Application Fee Increases and Fee Waiver Changes

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:

  1. Receipt of a means tested benefit (public benefits);
  2. Household income below 150% of the poverty guidelines; or
  3. 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:

  1. Household income below 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines; or
  2. 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.

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