ICYMI: Changes to Immigration-Related Fees, Forms, and Premium Processing

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Effective October 2, 2020 employers and immigrant workers can expect changes when filing employment-based petitions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Employers will see higher government filing fees, different versions of forms, and changes to the premium processing program.

New Fees

On average, fees will increase approximately 20% for immigration filings. To view all the fee changes, click here for the Final Rule in the Federal Register.

  • H-1B specialty occupation petition filing fee will increase from $460 to $555 (21% increase)
  • L-1A and L-1B intracompany transfer petition filing fee will increase from $460 to $805 (75% increase)
  • I-140 immigrant petition filing fee will decrease from $700 to $555 (21% decrease)
  • I-765 application for employment authorization (non-DACA) will increase from $410 to $550 (34% increase)

Applications postmarked after October 2, 2020 will be subject to the increased fees.

NOTE – two lawsuits have been filed against the final USCIS fee rule.  One in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and another in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  It is possible that the fees could be enjoined.

Premium Processing Changes

While the premium processing fee will not change (currently $1,440), the government is giving itself more time to review the case.  The timeframe will change from 15 calendar days to 15 business days.   That means “business days” will mean days on which the federal government is open for business.

New Forms

Effective October 2, 2020, USCIS has indicated that, for petitions and applications postmarked on or after October 2, 2020, it will only accept the NEW version of the form.  New employment-based forms include those filed for petitions filed under the E, H-1B, L and TN classifications.  The “preview” the new Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker click here. Note that the Form I-129 is being separated into several new forms and, as of less than one week before the new forms must be submitted, USCIS has not yet posted the revised forms. What is available now is a “preview” only.  Also, the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization is being revised too. Click here to view the “preview” Form I-765.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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