Worldwide ERC is submitting a comment letter outlining our concerns about the large increases and has suggested changes, and we encourage our members to use the letter as the basis of their own letter.
On 3 January, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a proposed rule to increase its fees for naturalization and immigration services. The agency is proposing to significantly increase what it charges for several filing fees as well as adding new fees. Worldwide ERC® is submitting a comment letter outlining our concerns about the large increases and has suggested changes, and we encourage our members to use the letter as the basis of their own letter.
Under the proposed rule, H-1B registrations would increase significantly from $10 to $215 for a 2,050% increase, with the H-1B petition fee increasing from $460 to $780 for a still sizeable 70% increase. For intracompany transfers under the L-1, petitions would increase from $460 to $1,385 for a 201% increase. When combined with the new $600 asylum program fee per petition, the H-1B petition fee increases by 111% and the L-1 petition fee by 331%.
USCIS operates under a fee-for-service funding model in which 96% of the USCIS budget comes from the collection of the fees for the filing of petitions, adjudicating applications, and benefit-related services. USCIS is authorized to update its fees every two years but has not done so since 2016. However, we are concerned with the proposed level of the increases, especially for medium and small businesses, for certain filings and services.
Worldwide ERC is recommending that USCIS conduct a further review of any fee in which the increase is greater than 50% and to phase in any fee that ultimately does increase by more than 50%. Worldwide ERC is strongly encouraging USCIS to seek congressional appropriations to cover general operating costs. We also support allowing USCIS to focus on ensuring adequate staffing to meet performance obligations such as targeted processing times and address backlogs.
To submit a comment letter on the proposed rule, please go to the comment page on Regulations.gov. Comments are due by midnight ET on Monday, 13 March.