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Navigating the USCIS Filing Fee Increase: What Employers Need to Know

Attention Employers and Business Owners:

If you are in the process of filing a work visa petition or planning to do so soon, there is a crucial update you need to be aware of: the recent USCIS filing fee increase. This update, which took effect on April 1, 2024, has significant implications for employers of all sizes and has caused quite an uproar in the immigration community.

Here is what you need to know:

1. Fee Increases Across the Board: USCIS has raised filing fees across virtually all categories. Whether you are filing for an H-1B, O-1, E-2, L-1, or any other work visa, be prepared to pay more.

2. Size Matters: The increase in fees is not one-size-fits-all. Larger employers with 25 or more employees are subject to higher fees, while smaller employers still face a bump in costs, though less substantial. Keep in mind that USCIS may request proof of how you determined your company's size, so ensure your documentation is in order.

3. New Asylum Program Fee: A new fee has been introduced to support the asylum program, and all employers must pay it (even if your beneficiary has no involvement with the asylum program). USCIS emphasizes that immigration is interconnected, and funding one program can impact others.

4. Self-Petitioners as Small Employers: If you are a self-petitioner, such as an individual seeking an EB-1A green card based on extraordinary ability, or an E-2 Treaty Investor visa, you are still considered a "Small employer" for fee purposes. However, you will still see an increase in fees.

5. Nonprofits Exempt from Some Fees: Good news for nonprofits - certain fees are waived for qualifying organizations. Be sure to check USCIS guidelines to see if your nonprofit qualifies for fee exemptions.

6. Confusion Abounds: The rollout of the new fees has caused widespread confusion, leading to USCIS updating its FAQs in response. Many cases were rejected due to misunderstandings, underscoring the importance of thoroughness and accuracy in your filings.

Given the complexities and potential pitfalls associated with the new fee structure, it is imperative for employers to exercise extra caution when preparing and submitting their visa petitions. This is especially true if you are filing close to a deadline or nearing the expiration of an I-94, as any delays or rejections could have serious consequences for your employees and your business.

In conclusion, staying informed and meticulous in your filings is paramount in navigating the updated USCIS filing fees. If you have any questions or need assistance with your visa petition, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced immigration attorney who can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

For personalized guidance on navigating the USCIS filing fee increase, contact Ruttle Law today. Let us help you ensure a smooth and successful visa petition process.

Disclaimer: General information only. Not legal advice. Always consult with an immigration attorney for advice on your specific situation.

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