Administration Drops its New Immigration Fees Rule

A new U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services rule increasing many immigration application filing fees will remain blocked indefinitely from taking effect, after the government decided not to continue its appeal of a court order enjoining the rule.

In August 2020, the administration finalized a rule making changes to immigration filing fees, to be effective on October 2, 2020.   The new rule would have substantially increased a wide array of immigration filing fees, ranging from applications by employers for temporary foreign workers, to applications for permanent residency and U.S. citizenship, and first-ever fees for asylum seekers to request asylum and their initial work permits.   The rule would also have made fee waivers for low-income applicants more difficult, and in many cases impossible, to get.

In September 2020, a federal district court blocked the new fee rule from taking effect, and the administration appealed from that decision.

On December 28, 2020, the administration filed a motion to dismiss its own appeal. That leaves the lower court’s injunction blocking implementation of the new fee rule intact, and the prior fees, and fee waiver availability, will continue to be in effect.

This is extremely good news given that the new fees would have put residency and citizenship out of financial reach for many, would have increased costs for employers who need foreign workers, and would have made the U.S. one of only four countries in the world to require asylum seekers to pay to request protection from persecution.