The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has proposed to increase filing fees for the vast majority of immigration applications and petitions filed with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The agency's decision is based on financial research demonstrating that USCIS would operate at an annual deficit of approximately $560 million if it continues at current fee levels. The current fee schedule was last adjusted on November 23, 2010.
Proposed changes to the fee schedule will increase government filing fees by a weighted average of 21 percent across all petition / application types, although the increase for each specific form will vary based on financial considerations. Multiple immigration benefit categories will see an increase including employment-based, family and dependant-based, investor-based and naturalization applications. For example, Form I-129, which is used for employment-based temporary worker petitions filed with USCIS, such as H-1B specialty workers and L-1 intracompany transferees, will see a fee increase from $325 USD to $460 USD. Also, Form I-140, which is used for employment-based immigrant worker (green card) petitions filed with USCIS will see a fee increase from $580 USD to $700 USD.
The proposed rule is currently in the 60-day notice and comment period following publication in the Federal Registrar on May 4, 2016. The proposed changes will most likely take several months to clear the federal regulatory process. PwC Law LLP will provide additional updates as they become available.
For more information on the proposed rule change issued by DHS, please contact a member of our team.