these electronic applications by $50. A list of these applications is available here. Common electronic filings include Form I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card; Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization and Form N-400 Application for Naturalization. Because of this discount and due to USCIS modifying the biometrics fees, some applications will actually cost less with the new fee structure. For example, the new online filing fee for naturalization has decreased from $725 to $710. Similarly, the new online filing fee for green card renewals has decreased from $540 to $415.


Changes to Premium Processing Times

In our previous blog on these fee increases, we explained that premium processing fees were already confirmed to increase on February 26, 2024. The increased premium processing fees were not subject to regulatory review and had already been finalized. However, USCIS has announced with the new fee structure that it is revising its premium processing timeframes from calendar days to business days. This means that premium processing timeframes which were previously 15 calendar days, will now be processed in 15 business days or about 3 weeks, due to the exclusion of federal holidays and weekends from the total count. Ultimately, premium processing will be taking longer beginning April 1, 2024 and will be more expensive beginning February 26, 2024.


  Current Fee: New Fee:
H-1B Registration Fee $10 $215
Asylum Program Fee for

I-129 and I-140 petitions

Asylum Program Fee (small employers and nonprofits) $300
I-129 for H-1B $460 $780
I-129 for H-1B (small employers and nonprofits) $460 $460
I-129 for L-1 $460 $1,385
I-129 for L-1 (small employers and nonprofits) $460 $695
I-129 for O-1 $460 $1,055
I-129 for O-1 (small employers and nonprofits) $460 $530
I-129 for E, P, R and TN $460 $1,015
I-129 for E, P, R and TN (small employers and nonprofits) $460 $510
I-130 Relative Petition (online filing) $535 $625
I-130 Relative Petition (paper filing) $535 $675
I-485 Permanent Residence Application with I-765 and I-131 (work permit and travel document) $1,225 $2,330
N-400 Naturalization (online filing) $725 $710
N-400 Naturalization (paper filing) $725 $760
I-90 Green Card Renewal (online filing) $540 $415
I-90 Green Card Renewal (paper filing) $540 $465


If you are presently eligible and plan to file an immigration-related application or petition, please consider doing so as soon as possible to avoid any potential fee increases.  The attorneys at Minsky, McCormick and Hallagan are knowledgeable in all areas of U.S. immigration law and can assist you with your employment-based, family-based, or individual-based immigration case. Please read more about the USCIS Fee Rule here.

The material contained in this alert does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.

© 2023 Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. All rights reserved. Information may not be reproduced, displayed, modified, or distributed without the express prior written permission of Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C.

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