File now to avoid the USCIS fee changes! In January 2023 we wrote about the proposed rule that would significantly increase USCIS filing fees. Emily also posted about the impending higher USCIS fees on her LinkedIn page a few weeks ago. The time has come, folks, and the final rule will become effective April 1, 2024. Do you need to take action to secure an employee for the long-term? Was it a new year's resolution to take action on your immigration status, or that of your family? This is your sign to take action now, and file before the significant USCIS fee changes!

What's included in the USCIS fee increase?

  • Requiring separate filing fees for Form I-485 (adjustment of status), Form I-131 (travel document), and Form I-765 (employment authorization), whether or not they are filed together;
  • Establishing separate fees for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, by nonimmigrant classification;
  • Revising the premium processing timeframe interpretation from calendar days to business days;
  • Updating USCIS forms - some will not have a grace period and the filing will be rejected if you use the outdated forms;
  • Significant increase in the L-1 fee ($460 to $1385); the O-1 fee ($460 to $1055), and the H-1B fee ($460 to $780); certain small employers and nonprofits will have reduced fees;
  • Asylum fee of $600 for I-129-based filings (including but not limited to H-1B, L, O) and I-140 petitions, with certain exceptions.

The bottom line is that not only will filings be more expensive, but it will be more complex just to figure out the correct filing fees. Filing with incorrect fees can cause a rejection, denial, or request for evidence.

What employers can do now to reduce expenses:

  • Review your list of upcoming extensions and other filings, and initiate the process to file now, before the USCIS fee changes becomes effective. In general, extensions can be filed up to 180 days in advance of the current expiration.
  • Review and revise budgets for the remainder of 2024 if needed.
  • Consider batch-filing PERMs: If you need to file a PERM for the same position but for multiple people, advertising can often be consolidated - we can help!
  • Review written policies about who pays which fees for immigration filings. You could consider having the employee pay certain fees (I-140 fees, optional premium processing fees, adjustment of status fees). Keep in mind that the employer must pay certain fees by regulation (e.g. PERM fees, H-1B fees, etc).
  • Work with an experienced, empathetic, determined, and thorough attorney to make sure that you are leveraging your immigration budget for maximum returns, based on strategic, well-crafted filings.

What individuals can do now to reduce expenses:

  • File now! If you have been considering filing for an immigration benefit, start the process now so that you can file before the fee increase becomes effective on April 1, 2024.
  • Whether you file now, or after the USCIS fee increase becomes effective, consider working with an experienced immigration attorney. While it requires an additional investment, working with a qualified, experienced, empathetic, determined, and thorough attorney ultimately can save money, time, and stress in the long-term. We have worked with countless clients over the years who initially tried to file on their own, and ended up either not being able to even get the case accepted, deciding the DIY route wasn't worth it, or filing and ending up with an immigration crisis caused by errors in their filing. That often results in higher fees than it would have been to start with a lawyer in the first place.

If you are not yet a Sumner Immigration Law client and you’re looking for an experienced, empathetic, and efficient team to help you navigate the process with confidence, please contact us today and set up your initial consultation to get the process started! You can set an appointment online. You can also call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email at We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the U.S. and around the world. For more information on our firm visit Who We Are and What Makes Us Different! We look forward to hearing from you!

As always, the above information is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. Please speak with a qualified immigration lawyer before taking action.