USCIS Fee Increases Blocked by Preliminary Injunction

Written by: Ashik Jahan, Esq.

USCIS fee increases were scheduled to go into effect on October 2, 2020. However, a federal judge granted a motion for a preliminary injunction blocking the fee increase. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White wrote that he based his injunction on several factors. He said the Trump administration did not adequately follow procedures for making new rules, including failing to consider the impact of the higher fees on low-income applicants. The preliminary injunction means that USCIS cannot raise fees as they had planned. Instead, the government will seek to obtain a stay of the injunction from the 9th Circuit, but there is no way to know how long that may take or what the result may be.

If allowed, the rule would increase fees on businesses, new citizens, international students needing work authorization, and others. For example, H-1B petitions would be increased by 21% (from $460 to $555) and L visa petitions by 75% (from $460 to $805). The rule would also increase the cost of petitions by more than 50% for O, TN, E, P, Q, and R visas. Also, the cost for applying to become a naturalized citizen would increase from $640 to $1,170. The changes would also have added a $50 fee for asylum applications, the first time ever the U.S. would have charged such a fee to an asylum seeker.

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