Recent USCIS Announcements: Premium Processing Expansion and Proposed Rule on Fee Increases
Premium Processing Expansion for EB-1 and EB-2 NIWs
On January 12, 2023, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the final phase of the previously announced Premium Processing Expansion would take effect starting January 30.
Unlike previous phases of the expansion, this phase applies to new/initial petitions in addition to all previously filed Form I-140 Immigrant Petitions under the EB-1C (multinational executive and manager) classification as well as the EB-2 National Interest Waiver classification.
Under this final phase starting January 30, USCIS will accept premium processing upgrades for any currently pending and initial EB-1 multinational executive and manager petitions and EB-2 National Interest Waiver petitions.
Importantly, USCIS stated that it is still working toward premium processing availability for F-1 students seeking Optional Practical Training and STEM Optional Practical Training, aiming to roll out this phase of expansion in March and April. Additionally, USCIS indicated it is planning to expand premium processing availability for certain student and exchange visitors with pending Forms I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, aiming to roll out this phase of expansion in May and June.
USCIS Fee Increase Proposed Rule
On January 4, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a new rule in the Federal Register that would significantly increase many immigration filing fees. The fee increase would impact most forms, making it substantially more expensive to request both employment-based and family-based immigration benefits. Notable fee increases are:
- Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker in H-1 Classification fees will increase from $460 to $780
- Form I-129, Petition for L Nonimmigrant Worker fees will increase from $460 to $1,385
- Form I-129, Petition for O Nonimmigrant Worker fees will increase from $460 to $1,055
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status will increase from $1,225 to $1,540
- Form I-485 with Form I-131, Application for Travel Authorization fees will increase from $1,225 to $2,170
- Form I-485 with Form I-765, Application for Work Authorization fees will increase from $1,225 to $2,190
- Form I-485 with both Form I-131 and I-765 fees will increase from $1,225 to $2,820
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative fees will increase from $535 to $710 (if filing online) or $820 (if filing by paper)
These proposed fee increases would go into effect during or after March 2023 once the 60-day public comment period concludes. However, there is a possibility that the finalized rule would not be implemented until later; DHS will announce the date the increases are set to go into effect when it publishes the final rule.
If you have questions about whether either of the above provisions may impact your current or future immigration case, please contact a member of our Immigration and Nationality team for assistance.