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3 of the biggest changes to immigration fees

The dramatic changes to immigration fees proposed many months ago are essentially a reality. These fee increases affect dozens of different immigration petitions, and many are now hundreds of dollars more expensive than before. Overall, immigration fees jumped by an average of 20%.

In this blog post, we highlight three of the most notable changes. Note that all of the changes discussed below are effective as of Oct. 2, 2020.

Applying for citizenship

Many people who come to the United States do so with hopes of one day becoming a U.S. citizen. Under these new rules, doing so is more costly.

The N-400 application for naturalization previously included a fee of $640. With these changes, the fee increases to $1,170 for a paper filing (or $1,160 if you file online). In both cases, that is a jump of more than 80% and, according to USA Today, the second-largest increase to the naturalization petition fee in U.S. history.

Getting a green card

On the surface, this appears to be a change for the better. The I-485 fee petition (to adjust status or register permanent residence) actually goes down by $10, falling to $1,130. However, that does not tell the whole story.

In the past, when an applicant filed an I-485, they could apply for work permit and travel authorization documents at the same time, without paying any additional fees. That is no longer the case. As of Oct. 2, 2020, an applicant has to pay the form I-765 and form I-131 fees on top of the regular naturalization application fee. This puts the total cost at $2,270 – nearly double what it had been.

In addition, the I-485 fee for an applicant under the age of 14 rises to $1,130. That is a significant hike from the previous cost of $750.

A litany of work visas

Workers and businesses have not been spared under these new rules. As compiled here by Forbes, a litany of employment-related visas are seeing their fees increase, including:

  • H-1B
  • H-2B
  • H-2A
  • H-3
  • L
  • O
  • TN
  • E
  • P
  • Q
  • R

Most of the associated fees for these visa petitions are increasing by more than 50%.

Moving forward

The U.S. immigration system has never been cheap. Fees have regularly been a reality. The increasing costs we see here are simply another hurdle over which you must jump.

By exploring all of your options and charting a realistic path forward, you can continue to overcome whatever challenges exist.