USCIS Issues Final Rule to Adjust Certain Immigration and Naturalization Fees


The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a final rule to adjust specific fees for immigration and naturalization benefit applications, marking the first update since 2016. This measure aims to enable USCIS to recover its operational costs more fully and streamline the processing of new applications.

The comprehensive fee review, required by law, concluded that the current program needs to be revised to cover the agency’s total operational costs, including necessary expansions, government pay increases, and additional staffing requirements.

USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou emphasized that this update addresses years of insufficient funding and will enable improvements in customer service, reduction of delays, implementation of new processes and programs, and maintenance of equity and integrity in service.

The final rule, a result of over 5,400 public comments, includes several significant updates, such as reducing the required amount of annual cost recovery by nearly $730 million, expanding fee waivers, and providing special discounts.

Among the significant changes, discounts for adjustment of status applicants, exemptions for vulnerable groups, and an expansion of eligibility for fee reductions are highlighted.

Key points

  1. USCIS updates fees to meet the agency’s needs better. The fee review considers various factors, including improved efficiency and additional staffing requirements.
  2. Fee waivers are expanded for specific groups, such as special immigrant juveniles, victims of human trafficking, crime, and domestic violence, members of the U.S. military, and Afghan allies.
  3. Special discounts are offered for nonprofit organizations and small business employers.
  4. Fee reductions are implemented for specific applications, such as the Employment Authorization Document and naturalization.
  5. Fee increases are limited and based on the Consumer Price Index since 2016.
  6. USCIS encourages stakeholders to visit its website’s Frequently Asked Questions page for a complete list of revised forms and new fees.

The new fees will take effect on April 1, 2024, with a grace period until June 3, 2024, to accept previous editions of certain forms. However, some new forms will not have a grace period. Despite these updates, USCIS notes that congressional appropriations are needed to manage the increase in case volume sustainably, especially related to individuals crossing the border.