Attention Employers: Brace for Impact! USCIS Fee Schedule Update Looms with Potential Impact on Your Bottom Line
Employers need to be prepared for potential impact on their bottom line as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) considers a new fee schedule update, following the end of the 60-day public comment period and pending revisions to the proposed rule.
At the beginning of 2023, USCIS published a proposed new fee rule for public comment. Now that the 60-day public comment period has ended, USCIS will consider the public’s comments and revise the proposed fee schedule accordingly. It is not possible to know exactly how long it will take USCIS to review the comments and take them into consideration before publishing the final rule. However, attorneys at MacDonald Hoague & Bayless continue to keep an eye on the developments.
USCIS receives about 96% of its funding in the form of filing fees, not from taxpayers. The last fee schedule change occurred in 2016. USCIS says fee increases are needed to keep pace with incoming filings and avoid future backlogs. If you are wondering about USCIS’s existing backlog of cases, USCIS asserts that even with these fee increases it will require congressional funding in order to clear those cases.
The most significant fee increases appearing in the proposed schedule were for employment-based forms. The chart below summarizes increases for the most filed employer-based forms:
Percent (%) Increase
Form I-129, H-1 Petition
Form I-129, L Petition
Form I-129, O Petition
Form I-129, E, TN, & P Petitions
Form I-140, Immigrant Visa Petition
Form I-907, Premium Processing
The proposed rule also includes an additional $600 surcharge to help fund the Asylum program to be paid exclusively by employers when they file petitions for temporary workers.
Fees for permanent residence applications are also increasing. You can find a summary of these proposed changes below:
Percent (%) Increase
Form I-485, Adjustment of Status (age 14 & over)
Form I-485, Adjustment of Status (under age 14)
Form I-485 Adjustment of Status with Form I-131 for Advance Parole and Form I-765 for Employment Authorization
Form I-485 Adjustment of Status with Form I-131 for Advance Parole
Form I-485 Adjustment of Status with Form I-765 for Employment Authorization
As you may have noticed, Form I-131 for Advance Parole and I-765 for an Employment Authorization Document are no longer included in the I-485 filing fee. The proposed fees require separate, additional fees for each of these forms. This reverts back to the prior USCIS practice of charging a separate fee for each of these forms rather than bundling them together.
Of course, all of these proposed fee increases are subject to revision before the final version of the fee schedule is published by USCIS. Once the final fee schedule is published, the new fee schedule would go into effect in no less than 30 days.
Here are a few quick tips on how employers can prepare:
- Plan in advance to ensure you have adequate resources to support your staff.
- Try to avoid filing at the last minute to avoid Premium Processing fees.
- Start the green card process early to avoid repetitive status renewal fees!
If you have any questions about these fee increases or how to support your foreign national employees, please contact our office for a consultation.