Written by Benjamin Lau
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it is implementing a new filing fee schedule that will take effect on October 2, 2020. USCIS is also revising numerous key employment-based immigration forms, such as new editions of the Form I-129 nonimmigrant worker petition for H-1B, L-1, O-1 and other nonimmigrant categories. The new forms are not currently available. The USCIS is also extending the timeframe for premium processing from 15 calendar days to 15 business days. A summary of the fee changes for popular employment-based categories are as follows:
|Visa Class||New Fee||Old Fee||Change||Percent Change|
|I-539 (Dependent Visa)||$400||$370||$30||8%|
|I-140 (Immigrant Visa)||$555||$700||-$145||-21%|
|I-485 (Adjustment of Status)||$1,140||$1,130||-$10||-1%|
|I-485 (under 14)||$750||$1,130||$380||51%|
|I-131 (Advance Parole)||$590||$575||$15||3%|
|I-907 (Premium Processing)||$1,440||$1,440||$0||0%|
A full list of the fee adjustments for employers can be found here.
The new fees will go into effect starting October 2, 2020. Filings postmarked October 1, 2020 or earlier will remain subject to the current fee schedule.
Changes to the Adjustment of Status Filing Scheme
One notable change for Adjustment of Status (AOS) applications is that the Form I-485, Form I-131, and Form I 765 have been de-coupled – separate fees are now required. Under the current filing fee schedule, Adjustment of Status applicants pay a single USCIS filing fee of $1,140 for each applicant, and that fee covers the costs of the Form I-485, I 131, and I 765. Under the new fee schedule, a separate filing fee is required for each form. Additionally, under the current fee schedule, Form I-131 and Form I-765 renewal applications for Adjustment of Status applicants do not require a USCIS filing fee. Under the new fee schedule, a separate filing fee will be required for Form I-131 and Form I-765 renewal applications.
Fee Change for H-1B and L-1 Dependent Employers
In addition to fee increases, USCIS will also require certain employers to pay additional border security fees. Currently, employers with more than 50 employees, 50% of whom are in H-1B or L-1 status, are required to pay an additional $4,000 when petitioning for an initial or change of employer H-1B, or $4,500 for an initial L-1. Under the final rule, employers subject to the additional fee must pay this fee with every extension, in addition to the initial filing.
Affected employers will want to account for the new fees’ budget impacts, and should be mindful of the new premium processing timeline when planning Form I-129 and Form I-140 filings.
MSK’s Immigration Department continues to closely follow changes brought by USCIS and other agencies throughout the immigration landscape. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or to determine if a revised processing plan is advisable for your business.