On December 23rd, USCIS filing fees for most types of petitions will rise again. I took a look back at petitions filed in the early 2000s, and the I-129 filing fee then for an H-1B was a straight $130.
Times have changed. The base filing fee will be $460. For H-1Bs, all new petitioners must then pay an additional $500 fraud fee. If you have 25 or more full-time employees, and are not “cap-exempt,” there’s an additional $1500 ACWIA fee. Many employers also opt for the 15 day “premium processing” fee, for another $1225, since the agency will otherwise take 6 months to adjudicate the petition. Then, there’s the lawyer’s fee, if one is hired to help.
Here’s a brief list of the increases for some of the petitions we file:
- I-129 Temporary Worker: Was $325 Now $460
- I-140 Petition for Alien Worker (permanent): Was $580 Now $700
- I-130 Petition for Alien Relative: Was $420 Now $535
- I-485 Adjustment of Status: Was $985 Now $1140
- N-400 Naturalization: Was $595 Now $640
- I-90 Permanent Resident Card renewal: Was $365 Now $455
The full list of fees can be found at www.uscis.gov.
In the next year, there will probably be a fair amount of discussion and press coverage on foreign labor employment by U.S. companies. Businesses usually operate with a profit motive, and will not look outside the local labor market, or pay more than they have to, to hire qualified workers. There is a significant cost to hiring non-U.S. labor, which involves filing fees, legal fees, legal exposure in some cases, and timing factors. In our experience, businesses invest a fair amount of time and resources if they determine they wish to hire a non-citizen candidate.
Here’s USCIS’s latest press release on the fee changes:
USCIS reminds applicants and petitioners to pay our new fees with forms postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23, 2016, or we will not be able to accept the filings. We will only accept previous fees if they are postmarked Dec. 22 or earlier.
Beginning on Dec. 23, you will no longer have a 14-day grace period to correct a failed fee payment. USCIS will immediately reject a benefit request for nonpayment. We will also no longer hold benefit requests submitted without the correct biometric services fees. You must pay biometric services fees, if applicable, at the time of filing. We will reject a benefit request if it is received without the correct biometric services fee, as specified in the form instructions.
Along with the fee changes, we are introducing a reduced fee option for certain low-income naturalization applicants who do not qualify for a fee waiver. For eligibility details and filing instructions, see Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee, and Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
USCIS is funded almost entirely by fees. Read our Oct. 24 news release about our first fee increase in 6 years, which is needed to recover the full cost of services. These include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge or fee waivers and exemptions for those who are eligible.