Higher Fees, New Forms, and Slower Premium Processing Coming Oct. 2, 2020

A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) final rule scheduled to go into effect on October 2, 2020, will increase most filing fees and provide the USCIS with several additional days to adjudicate cases filed under the premium processing program. In addition, the USCIS is in the process of updating a number of forms and will only accept these new versions of the forms for any submissions postmarked on or after October 2, 2020.

Increase in Most Filing Fees

Once the USCIS rule goes into effect, most USCIS filing fees will increase. A full list of the new fees can be found listed in Table 1 of the final rule.

Form I-129 Split Into Ten New Forms

The final rule also serves to split the petition for a nonimmigrant worker (form I-129) into ten separate forms, each of which will be used for one or more petition-based nonimmigrant classifications. This is being done to allow the USCIS to charge different filing fees depending upon the classification requested.

For instance, form I-129H1 will be used by an employer that wishes to sponsor an H1B or H1B1 worker. The filing fee for this form will be $555, which is $95 more than the $460 currently charged for filing form I-129. Meanwhile, form I-129L, which will require a filing fee of $805, will be used to petition for an L-1 worker.

Premium Processing Time Extended

Once the final rule goes into effect, the USCIS will have 15 business days to take adjudicative action on a petition filed requesting premium processing. Presently, the USCIS must take some action within 15 calendar days.


The USCIS claims this large fee hike is necessary to cover its costs. Perhaps a more prudent measure would be for the USCIS to reduce its costs by returning to being a service provider, as intended, rather than an enforcement agency.


Copyright © 2020, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved

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.