USCIS Increasing Filing Fees in Marriage Green Card Cases and Fiance Visa Cases.

  • POSTED: February 27, 2024
  • CATEGORY:
  • POSTED BY: LawrenceGruner

The upcoming USCIS fee increases are scheduled to take effect on April 1, 2024.  USCIS is increasing the fees to cover its increasing operational costs and to get rid of the backlog of cases that have accrued over time.   Hopefully cases will finish quicker overall.  

In general newly filed family based immigration cases including marriage green card cases and fiance visa cases are finalizing sooner than in the past couple of years.  Though not the norm, we recently had a marriage green case complete in 32 days from case filing.  This is quite an improvement over wait times just a year or two ago.

This article provides a detailed overview of the fee adjustments and their implications for applicants. We’ll take a particular focus on the I-129F (fiance visa) and I-130 forms, and related applications for employment authorization and advance parole in marriage green card cases.

Overview of Fee Increases

The USCIS fee structure revision will impact a broad spectrum of immigration applications. Notably, the fee increases span both family-based and employment-based immigration processes, reflecting the agency’s dependency on these fees for its funding. 

Below is a summary of the key changes:

  • K-1 Fiancé Visa (Form I-129F): The fee will rise from $535 to $675, a $140 increase.
  • CR-1 Spousal Visa: Similarly, this will increase from $535 to $675.
  • Adjustment of Status (Form I-485): For those seeking green cards or permanent residency without work or travel permits, the fee will jump from $1,225 to $1,440, marking a $215 increase.
  • Employment Authorization (Form I-765) and Advance Parole (Form I-131): Previously free with an Adjustment of Status application, these will now cost $260 and $630, respectively.
  • Employment-Based Fee Changes: Notably, Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) will see significant increases across various classifications, with fees for H-1, H-2A, H-2B, L, and O classifications all rising considerably​​.

I-129F: K-1 Fiancé Visa

The K-1 Fiancé Visa allows U.S. citizens to bring their foreign fiancé(e)s to the United States for marriage. Applicants must provide substantial documentation to prove their relationship and intent to marry within 90 days of the fiancé(e)’s arrival in the U.S. 

To avoid these increased costs, applications must be completed and filed ideally by March 31st at the latest. Applications begun prior to April 1st but submitted after April 1st will be subject to the fee increase.

I-130: Petition for Alien Relatives

Form I-130 plays a critical role in family-based immigration, enabling U.S. citizens and permanent residents to sponsor certain relatives for immigration to the United States. The increase to $675 for filing this petition signifies a notable financial impact on families seeking reunification. 

Much like the I-129F application, the I-130 process requires extensive documentation to establish the legitimacy of the familial relationship. Applicants should ensure completeness and accuracy in their submissions to prevent rejections or requests for further evidence, which can prolong the process​​.

Employment Authorization and Advance Parole in Marriage Green Card Cases

The fee increases for employment authorization and advance parole as part of the adjustment of status process represent a significant shift in the cost outlay for prospective immigrants. 

Previously, when filed concurrently with Form I-485, these applications were free. The new fees of $260 for Form I-765 and $630 for Form I-131 introduce additional costs for applicants seeking work authorization that they may not have been factoring in previously.

If you don’t think your application will be ready in time, ensure you’re factoring in these new fees into your financial planning.  

Conclusion

The USCIS fee increase is a pivotal development for immigration applicants, with widespread implications across family and employment-based processes. 

The new structure not only reflects the financial challenges faced by the agency but also places a greater financial burden on applicants. Prospective applicants are encouraged to file their applications before the April 1, 2024 deadline to take advantage of current fees. 

For the most current and detailed information, applicants should consult the official USCIS website or seek professional legal advice to navigate these changes effectively.  You can also contact our office.Lawrence Gruner is an immigration attorney located in downtown Sacramento California.  His office handles fiance visa cases, marriage green card cases, naturalization cases and other immigration matters.  He would be happy to answer your immigration questions.  He has over 25 years of experience.  His office handles cases in California, the United States and the World. You may email your question to him at attorneygruner@gmail.com

This article is general in nature and should not be relied on for legal advice. Always consult with an experienced immigration attorney prior to filing any documents with USCIS.

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