Costs are rising for some visa types
Fees charged for visa types are generally on the rise which can lead to confusion on the part of applicants as well as a need to rush those applications in before the increased fees take effect. The fee increase is being challenged in the court, but planning for the possibilities is always wise.
In August, USCIS published a rule significantly increasing the fees for various visa applications. The proposal also imposed charges for some applications (like asylum) that had never before had a fee associated with them and limited the ability to waive the fee for applicants who could not afford to pay an application fee. The greatest fee increases were proposed for non-immigrant employment-based visas, adjustment of status to receive a green card, applications for cancellation of removal, and applications for waivers of traditional processing such as with advance permission or without certain usual documentation, but the fee increases did affect every visa category. The new fees were set to go into effect on October 2, 2020.
At the end of September, a court stopped the fee increases from going into effect on the proposed October 2, 2020 date. These fee increases, therefore, are now on hold pending the final court ruling about the fee increases.
Another set of fee increases were proposed to take effect in the middle of October. This fee increase only affected requests that non-immigrant, employment-based applications be processed more quickly (premium processing). This fee increase moved the premium processing fee from $1,440 to $1,500 for H-2B and R-1 applicants and from $1,440 to $2,500 to all other applicants using Form I-129.