For the first time since 2016, USCIS is increasing its fees for several applications and petitions. This change, effective April 1, 2024, is significant to help the agency recover more of its operating costs and expedite the processing of new applications.

These fee hikes will impact business immigration applicants and those applying for the H-1B visa lottery. If you have questions about these changes, contact American Immigration Law Group today.

Which Fees Are Increasing, and by How Much?

The new fee schedule affects many immigration and naturalization applications, such as:

H-1B Cap Registration

The H-1B cap registration fee will increase significantly from $10 to $215 per registration. However, the fee of $10 remains in effect for the rest of the 2025 fiscal year cap registration, which ends on March 2022, 2024.

The fee for an H-1B petition will increase from $460 to $780, a jump of 26%.

I-485 Applications for Permanent Residency

Those seeking a green card or permanent residency will see an 18% fee increase to apply as the new fee rises from $1225 to $1440.

Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Family Member)

Many immigrants use this form to reunite with their family members in the U.S. or receive a marriage green card. The fee for I-130 will increase from $535 to $625 for online filing and $675 for online filing.

The fee for Form I-129F (petition for an alien fiancé(e)) will also change to $675, up from $535.

Asylum Programs for Employment-Based Visas

The fees for prospective nonimmigrant workers, alien workers seeking to immigrate, and those seeking naturalization will also increase significantly.

A full list of the new fee schedule can be found on the USCIS website.

Why Is USCIS Raising Fees?

USCIS explains its reasoning for raising fees in a recent press release. Following a comprehensive fee review mandated by law, USCIS determined the current fees don’t cover the full spectrum of its operations and other essential expenses. All the changes in the final rule are the same or lower than those initially proposed.

Following the fee increase, the agency aims to use the increased revenue to improve processing times and reduce backlogs. However, they still emphasize the need for additional congressional funding to handle rising caseloads.

When Do the New Fees Take Effect?

The new fee schedule is effective April 1, 2024, but USCIS is offering a grace period in which it will accept both previous and new versions of some forms if they are submitted with the correct applicable fee. The grace period runs from April 1 to June 3.

Not all forms are included in the grace period because they are being revised with a new fee. Filers should click the links below to access a preview version of each new form edition before the April 1, 2024, effective date:

USCIS will use the postmark date of a filing to determine which form version and fees are correct but will use the receipt date for regulatory or statutory filing deadlines.

Can I Get a Fee Waiver or Discount?

The final rule implements a standard $50 discount for online filers. However, there are other waivers and discounts you could be eligible for. The following groups are exempt from fees:

  • Special immigrant juveniles
  • Victims of human trafficking, crime, and domestic violence
  • S. military service members
  • Families pursuing international adoption

Nonprofit organizations and small business employers can also receive a special discount. Your immigration attorney can help you explore the fee reductions or exemptions you could qualify for.

Action Steps for Applicants

Those preparing to apply for immigration should review the USCIS website and familiarize themselves with the new fees and revised forms.

If you are close to meeting the eligibility requirements for your application, consider submitting before April 1 to avoid the higher fees. If you miss the April 1st deadline but have already started preparing your application, take advantage of the grace period (April 1 – June 3) to file it with the correct fees, even if you use the older form version.

Given the no grace period for new forms for certain petitions (like Form I-129 and Form I-140), start gathering all necessary documentation as soon as possible. This ensures that when it’s time to file, you can do so without delay, using the correct form edition and fee.

Finally, you should stay up to date with the latest USCIS news by regularly checking the website and following the agency on social media. USCIS may provide further helpful information as the implementation date approaches.

Questions about New USCIS Fees? Call American Immigration Law Group

These changes to USCIS fees might seem overwhelming and can get complex in unique situations. If you’re worried about filing fees being an obstacle to your immigration journey, call American Immigration Law Group. We can answer your questions, explain your options, and guide you on the best course of action.

Call 314-416-8000 today or contact us to discuss how we can help.