On July 31, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a final rule that changes the filing fees for many of the most commonly used application and petition forms used to obtain immigration benefits. The final rule, which is scheduled to go into effect on October 2, 2020, is part of the agency’s attempt to address an anticipated budget shortfall caused by a dramatic lack in applications from the previous year.
While the changes affect the fees for dozens of applications and petitions, perhaps the most significant change is the more than 80% increase on naturalization applications from $640 to $1170. Other significant changes include the imposition of a $50 fee for asylum applications, which is one of the first of its kind in the world; a 34% increase in the fee for employment authorization; and an increase in the fee for the Annual Certification of EB-5 Regional Centers (Form I-924A) from $3,035 to $4,465.
Another major non-fee related policy change is an extension in the time allotted for USCIS to respond to cases filed with Premium Processing from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, which could add an extra week for employers and individuals to receive responses on cases.
Although there is growing anticipation that groups will file suit to enjoin many or all of these changes, until an injunction is granted, preparations should be made for these new fees to be paid on and after October 2, 2020.
If you need more information about this important immigration news, feel free to contact us today.