« This marks the end of these fee increases, at least for now, » said Otieno Ombok, an attorney at Jackson Lewis` White Plains, New York, office. « In addition, the form and policy changes contained in this fee increase rule will not be implemented. This includes a proposal to change the premium processing period from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, from two weeks to three weeks. The latter rule also encourages online filing by offering a $10 fee reduction for applicants who file online forms available electronically through USCIS. Online filing is the safest, most efficient, cost-effective, and convenient way to file a petition with USCIS. These final regulations will come into force on October 2, 2020. Any application, petition or application postmarked on or after that date must include payment of the exact new fees established by this Final Rule. Second, « the plaintiffs have discharged their burden of proving that the final settlement violates certain procedural and substantive requirements of the APA (Administrative Procedure Act), » Justice White said. This included « not disclosing data, relying on unexplained data, and ignoring data in records. » Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security argued that regardless of the cost of the fees paid by USCIS, people would seek immigration services: « DHS concludes that it believes that the price elasticity of immigration services is inelastic and that price increases will have no impact on the demand for these services. This applies to all immigration authorities concerned by this rule. Justice White held that the plaintiffs met the standard for enforcing their application for an injunction: « Plaintiffs must prove that (1) they are likely to succeed on the merits, (2) they are likely to suffer `irreparable harm` without exoneration, (3) the balance of actions tilts in their favor, and (4) an injunction is in the public interest. » He gave several reasons why the claimants were likely to prevail on the merits. A proposed rule to increase fees for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

In addition to the fee increase, premium processing, where employers pay more for expedited services, would have been extended by one week (from 15 calendar days to 15 business days). « This unfortunate decision leaves USCIS underfunded by millions of dollars every business day where the fee rule is mandatory. Unlike most government agencies, USCIS is funded by fees. As required by federal law, USCIS conducted a full biennial fee review and found that the current fee does not cover the cost of providing adjudication and naturalization services. This is nothing new or abnormal. In fact, the fee rule is two years behind schedule and represents a smaller percentage increase than the previous one. In a fee-funded agency like USCIS, this increase is necessary to continue long-term operations in a meaningful manner and to ensure cost recovery. This decision, which prevents USCIS from issuing its mandatory fee increase, is unprecedented and harmful to the American people. On January 29, 2021, USCIS issued a Federal Register notice of two injunctions issued in 2020 against the USCIS fee rule. The notice states that DHS is complying with the terms of the court orders and is not enforcing the regulatory changes set out in the final settlement.

USCIS will continue to accept fees in effect prior to 2/10/20 and will follow instructions in effect prior to 2/10/20 to decide fee waiver requests. Additional information: In 2020, DHS issued a regulation to increase filing fees, but a court blocked the fees from going into effect. The proposal, which is currently under consideration by the OMB, would repeal and replace the 2020 rule. USCIS funding issues and related personnel issues have contributed to delays in all visa categories, and USCIS officials have said they are prioritizing backlog reduction. On August 3, 2020, USCIS issued a final rule that significantly increases certain fees for immigration and naturalization applications. The rule, which will come into effect on October 2, 2020, also removes certain fee exemptions, changes fee exemption requirements, changes premium processing times and changes the processing of intercountry adoption. Any motion, petition or motion made on or after 2. October 2020, must be associated with the fees specified in the final rule. USCIS last updated its fee structure in December 2016 with a weighted average increase of 21%. Disclaimer: On September 29, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Immigration Legal Resource Center et al., v. Wolf, et al., 20-cv-05883-JWS, provisionally ordered DHS to implement or enforce part of the USCIS fee schedule and changes to certain other immigration requirements (PDF).

We will continue to keep you updated on the latest news. Keep in mind that it`s usually a good idea to submit your green card or citizenship application as soon as possible in case the fee increases. In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White for the Northern District of California said the plaintiffs raised « serious questions » about the validity of the fee increase because the former and current acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had been illegally appointed to their positions. He also said the rule would severely disadvantage low-income immigrants. The rule recognizes the increased costs associated with deciding on applications for immigration benefits, detecting and deterring immigration fraud, and thoroughly reviewing applicants, petitioners and beneficiaries. The rule also supports payroll, technology, and operations to fulfill USCIS` mission. The rule eliminates certain fee exemptions, includes new nominal fees for refugee claimants, and reduces fee waivers to cover the costs of the decision. As required by federal law, USCIS conducted a full biennial fee review and found that the current fee does not cover the cost of providing adjudication and naturalization services. DHS adjusts USCIS fees by a weighted average increase of 20% to cover operating costs.

Current fees would underfund the agency by about $1 billion per year. Under the rule, which was set to take effect Oct. 2, the citizenship fee would increase by more than 60 percent, from $725 to $1,170, and the cost of a green card would more than double from $1,760 to $2,830. At the time of publication of the final rule, Jon Baselice, executive director of immigration policy in the United States, was the company. The Chamber of Commerce said in an interview: « This final rule suffers from many critical flaws contained in the agency`s initial proposal, and given the concerns of many businesses regarding these issues, the battle over this rule is far from over. » It turned out to be the right thing to do. The controversial immigration fee increases proposed last summer by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not go into effect. On August 3, 2020, USCIS released the rule that would have adjusted the fee by an average of 20%. The agency proposed splitting Form I-129, which is used by employers to apply for migrant workers under the H-1B, H-2A, H-2B, L-1, O, and TN visa classifications, into different forms with different fees for each type of visa. Currently, a fee of $460 covers all temporary worker visa applications.

This means that the fee increase, as well as the form and policy changes related to the USCIS fee rule, cannot currently be implemented by USCIS.