The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new fee rule for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that goes into effect on October 2, 2020. This new rule changes the cost of several immigration processes. Among these changes, many applications will cost more money and fee waivers will be harder to get.
Not all fees have changed under this new rule. In fact, some fees will cost slightly less than they did before. Additionally, those who file their applications online will receive a $10 discount where online filing is available.
However, most fees will increase. Any application, petition, or request that is postmarked on, or after, October 2, 2020 must follow this new fee rule. The most current information will be available at USCIS.gov.
USCIS Fee Increases
In addition to higher fees, some forms that did not require a fee will now include one. For example, there will be a $50 fee to file for asylum.
Increases under the new rule include the filing fee for Form N-400 (Application for Naturalization) and Form N-336 (Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings). Form N-400 will cost upward of $1100, and Form N-336 will increase to $1725.
For a full list of fee changes, please see this article from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC).
Additional Separate Fees
Under the new fee rule, those applying for lawful permanent residence will also have to pay for their work and travel permits.
Before, there was only one fee to file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence) with Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) and Form I-131 (Application for Travel Document).
In October 2020, the application fee will be “unbundled” and applicants will need to pay for Form I-765 ($550) and Form I-131 ($590) in addition to Form I-485 ($1,130).
Fee Waiver Changes
The new rule limits fee waivers in two ways.
First, USCIS will make the qualifications for a fee waiver much more narrow. Many people who would have been able to get a fee waiver before will no longer qualify.
Second, some applications no longer allow fee waiver requests. For example, there will no longer be fee waivers for naturalization, adjustment of status, green card replacement and renewals, and employment authorization.
Fee waivers will still be available for:
- VAWA self-petitioners
- battered spouses of certain nonimmigrants
- U visa applicants (U nonimmigrant status)
- T visa applicants
- TPS applicants
- certain Special Immigrants
Talk to your Immigration Attorney
Before you file any application with Immigration, talk to a good immigration attorney. They may suggest that you file sooner to avoid paying more fees. They also might suggest you wait for a different application. Either way, your immigration attorney can help you find the most up-to-date information and help you make the best decision for your case.
“USCIS Fee Schedule Changes” by Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. at cliniclegal.org
“USCIS Fee Increases Effective October 2, 2020” by Immigrant Legal Resource Center at ilrc.org