The US is planning an I-907 premium processing filing fee increase. Discover all the essential details and how the changes could impact your business
- US immigration is increasing the premium processing fee for certain forms from February 26th, 2024.
- Applicants can expect fewer backlogs as the government will invest the extra revenue back into premium processing services.
- As the changes affect work visas, international companies must allocate more of their hiring budget toward employee sponsorship.
USCIS has announced a final rule that will increase I-907 premium processing fees from February 26th, 2024, in response to inflation. The changes will affect many work visas, including the nonimmigrant worker and the employment-based categories.
If your business depends on foreign workers, you may have to accommodate the extra fees in your budget. You might need to revise your global hiring strategy to remain competitive in talent acquisition.
Continue reading to explore all the details about the price fee increase, its potential impact on businesses, and how you can successfully navigate the changes.
What is Form I-907, request for premium processing service?
Foreign nationals can use Form I-907 to expedite their visa petition for an additional fee. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes their application within 15 days instead of the typical four to six months.
You can apply for USCIS premium processing for the following petitions:
- Form I-129 for nonimmigrant workers: Employers often use this USCIS form to sponsor workers for temporary stays in the US
- Form I-140 for alien workers: Foreign specialists can use this form to apply for a Green Card
- Form I-539 to extend or change a status: Your existing workers might use this form to renew their visa, apply for a different category, or bring over their dependents
- Form I-765 to authorize employment: Individuals in the US on certain visas, often students, can obtain the right to work for short-term periods
Despite the extra cost, filing form I-907 is a popular option. Over half of migrants make premium processing requests across the different visa categories.
The premium processing fee increase
USCIS announced the following fee changes to keep pace with inflation. Note that the cost depends not only on the type of form but also on the different visa subcategories.
(Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker)
H2-B and R1 subcategories
(Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker)
All other subcategories:
E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-3, L-1A, L-1B, LZ, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1, TN-1, and TN-2
(Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker)
E11, E12, E21 (non-NIW), E31, E32, EW3, E13 and E21 (NIW)
(Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status)
F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, J-2, E-1, E-2, E-3, L-2, H-4, O-3, P-4, and R-2
(Application for Employment Authorization)
Only certain F-1 students from subcategories C03A, C03B, and C03C
Any applications postmarked or received via online filing after February 25th are subject to the new fees.
If you pay an incorrect filing fee, USCIS will reject your petition and refund you.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security can adjust the fees every two years. However, there’s no set schedule. For example, the last time they increased the prices was three years ago in 2021.
Advantages for US employers
The US immigration process could improve as the government plans to invest the extra revenue back into the system. The federal register contains estimates they’ll make over $184 million from the higher premium processing fees in the following year.
Using the money, the Department of Homeland Security plans to expand its adjudication processes so it can manage more applicants at once. Expanding their offerings may help them with the increasing number of pending cases, which has more than doubled since 2020. Your employees may experience reduced processing times and fewer delays as a result.
These advantages can have two knock-on effects. If the visa process becomes smoother, you may find your overseas talent is more willing to move to the United States. They’re also more likely to feel engaged with the job and settled within the company after a seamless relocation.
Disadvantages for US employers
Companies may find the price increases cut into their recruitment budget, especially given the challenging economic climate. The difference may only be around $200 to $300 but these costs add up when you often hire abroad. If you sponsor visas for 20 workers, for example, you have to account for an extra $4000 to $6000.
However, global talent acquisition has never been more important. There’s currently a labor shortage—the US Chamber of Commerce revealed there are 8.8 million open positions but only 6.3 million job seekers. If you can continue relocating workers from abroad, you can ensure you have the right talent and remain competitive.
Plus, you may have to vie with other companies for skilled workers. 44% of HR leaders worldwide say they’re planning to increase hiring, which means the competition for top candidates will intensify. You may need premium processing to offer workers a smooth relocation process and outdo other businesses.
How to prepare for the new premium processing fee
You can consider several strategies to absorb the extra costs into your recruitment budget without scaling back global talent acquisition:
- Reallocate your budget: Analyze your finances to see where you could redistribute costs. You might find you can cut other expenses to accommodate the price increases
- Revamp your operations: Look for inefficiencies in your workflow to see where you can streamline your hiring process. For example, perhaps you could automate some tasks and save on staff labor
- Prioritize critical roles: Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine the value of each role. You could offer premium processing to candidates that are most likely to contribute to company goals
- Consider all possible options: Check your worker’s eligibility for different visa classifications. You may find a more cost-effective alternative to the route you’re currently using
- Leverage remote work: Where possible, allow new employees to continue working from their current location. If you don’t have an entity established in their country, you could use an employer of record (EOR) like Deel. An EOR hires workers on your behalf so you can avoid the hidden costs of setting up a subsidiary
Immigration services like Legalpad by Deel can advise you on the best options. We have experience guiding employers through the visa process across a range of categories.
Keep the visa process within budget
Although the fee increases could lead to improvements in the visa process, they may impact your finances. You must account for $200 to $300 more per new employee, which quickly adds up.
Preparing for the extra costs can help you stay within your hiring budget without decreasing your number of international hires. Immigration services like Legalpad by Deel can discuss the options with you to explore each candidate’s eligibility criteria and find the best option for them and your business. We can also help you avoid costly errors like missing deadlines or making errors on forms.
Contact the Legalpad team to learn more about the services we offer.