United States: USCIS Filing Fee Increase Moves Closer to Implementation
A final regulation to increase the filing fees for many USCIS petitions and applications is now under review at the Office of Management and Budget. If implemented as originally proposed, the rule would raise fees by an average of 21%.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has begun to review a final regulation that would increase filing fees for many USCIS petitions and applications. Though the final fee rule will remain confidential until publication in the Federal Register, a draft version released in May proposed an average fee increase of 21%, with greater increases for certain foreign workers and EB-5 investor filings.
In its draft, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sought to increase the filing fee for Form I-129, the nonimmigrant worker petition, to $460 from $325, and the fee for Form I-140, the immigrant worker petition, to $700 from $580.
For the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program, DHS proposed to more than double the fee for Form I-526, the immigrant investor petition, to $3,675 from $1,500, though left unchanged the fee for Form I-829, an investor's petition to remove conditions on residence. Additionally, Regional Centers applying for designation under the EB-5 program would pay a filing fee of $17,795, up from $6,230. Centers would also pay a new annual fee of $3,035 to certify their continued eligibility for the designation. (The EB-5 Regional Center Program is set to expire September 30, 2016 unless reauthorized by Congress.)
What This Means for Employers
OMB has up to 90 days to review the regulation, though it may take action sooner. If the rule is cleared, DHS will publish it and set an implementation date for the revised fee schedule, typically 30 to 60 days after publication.
Employers should be mindful of the anticipated filing fee changes when budgeting for immigration-related expenses.
Fragomen is closely monitoring the rule and will issue an update detailing the final changes and timing. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.