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DHS Proposal to Increase Visa Application Fees

By November 21, 2019March 31st, 2021Immigration, News

The Department of Homeland Security has proposed a fee schedule that would increase the filing fees for most applications. The proposal also seeks to increase the premium processing timeline to 15 business days instead of the current 15 calendar days. It will also introduce a fee for asylum and DACA applications, both of which were previously free to apply.

Below are some of the significant changes that are proposed:

Higher and separate fees for H-1B, L-1, and other employment-based applications

DHS is proposing to separate the current standard Form I-129 nonimmigrant worker petition into different forms for each visa classification and to impose different fees for each classification. Currently, the Form I-129 is 36 pages and include the application forms for all employment-based applications. The filing fee for all different types of application is $460. In the new proposal, the different fees are as follows:

H-1B and L-1 employers are also expected to pay a border security fee. Currently, employers with more than 50 employees, of which more than 50% are in H-1B or L-1 status, must pay an additional $4000 fees for each initial and change-of-employer H-1B petition and $4500 for each L-1 petition. Under the new proposal, the same employers will have to pay this fee for an extension of stay application too.

Adjustment of Status and Citizenship

Currently, the fee to apply for a Form I-485 adjustment of status is $1225. This fee includes the adjustment application as wells as the initial and all future extensions of the work authorization and travel permit as long as the case is still pending. The new proposals will eliminate this and add separate fees for the initial and renewal of work permits and travel permits. The new fees for adjustment of status will be as follows:

  • I-485 Adjustment of Status: $2195 (includes initial EAD and AP)
  • I-765 Work Permit Renewal: $490
  • I-131 Advance Parole Renewal: $585

The N-400 application for naturalization will increase from the current $640 to $1170. This 83% increase is the biggest increase in fees of all of the applications.

Extension of Premium Processing Time

Premium processing is a service that applicants can purchase to have their applications adjudication expedited. The current premium processing time is 15 calendar days. This is expected to increase to 15 business days, which is at least 3 weeks. Increase in premium processing fees has already been announced, it will increase from $1440 from $1410. The increase in fees will occur on December 2, 2019.

Fees for Humanitarian Applications

As reported in December 2018, DHS is proposing to add a fee for asylum applications. Asylum applications have always been free to apply, the first work permit for asylees is also free. In the new proposal, asylum applications are now $50, and the work permit will cost the same as other work permits at $490.

DHS is also proposing a $275 fee for requests to renew Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications. Initial applications for DACA is not included in this proposal as USCIS is not accepting initial DACA applications at this time. However, this can change soon as the Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments regarding the challenge to the Trump administration’s termination of the DACA program.

Decrease in Fees

There are four applications that have a decrease in fees, the changes are as follows:

USCIS has also proposed to eliminate the biometrics fee of $85, however, biometric fees will just be included in the application fee instead of being charged separately.

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One Comment

  • Michelle Ashley Fletcher says:

    It is deplorable to increase O Visa fees. Why? It is already a huge strain for arts organizations and individuals to produce their work and collaborate with international artists. The Fulbright program was created to encourage cross cultural exchange in hopes that we humans through education can learn from each other and prevent war, misunderstanding and hate. This is one reason why artists also engage in cross cultural exchange. With a government that constantly undermines art as integral to our society’s health…this is another knife cut that has much broader implications for our community. Please do not raise the fees.

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