USCIS Withdraws Proposed Filing Fee Increases
The USCIS filing fee increases that were proposed last summer will not be implemented.
In August 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new filing fee rule in the Federal Register that raised USCIS filing fees by a weighted average of 20%. Some popular business-related petitions were slated for larger increases, from 51% for TN and E petitions to 75% for L petitions to 85% for temporary, seasonal agricultural workers. DHS wanted to increase fees to reduce its projected $1 billion deficit. Critics complained that these increases would negatively affect immigrants, businesses, and the economy. The new fees were to go into effect on October 2, 2020. At the last moment, a federal judge in California enjoined the rule. Despite the government’s request, the judge refused to enter a stay of the injunction pending a decision on an appeal. On December 28, 2020, the day the government was to file its opening brief in the federal appellate court, the Department of Justice (DOJ) voluntarily moved to dismiss the appeal the Administration previously decided to pursue.
This signals the end of those fee increases – at least for now. In addition, the form and policy changes that were included in that fee-increase rule will not be implemented. This includes a proposed change in the premium processing timeline from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, up from two weeks to three weeks.