February 6, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 37

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February 03, 2023

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USCIS to Increase Fees for Key Immigration Filings

Effective December 23, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will substantially increase fees for numerous immigration filings. In a final rule published on October 24, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced the new fees, which represent a weighted average increase of 21%. The final rule also establishes a new fee for the Form I-924A EB-5 Annual Certification of Regional Center, creates a three-level fee structure for naturalization applications (Form N-400), and revises regulatory provisions addressing dishonored payments and unpaid biometric services fees.


Following a comprehensive review by USCIS for its fiscal year 2016/2017 biennial period, USCIS determined that its current fees do not recover the full costs associated with processing applications and petitions. DHS published a notice of proposed rulemaking on May 4, 2016, and received 475 comments during the sixty-day comment period. The final rule was published on October 24, 2016, and will go into effect on December 23, 2016, applying to filings submitted to USCIS on or after that date.

Increased Fees

The final rule increases fees by a weighted average of 21% for most immigration benefit requests. All applications or petitions that are mailed, postmarked, or otherwise filed on or after December 23, 2016, must include the new fees in order to be processed by USCIS. In other words the new fees apply on the date of submission by the petitioner or applicant and not on the date of receipt by USCIS.

The following is a list of the fee increases most likely to impact employers. These increases include the fees for Form I-129 (used for H-1B, L-1, O-1, TN, and E-1/E-2 filings), Form I-140 (used for employment-based green card petitions, including those based on PERM labor certification), Form I-485 (for the employee and dependent family members to obtain green cards), and Form I-765 (the work authorization form used by F-1 students as well as pending green card applicants). A more comprehensive list of the new fees can be found on USCIS’s website at https://www.uscis.gov/forms/our-fees.

Immigration Benefit Request

Current Fee ($)

New Fee ($), Effective Dec. 23, 2016

I-129/129CW  Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker



I-140  Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker



I-485  Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status



I-765  Application for Employment Authorization



Practical Implications of the New Rule

Petitioners and applicants should take note of the increased fees and revise immigration strategies accordingly. In particular, companies and persons planning to file benefit requests in early 2017 should consider filing before fees increase on December 23, 2016.

Copyright 2023 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume VI, Number 333

About this Author

Brian Graham, KL Gates Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney

Brian Graham is a partner in the firm’s Austin office where he concentrates his practice in corporate and investment-based immigration law and is a member of the labor, employment and workplace safety practice group. He is internationally recognized for his expertise in obtaining visas, permanent residency, and citizenship for athletes, entertainers, executives, healthcare professionals, investors, religious workers, information technology workers, professors, and researchers. Mr. Graham regularly advises corporations on immigration compliance issues and developing long-...

Karen Spain, KL Gates Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney

Karen Spain is a litigation associate in the Charleston office and is a member of the labor, employment, and workplace safety practice group. She advises employers on a wide range of labor and employment issues, including complex employment disputes, trade secret and confidential information protection, restrictive covenants, employment agreements, employee handbooks, reductions in force, and sensitive terminations and severance arrangements. Ms. Spain also assists employers in preparing and filing non-immigrant visas, and she has experience counseling immigrant...