Employment-Based Immigration Filing Fees to Increase Following Final Rule Issued by USCIS
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule on January 30, 2024 to update its filing fees for the first time in more than seven years. Under the final rule, most employment-based processes will see a significant increase in filing fees. The new fees will go into effect on April 1, 2024.
In determining the applicable filing fee, the final rule distinguishes between some types of employers, petitions, and manner of filing. Specifically, nonprofits and small employers—defined as those with 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees—may receive special fee discounts. Forms eligible to be filed online will receive a $50 online filing discount. The final rule implements different fees for Form I-129 in some cases depending on the nonimmigrant classification sought (for example, different fees for H-1B versus L-1).
When filing Forms I-129 and I-140, employers will be required to pay a new Asylum Program Fee of $600. The fee is reduced to $300 for small employer petitioners with 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, while nonprofit employers are not required to pay this fee. The Asylum Program Fee is meant to help cover costs associated with asylum processing, which does not have its own fees.
Notably, the H-1B electronic registration process for FY 2025 will open at noon Eastern time on March 6, 2024, and close at noon Eastern time on March 22, 2024, but the new H-1B cap registration fees will not go into effect until April 1, 2024. This year’s H-1B cap lottery will therefore not be affected by the 2,050% increase in H-1B cap registration fee from $10 to $215.
Under the final rule, the EB-5 program will see a huge increase in filing fees. For example, the filing fee for I-526 will increase by 204% from $3,675 to $11,160. The filing fee for Form I-956 will increase by 168% from $17,795 to $47,695.
The updated filing fees are separate from the increased filing fee for Premium Processing (Form I-907), which will go into effect on February 26, 2024.
The chart below demonstrates the change in filing fees under the new final rule for some common employment-based processes:
Foster will continue to monitor changes related to USCIS filing requirements and will make additional updates available via our firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.