U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has finalized its rule increasing the fees for many USCIS forms and eliminating fee waiver eligibility for many individuals. The new rule goes into effect on October 2, 2020. These new and increased fees will only be necessary for applications not filed prior to October 2, 2020. Any application postmarked on or after October 2, 2020 must be accompanied by the new fee.
A chart of the new fees can be found starting on page 4 of the final rule. These new fees include, among others:
- A $50 fee for asylum applications;
- An increased $550 fee for non-DACA employment authorization applications, including initial employment authorization applications for asylum seekers who did not previously have to pay a fee;
- An increased $1170 fee for naturalization applications,
- An increased $1400 fee for the I192 form filed frequently with U visa and T visa petitions; and
- The elimination of fee waiver eligibility for most applications and petitions.
NIJC strongly encourages pro bono attorneys to ensure that any applications that can be filed prior to October 2, 2020 are filed prior to that date, so that clients are not forced to pay higher fees. For example, if a client is eligible to renew an EAD on October 1, 2020, the pro bono attorneys should work to ensure the client is able to file the renewal on that date to avoid the increased fee.
- For pro bono attorneys representing asylum seekers: The timeline for filing asylum applications involves other strategic decisions. Pro bono attorneys representing asylum clients who have not yet applied for asylum should consult with their NIJC point-of-contact as soon as possible to determine when to file the asylum application.
- For pro bono attorneys representing U visa petitioners: Please contact your NIJC point-of-contact as soon as possible if you do not anticipate being able to file your client’s petition prior to October 2, 2020.
Please note that this filing timeline is separate from the timeline related to the new employment authorization rules for asylum seekers. Pro bono attorneys representing asylum seekers who are eligible to file initial applications for employment authorization by August 21, 2020 should still file prior to that date, but at the very least, they must file before August 25, 2020, to avoid being subject to additional delays and eligibility requirements pursuant to the new rules. Similarly, attorneys with clients who have not yet filed for asylum and are past their one-year deadline must file their asylum application no later than August 24, 2020 in order to avoid being prohibited from employment authorization in the future. Attorneys with clients in this posture should contact their NIJC point-of-contact immediately. For more information about these new employment authorization rules for asylum seekers, please click here.