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
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence
Current fee: $1,140
New fee: $1,130
Current fee: $85
New fee: $30
I-829 Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions
Current fee: $3,750
New fee: $3,900
I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation under the Immigrant Investor Program
Current fee: $17,795
New fee: $17,795
I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center
Current fee: $3,035
New fee: $4,465
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.