Homeland Security recently announced that Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be increasing its fees. The administration will increase fees on businesses, new citizens and international students who need work authorization. The new fee rule from USCIS is the latest Trump administration action to restrict immigration to the United States and make life more difficult for businesses seeking skilled workers and immigrants who want to be American citizens. 

When will fees increase?

Recently, USCIS released to the public the final version of a fee rule first proposed November of last year. The fees will go into effect on October 2, 2020. 

Which applications and petitions will be affected?

This new rule is an excessive increase in fees for some of the most common immigration procedures, including an 81% increase in the cost of U.S. citizenship for naturalization. USCIS also announced that it will now charge asylum-seekers. Making the United States one of only four countries to charge a fee for humanitarian protection and asylum. 

This is latest change in immigration policy to attempt to curb legal immigration to the United States. The USCIS claims that this new fees’ adjustment is to ensure U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recovers its costs of services. 

For instance, the fee to apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization will increase from $640 to $1,160 if filed online, or $ 1,170 for a paper filing.

Other increases will hit petitions for employment authorization — Form I-765, which will go up by 34% to $550 — and for removing conditions on permanent residence obtained through marriage (Form I-751), which will go up by 28%, from $595 to $760. 

Table 1: Immigration Fee Increases

VISA CATEGORYCURRENT FEENEW FEEPERCENTAGE INCREASE
H-1B$460$55521%
L$460$80575%
H-1B & L$4000/$4,500Reinterpret law on fee to apply it more often on companies with more than 50% of employees in H-1B & L status.100% or more
O$460$70553%
TN$460$69551%
E$460$69551%
P$460$69551%
Q$460$69551%
R$460$69551%
H-2A$460$850 named, $415 unnamed85%
H-2B$460$715 named, $385 unnamed55%
H-3$460$69551%

The fee rule and a full list of fees can be seen by clicking here.

This fee increase comes on the heels of another announcement by USCIS. The agency recently announced that is planning to furlough about two-thirds of its workers at the end of the month after Congress failed to reach a deal on a coronavirus stimulus package. 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services notified about 13,400 of its 20,000 employees that they would be furloughed by Aug. 30 because of budget shortfalls, which the agency hoped Congress would fill in its next relief package before negotiations stalled. The agency had asked Congress for $1.2 billion, and the money had been expected to come through its next coroanvirus relief package. 

With the increase in fees and planned furloughs by USCIS, immigrants and businesses in the United States in need or services from USCIS are encouraged to find an immigration attorney near them as soon as possible. If you are in the United States and need legal help with you immigration case, contact one of our Ohio immigration lawyers for a case evaluation