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  4. The CIS Ombudsman’s Webinar Series: Joint Webinar with USCIS on its New Fee Rule

The CIS Ombudsman’s Webinar Series: Joint Webinar with USCIS on its New Fee Rule


On February 27, 2024, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman (CIS Ombudsman) hosted a joint webinar with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on USCIS’ final rule to update certain immigration and naturalization fees (fee rule).

On January 31, 2024, USCIS published the fee rule, which went into effect on April 1, 2024. Under the fee rule, many fees have increased, some fees have decreased, and some forms have new fees.

During the webinar, staff from USCIS and the CIS Ombudsman shared information on the new fee schedule and related updates.

CIS Ombudsman’s recommendations to USCIS on fees

Background of new fee rule

  • Approximately 96% of USCIS’ funding is from filing fees. 
  • USCIS received over 5,400 unique public comments in response to the proposed fee rule (published in January 2023), which led to several changes in the final rule. Every fee is the same or lower in the final rule compared to the proposed rule.
  • USCIS expects to generate an additional $1.14 billion per year on average compared with the current baseline, which it needs to meet projected workloads and prevent future backlogs.

Some highlights from the new fee rule

  • There are small fee increases for certain naturalization and adoption filings.
  • The biometric services fee will no longer be a separate fee, except for certain Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Executive Office for Immigration Review requests.
  • Premium processing is now counted by business days instead of calendar days.
  • The H-1B registration fee will increase from $10 to $215 in 2025. 

Updated forms and grace periods

  • There is no grace period for fees. Starting April 1, 2024, all forms must include the new fee, or USCIS will reject them.
  • USCIS will accept prior editions of most forms during a grace period from April 1 to June 3, 2024. However, some forms (Form I-129, Form I-129CW, Form I-140, Form I-600A, and Form I-600) do not have any grace period.
  • USCIS will use the postmark date to determine if you submitted the correct form version and fees. It will use the received date to determine if you filed on time.
  • New form editions were made available online on April 1, 2024.

Fee exemptions and waivers

  • The new fee rule codifies existing fee exemptions and provides new fee exemptions for certain humanitarian categories of benefit requestors through adjustment of status; certain adoption-related fees; military members; and Afghan allies.
    • Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, is not needed when there is a fee exemption.
  • The new fee rule maintains and codifies existing fee waiver eligibility criteria.
    • If requesting a fee waiver, do not submit a fee.

Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

  • You will need to pay separate fees for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization; Form I-131, Application for Travel Document; and Form I-485 whether or not they are filed together.
  • If you filed Form I-485 before April 1, 2024, and paid the fee, then you do not need to pay for Form I-765 or Form I-131 renewals while your Form I-485 is pending.
  • There is no fee exemption for Form I-131 or Form I-765 filed with a Form I-485 on or after April 1, 2024.

Adoption fees

  • The following situations will now be fee exempt:
    • First and second extensions
    • First and second changes in country
    • A duplicate approval notice request
    • Certificates of citizenship regardless of age
  • There is no separate biometric fee regardless of the number of household members.

Form N-400, Application for Naturalization

  • There is a reduced fee if your household income is less than or equal to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). This previously was limited to 150 to 200 percent of the FPG.
  • On April 1, 2024, any online Form N-400 drafts in progress were deleted, and you will have to restart the application.

TPS and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

  • The fee for Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, remains the same.
  • The new fee rule does not change the validity period for approved DACA renewals, how often DACA must be renewed, policies on DACA recipients’ ability to request advance parole, or any DACA-specific fees.

Employment-based petitions

  • The new fee rule includes an Asylum Program Fee that certain employers must pay if they file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker; Form I-129CW, Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker; or Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers. The fee will be:
    • $0 for nonprofits (which are exempt)
    • $300 for small employers (25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees)
    • $600 for all other employers
  • There is now a limit of 25 named beneficiaries on H-2A and H-2B petitions for nonimmigrant workers.

More than 500 stakeholders joined the webinar. Attendees submitted written questions and comments, some of which were responded to during the webinar. Below is a sample of the questions received and addressed during the webinar:

  • If naturalization applicants have income less than or equal to 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, should they apply for the fee reduction on Form N-400 or with a separate Form I-942? What documentation should they supply to verify their income?
  • How is the agency planning to manage the potential increase in online filings that may occur with the online filing discount?
  • What actions is USCIS taking to minimize the increase of potentially rejected applications and petitions because individuals, especially those without legal representatives, are unaware of the new filing fees?

The questions and feedback received from attendees were reviewed and shared with USCIS to address in future communications, such as updates to its Frequently Asked Questions on the USCIS Fee Rule page.

For more information, please also visit USCIS’ Filing Fees and Fee Schedule pages.


  • Nathan Stiefel, acting CIS Ombudsman
  • Elissa McGovern, chief of Policy, CIS Ombudsman
  • Ciro Parascandola, chief of Public Engagement, CIS Ombudsman
  • Jim Wearmouth, division chief, Budget and Planning Division, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, USCIS
  • Wendy Gonzalez, branch chief, Citizenship and Family, Office of Policy and Strategy, USCIS
  • Elizabeth Zemlan, chief, Forms and Requirements Division, Office of Intake and Document Production, USCIS
Attachment Ext. Size Date
Presentation: Joint Webinar with USCIS on its New Fee Rule PDF 892.93 KB 02/29/2024
Last Updated: 06/13/2024
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