It's hard to believe 2016 was eight years ago.
There's a lot that has happened since - we've had three U.S. presidents, experienced the pandemic, exited the U.S.'s longest running war, and had Twitter converted to X…
Something that hasn't happened in those eight years? A general USCIS fee increase.
The last USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) fee increase occurred in 2016, with an average 21% fee increase across forms. The Trump Administration announced a dramatic fee increase in 2020, which would have nearly doubled the price of a naturalization application and added a fee for an asylum application. However, in the fall of 2020 a federal judge in California halted the fee increase pending the outcome of a lawsuit that several immigration non-profits had filed.
This week the Biden administration announced that after a legally required comprehensive fee review, a fee increase across USCIS forms will take place beginning April 1, 2024.
Under the Final Rule regarding the fee increases, published January 30, 2024, the new fees will not increase by more than 26%, which is equivalent to the increase in the Consumer Price Index since the last fee rule was issued in 2016. That number however, is a little misleading, as it does not fully communicate the differences between applications. For example, an I-131 Refugee travel document for an applicant under 16 years of age with biometric services is actually decreasing its filing fee by 29%, from $190 to $135, but an I-129 petition for O nonimmigrant workers is increasing 129%, from $460 to $1,055.
As there are fee changes for almost every type of USCIS filing, we are not able to list all of them in this post, but you can click here to find the fee changes that will affect you the most.
A very important thing to note is that the fee changes will be implemented on April 1, 2024 and USCIS will use the postmark date of a filing to determine which form version and fees are correct, but will use the received date for purposes of determining any regulatory or statutory filing deadlines.
A general change affecting USCIS filing is that the agency will now discount filings by $50 if they are filed on the USCIS website. This is part of a widespread push to modernize the USCIS filing system, and enable applicants to track their processing.
If you have questions about obtaining immigration help please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.