Fees for Employment-Based Petitions

USCIS issued a clarification on its website to help employers filing certain employment-based petitions determine the correct fees. The FAQ focuses on how to calculate the new immigration fees based on an employer’s status as a non-profit organization or a small business (with 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees).

This FAQ is particularly relevant for those filing forms I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker), I-129CW (Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker), and I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers).

The key takeaway is that employers need to pay close attention to specific questions within these forms to qualify for potential fee reductions available to non-profits and small employers.

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For instance, the FAQ clarifies that the calculation of full-time equivalent employees includes all current workers, regardless of their immigration status. This means seasonal workers who are paid as employees should also be included in the headcount. Additionally, the FAQ details what kind of documentation employers should submit to support their claim to the small employer fee reduction.

Other relevant key takeaways:

  • Fee Reductions for Non-Profits and Small Employers: The FAQ clarifies how employers can qualify for fee reductions available to non-profit organizations and small businesses (with 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees). This can result in significant cost savings for eligible employers.
  • Specific Forms Affected: The clarification applies specifically to Forms I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker), I-129CW (Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker), and I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers). Employers filing these petitions should carefully review the FAQ to ensure they submit the correct fees.
  • Calculating Full-Time Equivalent Employees: The FAQ clarifies how to calculate the number of full-time equivalent employees, a key factor in determining eligibility for small employer fee reductions. This includes all current workers regardless of immigration status, and seasonal workers who are paid as employees. Employers should carefully consider this definition when calculating their fees.
  • Supporting Documentation for Small Employers: To claim the small employer fee reduction, the FAQ outlines the type of documentation employers need to submit along with their petitions. This ensures USCIS can verify the employer’s eligibility for the reduced fee.
  • Avoiding Filing Rejections: By following the guidance in the FAQ and carefully considering their eligibility for fee reductions, employers can avoid USCIS rejecting their petitions due to incorrect fee payments. This can save time and frustration associated with refiling petitions.

In addition to these key points, the USCIS also clarifies how to pay the new Asylum Program Fee, which is a separate fee from the petition filing fee. This fee applies to all employers filing the aforementioned forms, but there are discounts available for non-profits and small employers.

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