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In the landscape of U.S. immigration, policy changes and regulations play a pivotal role in shaping the experiences of individuals and businesses seeking employment-based immigration. One of the recent developments that has garnered attention is the new fee regulation introduced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

New USCIS Fee Regulation on Employment-Based Immigration

In this blog, I will explore the implications and impact of the new USCIS fee regulation on employment-based immigration.

Understanding the USCIS Fee Regulation:

In August 2020, USCIS implemented a rule that adjusted fees for various immigration and naturalization benefits. The fee regulation marked the first time in several years that USCIS updated its fee structure to better align with the cost of processing applications and petitions.

Fee Adjustments for Employment-Based Immigration:

The fee regulation affected several aspects of employment-based immigration, including H-1B visas for skilled workers, L-1 visas for intracompany transferees, employment-based green cards, and more. Employers and foreign workers navigating the employment-based immigration process found themselves facing adjusted fees, which had both immediate and long-term implications.

Impact on H-1B Visa Petitions:

The H-1B visa program, which allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations, experienced notable fee changes. The regulation increased the base filing fee, the anti-fraud fee, and the fee for the H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement. For employers sponsoring foreign professionals, these adjustments represented increased costs in securing and maintaining a skilled workforce, the implications of which were felt globally. Due to these changes, sponsoring a foreign professional became an even more considered decision than it was before. 

Changes to Premium Processing Fees:

Premium processing, a service that expedites the adjudication of certain employment-based petitions, also saw fee adjustments. While the fee increase promised to fund system improvements and operational enhancements, it underscored the financial considerations for employers and individuals seeking faster processing times for their immigration applications.

Increasing EB-5 Visa Fees:

USCIS recently confirmed that as of April 1, 2024, significant fee increases to a variety of immigration applications will take effect. The fee for the EB-5 Forms I-526 and I-526E (which form part of the initial application in the EB-5 green card process), is currently $3,675, but will increase to $11,160. Then, the fee for Form I-829 to remove conditions on residence will increase from $3,835 to $9,525.  

Employment-Based Green Cards and Adjustment of Status:

The fee regulation affected employment-based green card applications, impacting both employers sponsoring foreign workers and individuals seeking permanent residency. The adjustments in fees for Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) and Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) added a layer of financial planning for those navigating the path to permanent residency.

Implications for Employers and Individuals

USCIS have stated that the new fees are essential to provide better processing time and customer service for people using their services.

Financial Planning and Budgeting: 

The fee adjustments necessitate careful financial planning for employers and individuals alike. Employers sponsoring foreign workers must factor in these increased costs when budgeting for talent acquisition and retention. Similarly, individuals seeking employment-based immigration must be aware of the adjusted fees to plan their finances accordingly. 

Impact on Small and Medium-Sized Businesses:

Small and medium-sized businesses (who often operate with smaller budgets), may feel a more significant impact from the fee regulation. The increased costs associated with employment-based immigration could pose challenges for these businesses, potentially influencing hiring decisions and workforce planning.

Consideration of Alternative Immigration Avenues:

The fee regulation prompts employers and individuals to explore alternative immigration avenues that may offer cost-effective solutions. This could include evaluating visa categories with lower fees or considering strategic immigration planning to minimize financial burdens.

Potential for Increased Processing Times:

As individuals and employers grapple with the adjusted fees, there is the potential for increased demand on USCIS services. This surge in applications may lead to longer processing times, impacting the timelines for immigration-related decisions. It becomes crucial for stakeholders to factor in potential delays when planning for workforce needs or personal immigration timelines.

The Changes are here to stay

The new USCIS fee regulation has undeniably introduced changes that reverberate across the landscape of employment-based immigration. As businesses and individuals navigate these adjustments, strategic planning and a comprehensive understanding of the evolving immigration landscape become imperative. While the fee increases do pose challenges, they also underscore the need for flexibility, foresight, and an informed approach to employment-based immigration in the United States. As stakeholders adapt to these changes, perspective employees must keep an eye on any further developments and seek professional guidance when navigating their U.S. immigration journeys.

If you’re interested in obtaining residency in the USA or would like to discuss anything you’ve read in this blog in more detail, please e-mail me directly at


USCIS have expanded the threshold for fee reductions for naturalization applications after Apr. 1, 2024. Prior to Apr. 1, 2024, if an applicant’s documented annual household income is greater than 150% but not more than 200% of the FPG at the time of filing, they may be eligible for a reduced filing fee. After the Final Rule goes into effect, eligibility for the reduced fee will expand to applicants with a household income at or below 400% of the FPG. Finally, a new Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, will incorporate a request for a reduced fee. USCIS intends to eliminate Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee.

The final USCISfee rule codifies existing fee waiver eligibility for low-income and vulnerable populations and expands fee exemptions for certain humanitarian and other beneficiaries, and the reduced fee option for certain individuals who apply for naturalization.

The USICS fee increase does not increase processing times. The actual effects of the USCIS fee will depend on a variety of factors.

The new fees are set to increase from April 1, 2024.