By Ur Jaddou, Counsel and former USCIS Chief Counsel and
Peter Asaad, Partner and former AILA President for DC, MD and VA

Highlights at a Glance:

  • L-1 government filing fee = $805 (up 75%; up $345 from $460)
  • O-1 government filing fee = $705 (up 53%; up $245 from $460)
  • H-1B government filing fee = $555 (up 21%; up $90 from $460)
  • I-140 government filing fee = $555 (down 21%; down $90 from $700)
  • I-485 government filing fee = $1,130 (down 1%; down $10 from $1,140)
  • I-485 government filing fee for children 14 and over = $1,130 (up 51%; up $380 from $750)
  • Biometric Fee (Non-DACA) = $30 (down 65%; down $30 from $85)

A new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fee schedule will increase U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fees for many case types, according to a final rulemaking to be published in the Federal Register and set to take effect on October 2, 2020. This final rule adjusts certain immigration and naturalization benefit request fees charged by USCIS. It also removes certain fee exemptions, changes fee waiver requirements, alters premium processing time limits, and modifies intercountry adoption processing.

Unlike most government agencies, USCIS is mostly fee funded. USCIS last updated its fee structure in December 2016 by a weighted average increase of 21%. Despite that fee increase, and due to reported mismanagement of its fees, USCIS would be underfunded by about $1 billion per year under its current fee structure. Accordingly, DHS is adjusting USCIS fees by a weighted average increase of 20% to help recover its operational costs.

In a significant change to nonimmigrant petition case preparation and processing, DHS is proposing to separate the standard Form I-129 nonimmigrant worker petition into different forms for each visa classification, and to impose different fees for each classification. Employers must file a visa-specific I-129 form with its new accompanying fee under the final rule.

Regarding Premium Processing, petitioners may wait up to four or more days longer for USCIS to take an adjudicative action on a petition for which a petitioner has requested premium processing service. Specifically, DHS is adjusting the timeframe for adjudicative action on a petition for which Premium Processing service has been requested from 15 calendar days to 15 business days.

Fee Changes for Employment-Based Filings and Related Applications

Changes to common employment-based and related application types are contained in the table below. For a full list of all form fees, see the public inspection document of the final rule. 

To learn more about the issues raised by this client bulletin, please contact Peter F. Asaad at

This publication is distributed with the understanding that the author, publisher and distributor of this publication and/or any linked publication are not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or opinions on specific facts or matters and, accordingly, assume no liability whatsoever in connection with its use. Pursuant to applicable rules of professional conduct, portions of this publication may constitute Attorney Advertising.

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