DHS Proposes Rule to Increase Immigration and Citizenship Fees

The Department of Homeland Security published a proposed rule to the Federal Register on Thursday, November 14. The DHS proposal increases fees for certain immigration and naturalization applications charged by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). According to the proposed rule, the increase is in response to a recent USCIS-conducted fee review through which the agency determined that current fees are insufficient to cover the full operating costs of administering the U.S. immigration system.

The DHS proposed rule includes fee increases, new fees, and other changes that include form changes, the introduction of new forms, and limits to the number of beneficiaries included on certain forms.

The weighted average total fee increase is 21% and is the first fee increase since December of 2016. The press release announcing the fee changes noted that “current fees would leave the agency underfunded by approximately $1.3 billion per year.” The Department of Homeland Security explains in the proposed rule that operating at current fee levels risks degrading the USCIS operations.

Specific fee changes include the following:

    • Form I-90 (Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card) from $455 to $415
    • Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker). The Department of Homeland Security is proposing to separate the Form I-129 into several different forms requiring different fees depending on the classification of the worker
      • Form I-129H1 for H-1 (Petition for a Nonimmigration Worker) from $460 to $560
      • Form I-129H2A for H-2A (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) from $460 to $425 (unnamed), $860 (named)
      • Form I-129H2B for H-2B (Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker) from $460 to $395 (unnamed), $725 (named)
      • Form I-129E&TN for E and TN (Petition for Nonimmigrant worker) from $460 to $705
      • Form I-129L for L (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) from $460 to $815
      • Form I-129O for O (Petitioner for Nonimmigrant Worker) from $460 to $715
      • Form I-129F (Foreign Fiancé Petition) from $535 to $520
    • Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition as a Foreign Worker) from $700 to $545
    • Form I-191 (Request for Relief Under section 212 (c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act) from $930 to $800
    • Form I-290B (Notice of Appeal or Motion) from $675 to $705
    • Form I-485 (Application for Permanent Residence Registration or Adjustment of Status) from $1,140 to $1,120
    • Form I-589 (Asylum Application) from $0 to $50
    • Form I-612 (Application for Exemption on Foreign Residence Under Section 212 (e) of the INA) from $930 to $525
    • Form I-694 (Notice of Appeal Decision) from $890 to $725
    • Form I-698 (Request for Adjustment of Temporary Status to Permanent Resident Under Section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act) from $1,670 to $1,615
    • Form I-751 (Petition to Cancel Residence Conditions) from $595 to $760
    • Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) from $410 to $490
    • Form I-817 (Application for Family Unit Benefits) from $600 to $590
    • Form I-881 (Application for Suspension of Deportation or Special Rule Cancellation of Expulsion) from $285/$570 to $1,800
    • Form I-910 (Application for Appointment as a Civil Doctor) from $785 to $650
    • Form N-400 (Naturalization Request) from $640 to $1,170
    • Form N-565 (Application for Replacement of Naturalization / Citizenship Document) from $555 to $545
    • Form N-600 (Application for Citizenship Certificate) from $1,170 to $1,015
    • Form N-600K (Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322) from $1,170 to $960
    • USCIS Immigrant Fee of $220 to $200
    • Biometric Services from $85 to $30 dollars

The proposed fee changes will be felt by companies who hire foreign workers in non-agricultural roles and those foreign nationals seeking citizenship benefits.