The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released a new proposed fee schedule that would significantly increase the costs of many immigration-related applications and petitions. If implemented, these fee increases could have a significant impact on both individual immigrants and businesses that rely on foreign workers.
One of the most notable proposed fee increases is for non-immigrant employment-based visas. For example, the current filing fee for an H1B visa petition is $460. Under the new proposed fee schedule, this fee would increase to $780. Further, USCIS is seeking to add a new, separate fee of $600 to all initial petitions, changes of status, and extensions of stay that use Form I-129.
Additionally, the proposal seeks to increase the H-1B Cap Registration Fee from $10 to $215 per registration. This proposed increase will not affect this year’s H-1B lottery registrations, which takes place in March.
Other proposed fee increases include:
USCIS has provided a chart showing the current and proposed fee increases here on page 407 of the proposed rule. (See 88 Fed. Reg. 402, 407 (Jan. 4, 2023)).
It is important to note that these proposed fee increases are just that – proposed. They have not yet been implemented, and there is currently a public comment period open for individuals and organizations to provide feedback on the proposed fee schedule. Comments can be submitted here. The comment period will close on March 6, 2023. USCIS will host a public engagement session on the proposed fee rule on January 11, 2023. USCIS Director Ur Jaddou states that ““This proposed rule allows USCIS to more fully recover operating costs for the first time in six years and will support the Administration’s effort to rebuild the legal immigration system.” USCIS tried to increase fees in 2020 too, but lawsuits prevented the increases. If you or your business will be affected by these proposed fee increases, it is important to make your voice heard during the public comment period.
In the meantime, keep in mind that the current fees are still in effect. If you are planning to file an immigration-related application or petition, you should do so as soon as possible to avoid any potential fee increases. The attorneys at Minsky, McCormick and Hallagan are experts in all areas of US Immigration law and can assist you with your employment based, family based, or individual based immigration case.