Application Fee Increases
Well, another sweeping change is on its way. This time, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced its intention to increase numerous immigration application fees. Increased fees will include applications that traditionally did not require fees, such as asylum applications. The increase most notably creates a financial barrier to adjust status, obtain U.S. citizenship and apply for humanitarian relief.
Under the proposal, asylum applicants will go from paying nothing to $50. Asylum and withholding of removal applicants will also need to pay the application fee for work permits which will not be waived. The U.S. citizenship application fee will go from $640 to a whopping fee of $1170. Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceeding will go from $700 to $1755. Children under 14 adjusting status with a parent will go from paying $750 to $1120. Therefore, a family of children and parents will become more expensive. These increases will only add to the financial hardship of applicants along with the more restrictive fee waiver policy that removes many forms from the fee waiver consideration and removes certain immigrants from the fee exemption. The USCIS will publish the official announcement on November 14, 2019. Citizens will have 30 days from Nov. 14, 2019 to comment. The specific fee changes are discussed in detail below.
Fee Waiver Policy Changes
The updated I-912 Fee Waiver Form, along with the updated fee waiver policy will become effective on December 2, 2019. Previously, the fee waiver allowed certain applicants to request an exemption from paying the application fee for certain immigration benefits. The applicant usually requested the fee waiver on the Form I-912. The previous fee waiver policy stipulated that a fee waiver would be granted if the applicant showed evidence of the following:
- Receipt of a means tested benefit (public benefits);
- Household income below 150% of the poverty guidelines; or
- Financial hardship or emergencies.
The administration has changed the policy to remove the means tested benefit criteria from the I-912 Form and now only considers two of the three factors, which are:
- Household income below 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines; or
- Financial Hardship or emergencies.
Furthermore, applications that were previously considered for fee waivers will be removed from such consideration. The administration made clear that generally there will be no fee waivers available for some applications and only vaguely stated they may consider fee waivers under individual circumstances of the applicant. Such forms that generally will no longer be considered for fee waivers include:
- Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card renewal);
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization;
- CNMI related petitions and applications;
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status;
- Forms for applicants exempt from the public charge inadmissibility ground;
- Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence;
- Naturalization and citizenship-related forms.
Also, certain individuals previously granted a fee exemption, will no longer be considered. such individuals include:
- Citizens of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, or Palau;
- Individuals granted Withholding of Deportation or Removal;
- Temporary Protected Status if the individual is filing an initial TPS application and is under 14 years of age or over 65 years of age; and
- Applicants for Asylum and Withholding of Deportation or Removal.
The exemption for the fee will remain in place for:
- Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Document. This form is filed by nonimmigrant military members of the U.S. Armed Forces, noncitizen participating in NATO or Partnership for Peace Military Program under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA).
- Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status for noncitizen with Ambassador, Public Ministry, or Career Diplomatic or Consular Officer and their Immediate Family and Attendant or Servant (A-1, A-2, and A-3), Designated Principal Resident Representative of a Foreign Government and Immediate Family and Attendant or Servant (G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, and G-5) or NATO nonimmigrants status (NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5, NATO-6, NATO-7, and NATO-8).
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization: for individuals granted asylum or entry as a refugee, non-citizens paroled as refugees, Special Immigrants; Victims of Severe Form of Trafficking in Persons (T-1); Victim of Qualifying Criminal Activity (U-1); dependents of Certain foreign national organizations and NATO; VAWA Self-Petitioner principal; An applicant who filed USCIS Form I-485 on or after July 30, 2007, and before the effective date of this rule, and paid the Form I-485 fee; Taiwanese dependents of Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office TECRO E-1 employee.
After the fee waiver becomes effective, the individuals must meet the following criteria to receive a fee waiver:
- Must have an annual household income at or below 125 percent of the FPG;
- Is seeking an immigration benefit that does not require an affidavit of support, or the applicant is not already a sponsored immigrant; and
- Is seeking an immigration benefit for which the immigrant is not subject to the public charge inadmissibility ground.
List of Fee Increases
Below is the comprehensive list of fee changes. Most fees have been increased, but there are some that have been decreased. The forms that have been decreased cannot be considered for fee waivers or are for work related visas in the United States. This appears to show that the administration is rewriting immigration law through regulatory changes to put emphasis on a merit based immigration system while imposing more burdens on the family and humanitarian immigration system.
