We knew that the fee increase was coming – they told us about it in May – but we didn’t know when. And now we know. On October 24th, the Federal Register (think of it as the government’s news agency), explained that the current fees collected do not cover the costs of the services that USCIS currently provides. The average application price will increase by 21%, though some applications will see an increase of nearly 100%.

Below is the charge of new fees, starting December 23, 2016. I’ve highlighted some of the applications that we see most often in our office. When reading through this chart, please don’t forget to add in the $85 biometrics fee that goes along with most of these applications (that’s not included in the calculation here).

The increase for the waivers – going from $585 to $930 – is most significant for most of the clients we work with. Certainly, I understand the amount of work that goes into preparing a waiver application and the amount of work that must go into adjudicating a waiver. Still, though, I fear that this will only act as a deterrent for families who would otherwise seek immigration relief, but for the money required to “do the right thing.”

Form #  Form Title Current Fee Effective 12/23/2016 % Change
G-1041 Genealogy Index Search Request $20 $65 225%
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request
(Copy from Microfilm)
$20 $65 225%
G-1041A Genealogy Records Request
(Copy from Textual Record)
$35 $65 86%
I-90 Application to Replace
Permanent Resident Card
$365 $455 25%
I-102 Application for Replacement or
Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival /
Departure Document
$330 $445 35%
I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker $325 $460 42%
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) $340 $535 57%
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative $420 $535 27%
Application for Travel Document $360 $575 60%
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $580 $700 21%
I-290B Notice of Appeal or Motion $630 $675 7%
I-360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er)
or Special Immigrant
$405 $435 7%
I-485 Application to Register Permanent
Residence or Adjust Status
$985 $1,140 16%
I-526 Immigrant Petition by
Alien Entrepreneur
$1,500 $3,675 145%
I-539 Application to Extend or
Change Nonimmigrant Status
$290 $370 28%
Orphan Petitions $720 $775 8%
I-687 Application for Status as a
Temporary Resident under
Section 245A of the INA
$1,130 $1,130 0%
I-690 Application for Waiver of Grounds
of Inadmissibility
$200 $715 258%
I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision $755 $890 18%
I-698 Application to Adjust Status
From Temporary to Permanent
Resident Under Section 245A
of the INA
$1,020 $1,670 64%
I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions
on Residence
$505 $595 18%
I-765 Application for
Employment Authorization
$380 $410 8%
I-800A Supp. 3 Request for Action on Approved
Form I-800A
$360 $385 7%
I-817 Application for Family Unity Benefits $435 $600 38%
I-824 Application for Action on an
Approved Application or Petition
$405 $465 15%
I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to
Remove Conditions
$3,750 $3,750 0%
I-910 Application for Civil
Surgeon Designation
$615 $785 28%
I-924 Application for Regional
Center Designation Under
the Immigrant Investor Program
$6,230 $17,795 186%
I-924A Annual Certification of
Regional Center
$0 $3,035 N/A
I-929 Petition for Qualifying Family
Member of a U- 1 Nonimmigrant
$215 $230 7%
N-300 Application to File Declaration
of Intention
$250 $270 8%
N-336 Request for Hearing on a Decision
in Naturalization Proceedings
$650 $700 8%
N-400 Application for Naturalization $595 $640 8%
N-470 Application to Preserve Residence
for Naturalization Purposes
$330 $355 8%
N-565 Application for Replacement
Naturalization or Citizenship
$345 $555 61%
Application for Certificate
of Citizenship
$600 $1,170 95%
Waiver Forms $585 $930 59%
  USCIS Immigrant Fee $165 $220 33%
  Biometric Services $85 $85 0%

The fee increase will go into effect on December 23, 2016, which means that applications mailed or postmarked on or after December 23rd must include the new fee or a fee waiver, which is requested using Form I-912.

With such a significant fee increase, you may be wondering what kind of cases are eligible for a fee waiver.

This list isn’t all-inclusive, but it includes the following:

  • EOIR-29 – Notice of Appeal of a Decision of a USICS Officer
  • I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
  • I-290B – Notice of Appeal or Motion, only if the underlying application was fee exempt or the filing fee was waived or was eligible for a fee waiver
  • I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status if applying based as an Afghan or Iraqi Interpreter or National employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government; under the Cuban Adjustment Act, the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, “Registry” or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.
  • I-601 – Waiver for Grounds of Inadmissibility in extremely limited circumstances
  • I-751 – Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
  • I-765 – Application for Employment Authorization, unless you’re applying for DACA under the category (c)(33)
  • N-400 – Application for Naturalization

And also any application related to –

  • T or U nonimmigrants (I-192, I-485, I-601)
  • VAWA self-petitioners (I-485, I-765, I-601, I-212)
  • Temporary Protected Status (I-131, I-821, I-601)

I advise anyone who is thinking about filing applications with USCIS to move quickly, but efficiently and smartly, to file before the fee increase date. Speak with an experienced immigration attorney to makes sure you qualify for the type of case you want to file because even if you file at the lower rate, it would still be wasted money if you filed and didn’t qualify to begin with.

– Tracie