immigration rules

U.S. Immigration Rules – Recent Amendments and What to Know

March 28, 2024 |

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced significant changes to immigration rules and fees. These modifications may affect numerous applicants, and we will delve into these changes to provide a comprehensive understanding.

Latest Announcements from USCIS

USCIS, the body responsible for handling immigration applications in the United States, recently introduced several modifications to immigration rules and fees, which may have implications for a number of applicants.

Adjustment of Certain Immigration and Naturalization Fees

On January 30, 2024, USCIS announced its decision to modify specific immigration and naturalization benefit request fees. This is the first fee adjustment since 2016, and the new fees will come into effect on April 1, 2024. This adjustment was a result of a thorough fee review, which concluded that the current fee schedule falls significantly short of covering the full operational costs of the agency.

Under the final rule, the agency’s required annual cost recovery was reduced by $727 million. This reduction was partly due to improved efficiency measures and the budget effects of these measures. The final rule also allowed for special fee discounts for non-profit organizations and small business employers.

Additionally, eligibility for a 50% fee reduction for naturalization applications was expanded. This reduction is now available to individuals who can demonstrate that their household income falls between 150% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Strengthened Integrity Measures, H-1B Cap Initial Registration Period, and Online Filing of H-1B Petitions

USCIS announced a final rule designed to increase the integrity of the H-1B registration process and reduce the potential for fraud. The rule also reduces the potential for manipulation of the registration system so that each beneficiary has the same chance of being selected, regardless of the number of registrations submitted on their behalf.

Under the new beneficiary-centric process, registrations will be selected by unique beneficiary rather than by registration. USCIS will also require registrants to provide valid passport information or valid travel document information for each beneficiary.

Alongside this, USCIS announced the initial registration period dates for the fiscal year (FY) 2025 H-1B cap, and the launch of an online filing option for Forms I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for H-1B petitioners.

New Payment Procedure for Filing In-Person

USCIS is introducing a new process for most applicants, petitioners, requestors, and their attorneys and accredited representatives to pay for certain benefit request forms by mail or remotely instead of in person at a field office. Under this new process, applicants can mail either a check or Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions, to the field office with their benefit request.

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