Here’s the list of proposed fee increases as shown in the proposed regulations (Table 19: Proposed Fees by Immigration Benefit, pages 155 – 159.
|Form Number||Immigration Benefit Application||Current||Proposed Fee|
|I-90||Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card||$455||$415 (decrease)|
|I-102||Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival Departure Document||$445||$490|
|I-129||Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker||$460||N/A|
|I-129H1||I-129 H-1B – Named Beneficiaries||$460||$560|
|I-129H2A||I-129 H-2A – Named Beneficiaries||$460||$860|
|I-129H2B||I-129 H-2B – Named Beneficiaries||$460||$725|
|I-129L||Petition for L Nonimmigrant Worker||$460||$815|
|I-129O||Petition for O Nonimmigrant Worker||$460||$715|
|I-129CW, I- 129E&TN , and I- 129MISC||Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker; Application for Nonimmigrant Worker: E and TN Classification; and Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: H-3, P, Q, or R Classification.||$460||$705|
|I-129H2A||I-129 H-2A – Unnamed Beneficiaries||$460||$425 (decrease)|
|I-129H2B||I-129 H-2B – Unnamed Beneficiaries||$460||$395 (decrease)|
|I-129F||Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)||$535||$520 (decrease)|
|I-130||Petition for Alien Relative||$535||$555|
|I-131||Application for Travel Document||$575||$585|
|I-131||Travel Document for an individual age 16 or older||$135||$145|
|I-131||I-131 Refugee Travel Document for a child under the age of 16||$105||$115|
|I-131A||Application for Carrier Documentation||$575||$1,010|
|I-140||Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker||$700||$545 (decrease)|
|I-191||Application for Relief Under Former Section 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)||$930||$800 (decrease)|
|I-192||Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant||$585/ $930||$1,415|
|I-193||Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa||$585||$2,790|
|I-212||Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. After Deportation or Removal||$930||$1,040|
|I-290B||Notice of Appeal or Motion||$675||$705|
|I-360||Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant||$435||$455|
|I-485||Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status||$1,140/ $750||$1,120 (decrease)
fee will apply to those under 14 years.
|I-526||Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur||$3,675||$4,015|
|I-539||Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status||$370||$400|
|I-589||Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal||$0||$50|
|I-600/ 600A||Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition||$775||$810|
|I-600A/I- 600 Supp. 3||Request for Action on Approved Form I-600A/I- 600||N/A||$405|
|I-601||Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability||$930||$985|
|I-601A||Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver||$630||$960|
|I-612||Application for Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Under Section 212(e) of the INA, as Amended)||$930||$525 (decrease)|
|I-687||Application for Status as a Temporary Resident under Section 245A of the Immigration and Nationality Act||$1,130||$1,130|
|I-690||Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility||$715||$770|
|I-694||Notice of Appeal of Decision||$890||$725 (decrease)|
|I-698||Application to Adjust Status From Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of the INA)||$1,670||$1,615 (decrease)|
|I-751||Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence||$595||$760|
|I-765||Application for Employment Authorization||$410||$490|
|I-800/ 800A||Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country||$775||$810|
|I-800A Supp. 3||Request for Action on Approved Form I-800A||$385||$405|
|I-817||Application for Family Unity Benefits||$600||$590 (decrease)|
|I-821D||Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Renewal)||$0||$275|
|I-824||Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition||$465||$500|
|I-829||Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status||$3,750||$3,900|
|I-881||Application for Suspension of Deportation or Special Rule Cancellation of Removal||$285/ 570||$1,800|
|I-910||Application for Civil Surgeon Designation||$785||$650 (decrease)|
|I-924||Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program||$17,795||$17,795|
|I-924A||Annual Certification of Regional Center||$3,035||$4,470|
|I-929||Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant||$230||$1,515|
|I-941||Application for Entrepreneur Parole||$1,200||$1,200|
|N-300||Application to File Declaration of Intention||$270||$1,320|
|N-336||Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings||$700||$1,755|
|N-400||Application for Naturalization||$640/ $320||$1,170|
|N-470||Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes||$355||$1,600|
|N-565||Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document||$555||$545 (decrease)|
|N-600||Application for Certificate of Citizenship||$1,170||$1,015 (decrease)|
|N-600K||Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate Under Section 322||$1,170||$960 (decrease)|
|USCIS Immigrant Fee||$220||$200 (decrease)|
|G-1041||Genealogy Index Search Request||$65||$240|
|G-1041A||Genealogy Records Request||$65||$385|
|N/A||Biometric Services||$85||$30 (decrease)|
My best recommendation is to get your matter prepared before the fee increase becomes effective. Unless litigation puts a hold on implementation, many immigration benefits will become more expensive to obtain.
NOTE: As always this is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Consult an immigration attorney, like myself, for advice regarding your particular circumstances.