USCIS Announces Fee Increase for Artist Visas

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a substantial increase in I-129 filing fees, effective for petitions postmarked on or after December 23, 2016. The Premium Processing fee remains $1,225. The following fees will increase:

  • The fee for the regular I-129 petition for a nonimmigrant worker will increase from $325 to $460.
  • The fee for the I-539 petition to extend/change status (used for spouses and dependents) will increase from $290 to $370.
  • The fee for the I-824 petition for action on an approved application or petition (usually used to request a duplicate I-797 notice of approval) will increase from $405 to $465.

On July 6, the League led a coalition submission of formal comments to USCIS raising serious concerns about the disproportionate increase of 42% in the fee increase for filing I-129 petitions, compared to the weighted average increase of 21% that USCIS is applying to other fees. This increase adds a significant burden to nonprofit arts petitioners considering the serious and persisting delays in visa processing that have already been creating a harmful impact for more than a year. Our comments urged USCIS to ensure that any fee increase be accompanied not merely by a maintenance of service, but by significant policy improvements. When the increase goes into effect on December 24, 2016, petitioners should keep a close eye on the timing and quality of visa processing, and please so we can press USCIS headquarters to demonstrate measurable progress.

To avoid delays in processing, please note the fee change and plan accordingly. All petitions postmarked on or after December 23, 2016 should include the new fee of $460. Do not submit the higher fee any earlier than this date.