New Changes to USCIS’s Filing Fees

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced changes to the filing fees for immigration petitions. The adjustment of fees will take effect on October 2, 2020, and will vary depending on the petition. For foreign nationals participating in the EB-5 Immigration Program, most fees have increased, specifically for the I-526 and I-829 petitions.

USCIS is mostly funded by form and application fees, and the agency must make sure that the operating costs are being adequately met. Every two years, USCIS completes a review to determine whether its fees need to be adjusted. In a recent statement, the agency determined that a deficit of $1 billion could be expected this year if the filing fees are not adjusted. Two likely factors of this expected deficit are President Trump’s immigration ban and the reduced amount of travel in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. This has resulted in fewer immigration petitions being filed, leading to less funds for USCIS.

Here is a list of EB-5 petition filing fees and how they will be adjusted:

I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor

Current fee: $3,675

New fee: $4,010

Difference: $335

I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence

Current fee: $1,140

New fee: $1,130

Difference: -$10

Biometrics Services

Current fee: $85

New fee: $30

Difference: -$55

I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions

Current fee: $3,750

New fee: $3,900

Difference: $150

I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation under the Immigrant Investor Program

Current fee: $17,795

New fee: $17,795

Difference: $0

I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center

Current fee: $3,035

New fee: $4,465

Difference: $1,430

For the most part, filing fees have only increased by a few hundred dollars for most EB-5 investors. The increase in the I-526 petition filing fee is somewhat balanced out by the lower biometrics service fee. Unfortunately, regional center owners face a significant increase in their annual certification renewal. This only adds to the challenges that regional center owners have faced this year, with an unprecedented number of regional center terminations.

Despite the recent increase in filing fees, the EB-5 program remains one of the fastest and easiest ways to permanently immigrate into the United States. The program offers foreign nationals an opportunity to obtain permanent resident status in the U.S. and enjoy the many benefits and unparalleled freedom that come along with that.