Significant Hikes in Immigration Service Fees Coming in April 2024
By: Harlan York
February 28, 2024

Effective April 1, 2024, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will implement significant increases in fees for most immigration applications. This is the first major adjustment to fees since 2016 and addresses the agency’s financial challenges. If you are thinking of filing any immigration application in 2024, you need to read this first, and – if you can – get the help of an immigration lawyer to file your paperwork before April 1, 2024.

Why is USCIS raising the fees?

Unlike most federal agencies, USCIS relies primarily on application fees rather than government funding. This means the agency needs to adjust fees periodically to cover its operating costs, including staffing, processing applications, and implementing new programs. The current fee structure, unchanged since 2016, has fallen short of covering these costs, especially considering factors like:

  • Increased workload: The volume of immigration applications has risen, putting a strain on USCIS resources.
  • Expanded programs: The agency has implemented new programs and services, requiring additional funding.
  • Congressional funding limitations: While USCIS seeks additional congressional funding to address the growing workload, relying solely on it is not a sustainable solution.

What to Expect: Timeline and Fee Changes

The new fees will be applied to all applications postmarked after April 1, 2024. Here’s a breakdown of some key changes:

Family-Based Applications:

  • Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative): 26% increase
    • Paper filing: $675 (previously $535)
    • Online filing: $625 (previously $535)
  • Form I-129F (Petition for Fiancé(e)): 26% increase ($675, previously $535)

Adjustment of Status (Form I-485):

  • 18% increase for the standalone application ($1,440, previously $1,225)

Employment-Based Applications and Work Visas: Most applications in this category will also see fee increases. For specific changes, it’s recommended to refer to the USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney.

Some fees are going down, and there will be some new exemptions:

The cost of paper filing an Application for Naturalization form, also known as an N-400, is going up by $35, but online filing fees will be going down by $15. There will also be exemptions for people below the poverty line.

If you’re considering filing an immigration application:

  • File before April 1, 2024 if you can: This allows you to benefit from the current, lower fees.
  • Consult an immigration attorney: An attorney can guide you through the application process, advise on potential fee changes applicable to your specific case, and help ensure your application is accurate and complete to avoid delays or rejections. There are some decreases in fees and exemptions coming up as well, and you may be in that category.
  • Stay informed: Regularly check the USCIS website for the latest updates on fees, forms, and processing times.

Additional Information and Resources:

About Harlan York

The first-ever attorney in New Jersey to win “Immigration Lawyer of the Year” from Best Lawyers, Harlan York is former immigration chair of the NJ State Bar Association and former co-chair for the NY State Bar Association CFLS Committee on Immigration. He currently serves on the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) National Practice Management Committee.

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Harlan York & Associates practices law in the areas of Immigration, Deportation Defense, Family Immigration, Corporate Immigration, Naturalization throughout Essex County – Hudson County – Morris County – Passaic County – Somerset County – Middlesex County – Bergen County – New Jersey -Immigration Lawyer – NJ Immigration Lawyer – Jersey City-Newark-Paterson Passaic Elizabeth Edison Woodbridge Toms River Hamilton Trenton Camden Clifton Passaic Garfield Wallington Cherry Hill East Orange Passaic Union City Bayonne Irvington Old Bridge Lakewood North Bergen Vineland Union Wayne Parsippany-Troy Hills New Brunswick Plainfield Bloomfield Perth Amboy East Brunswick West New York West Orange Hackensack Atlantic City Kearny Mount Laurel Montclair Essex Hoboken North Brunswick Belleville. In addition to serving clients in New York, Pennsylvania, the greater United States, and Internationally.

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