October 1 Update: USCIS has confirmed that it will continue to accept petitions using current forms and currently set fees following the preliminary injunction of fee increases for immigration and naturalization benefit requests. In addition, it will adjudicate petitions, as well as fee waiver requests, using guidelines currently in place.
September 30 Update: A federal judge in California issued a ruling last night temporarily blocking the upcoming USCIS fee adjustments from going into effect on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020. The ruling is all-encompassing and includes any fees that were slated to increase or decrease for immigration and naturalization benefit requests. It also includes fees that were to become a required part of filing.
It’s important to note that this is part of a broader rule, which also encompasses premium processing guidelines and updated forms. This is a developing situation, and USCIS has not yet provided any guidance on the application of the injunction as it relates to the rule.
The initial July ruling has been challenged by many immigration advocacy groups, and it is unclear at this time if USCIS will challenge last night’s injunction; however, USCIS is expected to appeal the ruling. Global Immigration Associates (GIA) is closely monitoring the situation and will provide more information as it becomes available.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a final rule that will adjust the fees for certain immigration and naturalization benefit requests. DHS says these fee increases will help U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recover the costs of their services.
As a fee-funded agency, USCIS has warned it will face a budget shortfall.
This final rule is effective Oct. 2, 2020.
How Much Are Fees Increasing?
USCIS says it is adjusting fees by a weighted average increase of 20%, but the final rule provides a detailed breakdown of these increases. There is significant variance in fee changes across different petition types. For a complete list of fee changes, please view the final rule here.
Who Does This Impact?
This announcement takes effect for U.S. immigration petitions filed on or after Oct. 2, 2020.
To ensure no delays, the last day to file with current USCIS fees will be Sept. 30, 2020.
How Are Envoy Global and GIA Responding?
USCIS fees will be updated in the Envoy App to reflect the changes for petitions filed on or after Oct. 2, 2020.
What Do I Need To Do Next?
Clients with specific questions about the newly adjusted fees should reach out via the Envoy Communication Center.
Frequently Asked Questions About This Announcement
Q: Will cases currently in progress be impacted by the fee increases?
A: There is no impact on cases if they are filed before October 1, 2020. Global Immigration Associates, Envoy’s affiliated law firm, has advised that employers file their foreign national employees’ cases by September 30, 2020 to help ensure no delays.
Q: Can case processes be expedited in order to avoid fee increases?
A: To avoid incurring the increased filing fees, employers should work with their immigration legal team to complete and send cases out as soon as possible.
Q: What is the exact change in USCIS fees across different petition types?
A: There is significant variance in fee changes across different petition types. Full details on all USCIS petition fee changes can be found here. Clients are encouraged to post further questions in the Envoy Communication Center.
Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Sara Herbek, who is the Managing Partner at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.
Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.