Immigration Service Sharply Increases Filing Fees

The Immigration Service (USCIS) has announced a new fee schedule that sharply increases the filing fees for a wide variety of immigration applications and petitions. The final schedule, effective on July 30, 2007, largely implements the fee structure described in the proposed rule published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2007.

USCIS has stated that the current fees do not reflect the full costs of services that the Agency should provide and that these increased fees will result in a more efficient and effective organization. They state that without an immediate adjustment of the fee schedule, they cannot provide adequate capacity to process all applications and petitions in a timely and efficient manner. Specifically, they state that the increased fees will help to reduce application processing times by an average of 20 percent over the next two years and that the revised fees will eliminate USCIS’s dependency on revenue from interim benefits, temporary programs, and premium processing fees. USCIS states that this final rule will enable USCIS to meet national security and public safety concerns, prevent and detect fraud, and invest in comprehensive transformation efforts.

In addition to the increased fees, this rule merges fees for certain applications and petitions so applicants and petitioners will only have to pay a single fee. The rule also expands the classes of aliens that will be exempt from paying filing fees for certain immigration benefits and modifies the criteria for waiving the filing fee due to an individual’s inability to pay. Based on comments received by USCIS during the public comment period, this final rule changes fees for adjustment of status applications, and the fee waiver and exemptions eligibility criteria for several immigration benefits.

Here are a few examples of fee increases for some of the more frequently sought after benefits: Form I-140:

(Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) will increase from $195 to $475.

Form I- 485: (Application for Adjustment of Status) will increase from $325 to $1,010. However, this fee now includes the cost for an initial Advance Parole and Employment Authorization Document for the first year, and the biometric fee. (There are reduced fees for children under 14 years old and adults 79 years old or older.)

Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization will increase from $180 to $340 for subsequent years.

Form I-131: Application for Advance Parole documents will increase from $170 to $305.

Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) will increase from $190 to $320.

Form N-400: (Application for Naturalization) will increase from $330 to $675. This fee includes the biometric fee.

This rule is effective on July 30, 2007. Applications or petitions mailed, postmarked, or otherwise filed on or after July 30, 2007 must include the new fee.

A complete list of filing fees may be found on the USCIS website at

We are urging our clients who may be considering filing for immigration benefits of any kind to consider this rule in deciding when to proceed.