USCIS Proposes Significant Increase in Filing Fees

Per a notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on May 4, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is seeking to raise filing fees for most types of immigration filings. This notice specifies the amount of the proposed fee increases and explains the reasoning behind the proposal.

USCIS Rationale for the Fee Increase

USCIS operations are financed primarily by filing fees, and the agency is required to periodically review fees being charged to ensure it continues to be properly funded. In reviewing expectations for funding generated through filing fees in the coming years, the USCIS determined it was facing an annual shortfall of $560 million. Accordingly, this latest increase in fees was proposed. The last time the USCIS adjusted the filing fee schedule was November 2010.

Timing of the Proposed Filing Fee Increases

There is a sixty-day public comment period following the May 4th publication of the proposed rule. The USCIS then must review and consider comments before publishing the final rule and instating a fee schedule increase.

Common Case Types with Proposed Fee Changes

The list of forms or case types for which fees would be increased is extensive. The increases would affect H1Bs, L-1s, and most other employment-based, nonimmigrant categories. Fees for family- and employment-based green card cases would increase, too, as would the cost to apply for U.S. citizenship.

Examples of commonly used forms that would see fee increases are:

Petition TypeCurrent FeeProposed Fee


Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker$  325$  460


Petition for Alien Relative$  420$  535


Application for Travel Document$  360$  575


Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker$  580$  700


Application to Register / Adjust Status$  985$1140


Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status$  290$  370


Application for Employment Authorization$  380$  410


Application for Naturalization$  595$  640


Reduced Fee for Some Naturalization Applications

The proposed rule sets forth potential changes to the fee requirements for naturalization applications for families that meet designated income limitations. Under current regulations, a naturalization applicant can request a fee waiver for both the N-400 application ($595) and the corresponding biometrics ($85). The proposed rule would leave the fee waiver in place, and also create an option allowing for a 50 percent fee reduction for non-military naturalization applicants who have incomes greater than the 150 percent of poverty line, but not more than 200 percent of the poverty guidelines. The USCIS estimates that 11 percent of naturalization applicants fall within this category.

Comment Opportunity for Public Ends July 5, 2016

The public has until July 5, 2016 to submit comments to the USCIS regarding this proposed rule. Instructions on how to submit comments are available in the proposed rule.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.