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INS Increases Filing Fees
by Sherry L. Neal

What goes up must come down, as the old saying goes, was certainly not intended to apply to filing fees that the INS charges for immigration petitions. In late December the INS published in the Federal Register the new INS filing fees that will take effect on February 19, 2002. The increase in filing fees is modest and represents the first increase since 1998.

The INS gives four reasons for the increase in fees. First, the current fees are too low considering the amount of time and resources that are given to a case and the benefit that the foreign national receives from the petition. Second, there is a consensus that the cost for immigration benefits should be borne by the applicants seeking the immigration benefits instead of funding from Congress. Third, the fee increases are justified given the increasing demand for immigration and naturalization benefits over the last several years. Fourth, the fee increases are necessary in order to increase the current level of services.

The increase in filing fees is expected to do more than simply maintain the current level of services. In fact, the INS anticipates that additional fees will enable the INS to provide some additional services. Specifically, the INS would like to implement an online filing system and also provide case status inquires online rather than simply by telephone. In addition, the INS has the primary goal of reducing the current backlogs on immigration cases.

The increase in fees is relatively modest. For example, the new filing fee for an I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, is $130 - only a $20 increase in the previous fee. Of course, when the I-129 is filed on behalf of an H-1b worker the additional $1,000 training fee is still required except in those limited cases where the training fee is waived. For green card cases, the new filing fee will be $135 for an I-140 petition and $255 for an I-485 petition. Also, the new filing fee for an Employment Authorization Document, through the filing of an I-765 application, will be $120 while the new filing fee for an Advance Parole Document, through the filing of an I-131 application, will be $110.

About The Author

Sherry L. Neal, Esq. is an immigration attorney with Hammond & Associates, LLC in Cincinnati, Ohio. She advises corporations and individuals on immigration law issues and handles cases before the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Department of State and the Department of Labor. She has written several articles for other publications, copies of which can be obtained from the firm website at