70% Increase in USCIS Filing Fees for H-1B, L, and O Applications on April 1, 2024

On January 30, 2024, USCIS announced that most immigration application filing fees will  increase on April 1, 2024. The increases are significant in amount and unprecedented in their reach,  leaving a strong possibility that they will be challenged in court, before they go into effect.  Employers filing I-129 Petitions to sponsor H-1B, L, and O workers will be hit especially hard, by a double whammy of increases in Premium Processing from $2500 to $2805 (going into effect on 2/26) and a mandatory $600 Asylum Program fee, (going into effect on 4/1), wmust be submitted with every I-129 form regardless of how many I-129s an employer has submitted for the same employee.

President of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association,  Farshad Owji stated, “It has been clear for some time that the USCIS fee-funded model is no longer sustainable. For years, Congress has failed to provide the resources needed to address both the increasing humanitarian workload and the efforts to reduce backlogs. Under the current user-funded model, the agency is left with no sustainable options, leading to placing larger burdens on businesses, which will hamper them as they compete for top talent.”

The chart below demonstrates the  increase in the cost of sponsoring an employee for a temporary, employment- based status. 

USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou, said  “For the first time in over seven years, USCIS is updating our fees to better meet the needs of our agency, enabling us to provide more timely decisions to those we serve. Despite years of inadequate funding, the USCIS workforce has made great strides in customer service, backlog reduction, implementing new processes and programs, and upholding fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve.”

Once employers get over the shock of the increase in costs, there are several other key takeaways from the new rule to keep in mind:

    • The H-1B Lottery Registration fee for March 2024 will remain at $10 per entry. The new $215 fee will not be required until the 2025 Lottery.
    • New I-129 and other forms will be issued in conunction with the fee increases. There will be a grace period until June 3, 2024 for submission of the old forms.
    • There are small filing fee discounts for doing electronic applications for the form types where electronic filing is avaiable,
    • The Premium Processing timeline is changed from 15 calendar days to 15 business days.

For more information on  Visa Fee increases, please contact Valentine Brown or the Duane Morris attorney with whom you usually work.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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