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USCIS published a proposed rule that outlined a new fee schedule for filing of different petitions. There are significant changes to employment-based petitions in particular. Alongside steep increases in fees, USCIS is also indirectly indicating filing should be done online.
One of these changes is the steep increase in the H-1B cap lottery registration fee. When companies want to enroll a foreign national into the H-1B visa lottery in March, they must do so online. As it currently stands, the fee is $10. However, it is proposed to be increased to $215 without much explanation on USCIS’s part. Another noteworthy fee that is increasing is for an individual Adjustment of Status filing fee. It currently stands at $1,225 for both a filing and biometric fee. However, it is proposed to change to $2,820 for one single Adjustment of Status application. This application is one of the steps towards legal permanent residency of a foreign national and would be multiplied by the number of family members applying for Adjustment of Status.
The full proposed rule and fee schedule can be found here. As can be seen by the full schedule, there is push towards online filing due to proposed lower filing fees for online versus paper filing. In a perfect world, this could be a good move for USCIS. However, there’s a reason for a lot of worry about what exactly happens after clicking a ‘Submit’ button. The technological infrastructure at USCIS is not up to par with the intricacies and sheer amount of submitted petitions for things to go smoothly.
USCIS has scheduled a listening session tomorrow to present information and take some public comment. Subsequently, USCIS holds written public comment open for 60 days after the publishing of the proposed rule. This means public comment ends on Monday March 6, 2023. After the closing of public comment, a final rule can be published. It will not go into effect until 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. Any written comments can be submitted at regulations.gov.