USCIS Proposes Fee Increase and Imposition of New Fees

The proposed rule by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to increase fees for most immigration benefit requests is likely to have a significant impact on employers in the United States. If implemented, employers will pay significantly more for most nonimmigrant and immigrant filings.

One of the key takeaways for employers from the proposed rule is that the fees for cap H-1B registration would increase dramatically from $10 to $215 per registration. However, due to the 60-day comment period, this increase will not be implemented for the upcoming cap H-1B registration in March 2023.

Another takeaway is that the USCIS is seeking to collect additional fees from the employer community to help fund the asylum and humanitarian relief programs. Every I-129 and I-140 petition would require a separate $600 Asylum Program Fee payment, which would be in addition to the separate Form I-129 and I-140 filing fee increases.

Employers should also note that the premium processing service would change from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, which could add a one to two week delay to case processing. Additionally, the Adjustment of Status (AOS) applications would no longer benefit from one bundled fee for the I-485, I-131 (Advance Parole), and I-765 (EAD) applications.

Filing fees for H-1B, L-1, E, and TN petitions would also increase, as well as for I-140 immigrant visa petitions. Online applications would have lower filing fees compared to paper-based applications. EB-5 related Regional Center and investor petitions would see the most significant increases, with USCIS stating that the increases are due to the mandate of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA).

Overall, the proposed rule by USCIS would result in significant fee increases for most immigration benefit requests, which would place a financial burden on employers. Employers should closely review the proposed rule and consider submitting comments during the 60-day comment period, which ends on March 3, 2023.