BREAKING: District Court Enjoins USCIS New Fee Rule

Today the US District Court for the Northern District of California enjoined DHS and USCIS from putting their new Fee rule into effect on October 2, 2020. The Court agreed with the plaintiffs that it was more likely than not that they would succeed plaintiffs their case showing that the acting Directors of DHS and USCIS lacked the authority to make new regulations or rules as they have never been confirmed by Congress.

The court made this a nationwide ruling – meaning that USCIS cannot put the new rule in place anywhere in the US. According to the Court because it was likely that they could show that the Acting Directors lacked the power, a nationwide injunction.

While the Government can still appeal to the Court of Appeals and/or the Supreme Court, at least for now, the new rule cannot go into effect.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.

USCS Raising Fees

USCIS just released a proposed rule that would increase most fees for USCIS benefits, some by quite a bit.  I will go through some of the proposals below.

I-485: Adjustment of Status

Currently, there is a general fee for the I-485 that covers filing the I-485, and the filing of the I-765 and I-131 applications.  Added to this is a fee for biometrics.  The I-140 fee is $1140 and the biometrics fee is $85.  The total fee is $1225, which is reduced to $750 for children under 14 who file with a parent.

The new proposed fee would be $1120 for the I-485 (including the biometrics fee.  However, the I-765 and the I-131 would no longer be included in the filing fee.  So those needing the I-765 and I-131 would have to pay an additional $490 (up from $410) and $585 (up from $575), raising the total fee to $2195.  In addition, any need for a renewal of the I-765 and/or I-131 would require another payment of $490 and $585, raising the total fees for a pending I-485 much higher than today.  In addition, there would be no discount in fees for those under the age of 14 filing with a parent.

I-129:  Temporary Petition for Foreign Workers

Currently, all applicatons that require the use of this form, file the same form – the I-129, and attach various addendums as needed.  The filing fee for the I-126 is $460 and there are various other fees for certain applications that USCIS has no control over (fraud prevention fee, training fee, etc.).

USCIS has proposed making separate forms for each visa type (or group type) and having a separate filing fee for each group.  There will be a separate form for E and TN visas, H-1B visas, H-2A visas, H-2B visas, L Visas, O visas, CNMI petitions, and one for H-3, P, Q or R visas.  The proposed fees are as follows:  E and TN application, CNMI Application and H-3, P, Q and R Application: $705; H-1: $560; O Application: $715; L Application: $815; H-2A Application: $860 (named), and $425 (unnamed); H-2B: $725 (named), $395 (unnamed).   As can be seen, the increase is anywhere fro about $100 to almost $400.

I-907: Premium Processing Fee

The current fee for this service is $1410.  In return, USCIS will adjudicate the application within 15 calendar days.  The proposal would increase the fee to $1440 AND change the counting of the 15 days to 15 calendar days.

N-400 and N-600:  Naturalization

The current fee for the N-400 is $640 and the current fee for the N-600 is $1170.  Under the new proposal, the N-400 fee would rise to $1170 and the fee for the N-600 would be $1015.  That would be over an 80% increase in the N-400 fee and a drop of about 13%.

I-140: Petition for Foreign Worker

The currnet fee for this application is $700.  The proposal would cut this fee to $545.

Asylum and DACA

Asylum and DACA have both had no filing fee for the actual application.  The proposal adds a $50 fee to file for Asylum and a fee of $275 for DACA applications.

The above is not exhaustive.  If you would like to see all the fee changes and USCIS’ justifcations, please click here.

Please remember this blog does not attempt to provide legal advice or to analyze any specific case.  If you need legal advice, ask a lawyer, not a blog.  Thank you.

USCIS Publishes Final Rule on Fee Increase

It is official now:  As of December 23, 2016 USCIS applications fees will be rising an average of about 21%.  For those interested, all the new fees are listed on the USCIS web page here. In terms of the most common applications, I am listing the old fee and new fees below:

Petition Type Old Fee NEW Fee
I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card $365 $455
I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker $325 $460
I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) $340 $535
I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative $420 $535
I-131, Application for Travel Document $360 $575
I-485 (adult), Application to Adjust Status (not including $85 biometric fee) $985 $1140
I-485 (under 14), Application to Adjust Status $635 $750
I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur $1500 $3675
I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence $505 $595
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization $380 $410
N-400, Application for Naturalization (not including $85 biometric fee) $595 $640
N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship (biological child/adopted child) $1170 $600/550

As you can see, the amount of the increases for most applications is not that great, however, it does vary from application to application.  The I-129 fee went up by 41% while the I-765 fee went up by under 8%.

However, it should be noted that the fee charged for premium processing was not raised during this round of fee increases.  Very surprising given that it would be an easy target, and would bring in significant revenue considering the lengthening timelines for adjudication.  USCIS may be assuming that timelines will decrease because of the extra money from other fees, so they kept the premium fee reasonable so that they would still get sufficient income from that source as opposed to pricing it out of reach of most people.

Please note again that the fees do not go into effect until December 23, 2016.  Any application sent that will be received by USCIS ON OR AFTER THAT DATE should contain the new fees.

Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.