USCIS Proposed Fee Increase!

New year, new USCIS fees! USCIS has recently announced proposed changes to their filing fee schedule.

Why Is USCIS Increasing Filing Fees?

USCIS claims that they must increase filing fees to keep up with operational costs to timely process cases. If you have filed anything with USCIS recently, you may have noticed that there is a significant processing backlog for many case types. USCIS states in their FAQs that the backlog happened when there was a significant decrease in filings when Covid first hit. Most of the agency's funding comes from filing fees. In response to the temporary decrease in filings and therefore revenue, USCIS started a hiring freeze. They then did not lift the hiring freeze until March 2021, well after they started receiving the same level of cases or higher than pre-Covid levels. They explain that as a result, there is a significant processing backlog (resulting in long processing times), and they need more revenue to improve processing times. Their FAQs also state that they plan to invest the additional revenue into technology, pay increases for current staff, training and other operational costs, and significantly, to the Asylum Processing Rule, which would allow for additional asylum officers for asylum hearings.

What is Changing in Addition to the USCIS Fee Increase?

There are several key changes included in the proposed USCIS rule, in addition to fee increases. The following changes affect our client base the most:

  • The H-1B cap registration fee would increase from $10 to $215, an increase of 2050%.
  • The premium processing timeframe would increase from 15 calendar days to 15 business days (i.e. it would exclude weekends and holidays).
  • The rule would "un-bundle" the filing fee for adjustment of status filings (green card filings). That is, there would be separate fees for Form I-131 (advance parole document) and Form I-765 (Employment Authorization Document). These fees are currently included in the I-485 filing fee.
  • There would be separate fee amounts for the Form I-129, depending on the underlying nonimmigrant visa classification (H-1B, L-1, etc).
  • The biometrics fee would be wrapped into the main fee amount for most case types.
  • A new “Asylum Program Fee” of $600 would be added to the I-129 and I-140 filing fees (which are themselves increasing, per the proposed rule).

How Much Will the USCIS Fees Increase?

The USCIS fee increase depends on the case type. We have summarized the proposed fee changes that will most affect our client base in the tables below.

Form Type Current Fee Proposed Fee Percent Change
I-129 - H-1B $460* $780 + $600 asylum fee 200%
I-129 - L-1A/L-1B $460* $1385 + $600 asylum fee 331%
I-129 - O $460* $1055 + $600 asylum fee 260%
I-129 - TN, E, or R $460* $1015 + $600 asylum fee 251%
I-539 (online filing) $370 $525 42%
I-539 (paper filing) $370 $620 68%
I-140 $700 $715 + $600 asylum fee 88%
I-485 $1140 (not including biometrics fee) $1540 35%
I-131 $575 $630 10% - but note this would now be required in addition to the I-485 filing fee, when filing the I-485
I-765 (online filing) $410 $555 35% - but note this would now be required in addition to the I-485 filing fee, when filing the I-485
I-765 (paper filing) $410 $650 59% - but note this would now be required in addition to the I-485 filing fee, when filing the I-485
N-400 $640 (not including biometrics fee) $760 19%
N-600 $1170 $1385 18%
I-130 (online filing) $535 $710 33%
I-130 (paper filing) $535 $820 53%
I-751 $595 (not including biometrics fee) $1195 101%

*Please note that this is the current base filing fee. Other filing fees may apply depending on the type of filing, including but not limited to the fraud fee, ACWIA fee (employer fee), etc.

When Will the New Fees Become Effective & What Can I Do?

This rule was published 1/4/2023, and there is a 60 day public comment period. After that time, the Department of Homeland Security must review and consider comments received. There is no set date that the new fees will become effective, but it will not be immediate. We also do not know yet what the final fee schedule will be.

In the meantime, we encourage our clients and others to carefully review the proposed changes and submit your comments through the portal found here (DHS Docket No. USCIS-2021-0010). In addition, if you need to file for an immigration benefit in the coming months, consider if you are able to file early, before the final fee schedule becomes effective.

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. If you need help navigating the immigration process with confidence, please contact us today to get the process underway! We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the U.S. and around the world. You can call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email at We look forward to hearing from you!