On Monday, August 3rd, USCIS will publish the final rule (regulation) outlining the filing fee changes, and other changes, that will become effective October 2, 2020.
Why is USCIS Changing the Filing Fees?
USCIS reviews and sometimes changes the filing fees associated with filing for different kinds of immigration benefits once every few years. At this time, USCIS predicts a budget shortfall (the agency cites Covid-19 as the primary cause, though that could be debated) for the current fiscal year. The final rule states that the agency anticipates a significant budget shortfall, and must increase fees to sustain their operations.
What are the Filing Fee Changes?
Overall, this rule increases filing fees by a weighted average of 20%. However, that is the average. To see how your particular filing(s) may be impacted, you’ll need to look at the fee schedule for your particular form. Some filing fees are being reduced (the I-140 petition, for example), others will stay the same, and others will increase.
The most significant changes that will affect our client base are:
- N-400 (naturalization application) – The filing fee will almost double, to $1170 for a paper filing.
- I-485 – The reduced fee for children under age 14 is eliminated.
- I-485 – The I-485 filing fee will no longer include the application for advance parole and employment authorization (AP and EAD, commonly referred to as the travel document and work permit). This means that if you would like work permit and/or travel document, you must pay for those separately. That effectively doubles (approximately) the filing fee for the adjustment of status.
- I-751 (removal of conditions) – The filing fee increases by 28%.
- H-1Bs and L-1s – The filing fees will increase to $555 and $805, respectively.
What are the Other Changes?
- The time-frame for premium processing will increase from 15 calendar days to 15 business days.
- Several new form versions will be published, including a new Form I-129 (used for H-1Bs, Ls, TNs, etc), which will ask form information about E-Verify.
When is Does This Become Effective?
The new fees and forms will become effective October 2, 2020.
What Should I Do Now?
If you are thinking of filing for an immigration benefit (H-1B, green card, adjustment of status, etc), contact our office to find out how these changes will impact you. You may benefit from filing the case now, before these changes become effective, but every case is different, so you should speak to one of our immigration attorneys to develop the best plan for you.
We are here to help you navigate the immigration maze with peace of mind and confidence. Contact Sumner Immigration Law to set a consultation to create your strategy today! We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the US and around the world. You can call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.