Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press
Beginning this Friday, October 2, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will increase fees for certain types of nonimmigrant and naturalization petitions, as well as Visas of various types. (USCIS) will increase fees for certain types of nonimmigrant and naturalization petitions, as well as Visas of various types.
This October 1 marks the beginning of the new fiscal year for USCIS, and the number of available employment-based visas has increased due to a significant drop in processing capacity due to closures of consular offices and service centers because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year's October Visa bulletin notes an increase in the most common application fees, including nonimmigrant and adjustment of status, as well as nonimmigrant (H,L,TN,O-1, etc.) and naturalization applications.
USCIS also announced that it will launch new I-129 forms for each of those Visa types, while detailing that the I-485 (adjustment of status) will no longer be bundled with the I-765 (employment authorization) and I-131 (travel document), so applicants will have to pay a total of $2,270, where previously the combined fee was $1,140.
Some of the most common types of forms and petitions that change their price are:
Nonimmigrant Visa Petitions
- Form I-129 filing fee for H-1B petitions (for professionals with specialized jobs): increased from $460 to $555.
- Form I-129 filing fee for H-2A petitions (Temporary Agricultural Visas): $460 to $850.
- Form I-129 filing fee for H-2B petitions (Temporary Nonagricultural Worker Visas): $460 to $715.
- Form I-129 filing fee for L-1 petitions (intra-company transferee foreign employees): $460 to $805.
- Form I-129 filing fee for O-1 petitions (Individuals of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, Athletics, Film or TV): $460 to $705.
- Form I-539 filing fee for applications to change or extend nonimmigrant status: $370 to $400.
The filing fee for Form N-400 naturalization applications increases from $640 to $1,170; in addition, children under the age of 14 applying for adjustment of status with their parents will no longer be eligible to file Form I-485 at a reduced fee, so a standard fee of $1,130 will apply to all applicants, regardless of age.
With some exceptions, USCIS will eliminate the separate biometric service fee for $85 and instead establish a filing fee for most forms that incorporates the cost of services.
It's not all bad, among the fee adjustments, immigrant visa ("green card") petitions have had their costs lowered, as the filing fee for Form I-140 employment-based immigrant visa petitions goes from $700 to $555.
While the Form I-485 filing fee for adjustment of status applications decreases from $1,140 to $1,130 (this amount will no longer cover the filing fees for Forms I-765 and I-131, as well as Employment Authorization and Travel Authorization applications, whose fees are $550 and $590, respectively).
After a review of the fees, USCIS determined that the current fees did not recover the full cost of providing adjudication and naturalization services, so prices were increased by a weighted average of 20 percent.
It is worth noting that some costs increase by up to 535 percent as is the case of the I-881 application which is for suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal by special rule which went from $285 to $1,810.
Also, Form I-929, which is a petition for a qualifying relative of a U-1 nonimmigrant, increased 546 percent, from $230 to $1,485.
While Form N-470 (application to preserve residency for naturalization purposes) increased from $355 to $1,585, an increase of 346 percent.
The adjustment is intended to ensure that the agency has the resources it needs to provide adequate service to applicants and petitioners, and gives it greater flexibility in the use of those resources, he said.