US Application Fee Increases Subject to Legal Challenge

US visa application fees are set to increase from October 2, 2020.

While the DHS has justified the move as a response to increased costs and budgetary shortfall, campaign groups have called out the increases as creating an “unlawful barrier” on those seeking eligible immigration benefits.

US work visa costs, for example, are set to rise between 21% to 75%, affecting both employers and individual applicants.

In response to the proposals, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and Sidley Austin law firm have jointly launched a legal challenge, seeking an “immediate injunction” of the proposed non-immigration visa fee increases.

US visa fee increases

Application category

Change in fee       

Fee as of October 2, 2020

L1 visa for Intra-Company Transfers:

75% increase

$815

H1B visa for specialty workers:

22% increase

$555

O1 visa for extraordinary ability:

53% increase

$705

Naturalization:

83% increase

$1,160

I-140 Employment Based Green Card:

21% decrease

$555

I-765 employment authorisation:

1% decrease

$1130

Changes to premium processing

An emergency Bill was approved by the US House of Representatives on August 21, 2020 to increase premium processing fees for visa applications.

Under the proposed Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, premium processing will increase from $1,440 to $2,500 and extend the availability of the service to more visa categories.

USCIS continues to face significant financial difficulties, following an extended period of closure and severely restricted application processing due to the pandemic crisis.

The Bill has been designed to provide emergency funding to USCIS and halt imminent furloughs of 70% of staff due to lack of funds.

The increased fees collected by USCIS may be used to address backlogs and adjudication delays for other applicants.

US immigration advice

We continue to monitor progress of the Bill and the legal challenge to the fee increases, and will update with changes impacting users of US immigration services.

Please contact our US immigration specialists for the latest advice for your specific circumstances.

This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.

Last updated: August 26, 2020