Department of Homeland Security proposes to increase several USCIS filing fees

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking to raise the filing fee amounts of many applications and petitions for immigration benefits. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it is necessary to raise USCIS filing fees given that the actual cost of the services provided is greater than the fees currently generated for the immigration benefits sought.

Under the proposed regulation, the cost of applying for most petitions and applications would rise by an average of 21 percent. Several key filing fee amounts subject to the proposed increase are discussed below.

Several employment-based petitions are subject to the change. The filing fee for Form I-129, the nonimmigrant worker petition, would increase from $325.00 to $460.00. The Form I-140, the immigrant worker petition, would rise from $580.00 to $700.00. Finally, the fee for Form I-765, application for employment authorization, would change from $380.00 to $410.00.

However, regional center applicants under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program would incur the greatest increase. The filing fee for Form I-924, application for regional center designation under the Immigrant Investor Program, would increase from $6,230.00 to $17,795.00 and DHS would introduce a new fee of $3,035.00 that the regional centers would have to pay each year for certification of their continued eligibility for the designation.

Applying for permanent residence status in the United States could also be more expensive. The fee for Form I-485, application to adjust status to permanent resident, would increase from $985.00 to $1,140.00.

Additionally, DHS seeks to establish a three-level fee system for applications for naturalization (Form N-400). First, DHS would increase the standard fee for Form N-400 from $595.00 to $640.00. Second, DHS would continue to charge no fee for certain applicants in the military and others who qualify for a fee waiver. Third, DHS would charge a reduced fee of $320.00 for naturalization applicants with family income greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

The Department of Homeland Security is receiving comments on the proposed regulation to raise fees for a 60-day period ending July 5, 2016.