On January 30, 2024, USCIS issued a Final Public Notice raising filing fees for many applications and petitions submitted requesting immigration benefits in the United States. The fee increase reflects a multi-year effort by USCIS to address cost increases that the agency has faced over the years. As a fee-driven agency, USCIS is almost entirely reliant upon filing fees to cover costs associated with document processing and adjudications. USCIS last changed filing fees in 2016 and as such, the new fee schedule has been expected for years.
The new fee schedule will be active as of April 1, 2024 and reflect an approximate 26% increase for most submissions. Most fees do not increase too dramatically (i.e. the cost of naturalization filings increases from $725 to $760), although green card submissions now require additional fees for employment authorization and travel document filings, which were previously included in the adjustment of status filing fee. Fee discounts will also be available for nonprofits and small employers, as well as reductions for certain filings for individuals under the age of 14.
The most significant change will likely be felt by employers seeking nonimmigrant visas for their workers, with H-1B, L-1 and O-1 filings each seeing a dramatic increase in base fees for the application and the addition of new costs. The base fee for all three filings is currently $460, but after April 1, fees for these filings will rise depending upon the number of full-time employees an employer has. Employers with 25 or fewer will have lower costs, whereas employers with 26 or more employees will have higher fees. For example, H-1Bs will rise to $460 for small employers – $780 for large employers; L-1s will increase to either $695 or $1385; O-1s will jump to from $530 to $1055, again depending on the size of the employer. Employers will also be required to submit an additional $600 as an Asylum Program Fee (only $300 for small employers and nonprofits), which is designed to help the agency displace the costs associated with asylum filings, as USCIS is prohibited by statute for charging for asylum filings. H-1B registration, which opens in mid-March will continue to have a $10 registration fee, although that will rise to $215 in 2025. By separate notice, USCIS also raised the cost of Premium Processing (15 business day adjudications) as of February 26, 2024 from $2500 to $2805.
As always, Brown Immigration Law will be diligent in preparing and submitting client filings prior to the fee increase if possible. Ultimately, we are focused on client success and approvals, but are mindful that avoiding the burden of additional filing fees is certainly a priority for most clients. For additional questions or concerns regarding the new fee schedule or any immigration matters, please feel free to contact Brown Immigration Law at your convenience.