USCIS Drastically Raises Filing Fees
It has been announced that on October 2, 2020, the final version of the fee rule proposed initially by USCIS in November 2019 will finally go into effect.
The Trump administration will be using this rule to raise processing fees borne by businesses, new citizens, and international students in need of work authorization.
Once effective, the rule will raise fees by 20% on average. This will surely bring financial pressure upon an enormous number of applicants.
The table above lists the change in fees for some visas. Go to the link above to view the full chart provided by USCIS.
H-1B and L-1 Visas:
L visa petition fees will be raised from $460 to $805, making a 75% increase. H-1B will cause a 21% increase from $460 to $555.
In a company with over 50 employees, if half the workforce is under H-1B and L-1 status, the petition fee borne by the company will be significantly increased.
In the final rule, USCIS states that it has imposed an additional $4,000 fee on initial H-1B petitions and $4,500 on L-1 petitions.
Other High-Skilled Employment Visas:
Charges for some high-skilled employment visas will rise by more than 50%. O visa petitioners will be charged $705 compared to the previous amount of $460.
TN (NAFTA professionals), E (treaty traders and investors), P (athletes/entertainers), Q (cultural exchange), R (religious workers), and H-3 visas applicants will be charged $695, 51% more than the previous price of $460.
Premium processing cost will remain as previous, but the processing time has been prolonged from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, making the waiting time four days longer.
H-2A and H-2B Visa:
The fee for H-2A (seasonal and agricultural) will rise from $460 to $850, and H-2B (seasonal nonagricultural) visa petitions from $460 to $715. Employers will also be charged amounts drastically larger than before.
Costs for International Students’ Adjustment of Status:
Form I-765 (application for employment authorization) is required when international students file for Optional Practical Training (OPT). The filing fee for the form will rise by 34% from $410 to $550.
Naturalization and Application for Asylum:
It will cost 80% more to file an N-400 (Application for Naturalization) when one attempts to obtain citizenship through naturalization as the filing fees rise from $640 to $1,160.
The fee for asylum applicants to obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) will change from zero to $490. Moreover, the U.S. will soon become the first country to charge an individual to apply for asylum as the USCIS begins to require a $50 fee.
This rule will hinder many asylum seekers’ application process, as many of them face financial difficulties already.
Although this rule of the USCIS is somewhat expectable, taking into account how the agency has been suffering badly from the lack of funding lately, however, the skyrocketing prices still leave applicants flabbergasted.
Many believe that this rule is another move made by the Trump administration to discourage immigration.
The rise in fees will indeed prevent many petitions from being filed. The rule also makes many companies less willing to file for employees’ petitions.
However, with the discouraging rules being effective, the number of petitions could sharply drop. If this becomes the case, will it not harm the USCIS financially even further?
Many have jokingly stated that being set for such high prices, a petition filed with the USCIS will soon become a luxury good. Are you going to be “ripped off” by the USCIS?