The Department of Homeland Security has just released the final rule announcing the increase of most of the Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) application filing fees. The weighted average of the increase is 21 percent and USCIS is adding one new fee. Most notably, the filing fee for I-131 reentry permits is set to increase from $360 (plus $85 biometrics fee) to $575 (plus $85 biometrics fee). This is an increase of 60%.
The new USCIS filing fee will become effective for all USCIS filings starting mailed, postmarked or otherwise filed on or after December 23, 2016.
USCIS Filing Fees Increase
The table below highlights the filing fee increase for the most common types of USCIS filings. See the final rule for the full rule and a full listing of the new fees.
|Form||Current Fee||New Fee||Increase ($)||Increase (%)|
|I-90 Green Card Replacement||$365||$455||$90||25%|
|I-129 Nonimmigrant Worker (H-1B, L-1, O-1, etc.)||$325||$460||$135||42%|
|I-130 Immigrant Petition/Family||$420||$535||$115||35%|
|I-131 Travel Document (advance parole, reentry permit)||$360||$575||$215||60%|
|I-140 Immigrant Petition/Employment||$580||$700||$120||21%|
|I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion||$630||$675||$45||7%|
|I-485 Adjustment of Status||$985||$1,140||$155||16%|
|I-485 Adjustment of Status (certain minors)||$635||$750||$115||18%|
|I-539 Change or Extend Status||$290||$370||$80||28%|
|N-400 US Citizenship||$595||$640||$45||8%|
|USCIS Immigrant Fee||$165||$220||$55||33%|
|Biometrics Fee||$85||$85||No change|
Applications with Dishonored Check or Lacking Biometrics Fee Can Now Be Rejected
In addition to the new and higher filing fees, the new final rule removes provisions which prevented USCIS from rejecting an application which has been paid with a dishonored check or which did not include the required biometrics fee (for applications which require this fee). Under the current rule, USCIS would accept an application if its filing fee check bounced or if it did not include the biometrics fee but then seek the applicant to send a new check. Under the new rule, USCIS can reject the application filing altogether (which will cause delays and, possibly, cause missing filing deadlines).
Rationale of Fee Increase
The final rule describes that the reason USCIS is raising the filing fees is to bring the fees in line with the actual and anticipated costs of USCIS providing the applicable services. USCIS is a fee-funded agency and it is required to evaluate periodically its fees in order to ensure proper national security, staffing and processing goals milestones. By implementing the fee increase, USCIS aims to close an estimated annual shortfall of $550 million caused mainly due to increased USCIS costs. Simply put, the fee increase is intended to reflect USCIS’s increased case processing costs and to ensure that no services have to be cut (and processing times increased).
New Higher Fees to become Effective December 23, 2016
The new higher USCIS filing fees will remain effective starting December 23, 2016. All filings received or postmarked on or after December 23, 2016 will have to include a filing fee payment based on the new schedule. After December 23, 2016, USCIS will reject any filings which do not include the new filing fee amount.
Many of our readers and especially those who are permanent residents and reside abroad for extended periods of time (and rely on reentry permits to maintain and preserve their permanent resident status) will not be very happy with the prospect of having to pay an (significantly) increased fee; however, the last fee increase was in 2010 and we hope that the fee increase would help bring down the processing times for a number of types of applications.
Our office has a special reentry permit division where we handle reentry permits on a daily basis for a variety of green card applicant situations and we will be delighted to discuss and, possibly, help throughout the application process. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments or complete the case evaluation and quote form if we can be of any assistance with this or related immigration-related issues. We invite you to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics.