- USCIS issued a final rule adjusting certain immigration and naturalization benefit request fees
- The new rule is effective April 1, 2024
- The final rule is the first fee schedule change since 2016
- USCIS made some changes to the final rule following the notice of proposed rulemaking in January 2023
- USCIS will issue a list of revised forms on its website
On January 30, 2024, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a final rule adjusting certain immigration and naturalization benefit request fees. The new rule is effective April 1, 2024.
The rule’s publication is the first adjustment to immigration and naturalization benefit request fees since 2016. USCIS adjusted the fees to expedite the processing of new applications and cover its operating costs. Following a comprehensive review of the previous fee schedule, USCIS concluded that the last fee rates were insufficient to fully cover the cost of agency operations, including expanding humanitarian programs, adding staff, giving pay raises to employees, and more.
USCIS first issued a notice of proposed rulemaking in January 2023. The final rule has the following changes since the initial rulemaking:
- Reduces USCIS’s required annual cost recovery by almost $730 million
- Expands fee exemptions for Special Immigrant Juveniles and victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and crime; US military members and Afghan allies, and families seeking international adoption
- Provides fee discounts for small business employers and nonprofits
- Permits half-price Employment Authorization Document applications for adjustment of status applicants and reduces fees for adjustment of status applicants under age 14 in some cases
- Expands eligibility for a 50% reduction in fees for naturalization applicants who can demonstrate a household income of 150% – 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Provides a $50 discount for online filing
The fees in the final rule will either remain the same or decrease from the fee schedule in the proposed rule. The final rule limits how much the new fees may increase, which is not more than 26%. That rate is equivalent to the increase in the Consumer Price Index since the previous fee rule issued in 2016.
Additional Changes Starting April 1, 2024
Other changes will also take effect on April 1, 2024. USCIS encourages interested individuals to visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section on its website for a complete list of revised forms that will be effective on April 1, 2024, along with the associated fee rates. USCIS will provide a grace period of April 1, 2024 – June 3, 2024, during which time it will accept new and previous editions of certain forms, except for those listed below. However, the forms must be filed with the correct fee.
USCIS will not provide a grace period for the following forms:
- Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
- Form I-129 CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker
- Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers
- Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition
- Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative
USCIS will use the postmark filing date to determine the correct fees and form versions, but it will use the receipt date for regulatory or statutory filing deadlines.
Written by: Lucy Halse, Content Marketing Associate, Envoy Global
Edited by: Frank Fogelbach, Supervising Attorney, Corporate Immigration Partners
Source: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)