Preliminary Injunction Issued Against USCIS Immigration Fee Increases

On September 29, 2020 a Federal District Court Judge for the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction enjoining USCIS immigration fee increases that were scheduled to take effect on October 2, 2020.


On July 31, 2020 the Department of Homeland Security published a final rule proposing several USCIS immigration fee increases. The proposed immigration fees significantly impact both employment-based and family-based immigration petitioners. Additionally, the naturalization filing fee also increases astronomically, creating a much higher financial burden on individuals wishing to become US citizens.

For example, the filing fee for an I-129L Petition (intracompany manager transferee) is set to increase by 75 percent. For family adjustment of status applicants (I-485), the I-765 application for employment authorization and I-131 application for travel authorization are now debundled from the I-485 filing fee. Thus, an adjustment applicant needing employment and travel authorization will now pay a total filing fee of $2,270 under the new proposed fees versus $1,225 previously. That is over a $1000 increase!  The N-400 Naturalization filing fee will increase to $1,160 for online filings (an 81 percent increase).


In his ruling, Judge Jeffrey White highlighted several legal flaws with the final rule. These flaws in his view make the challenging Plaintiff likely to prevail on the merits of the ultimate case, warranting issuance of a preliminary injunction. Specifically, Judge White takes issue with the following aspects the final rule authorizing USCIS immigration fee increases:

  • The Acting Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security were not lawfully serving in their positions when the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Final Rule were published.
  • The Final Rule violates certain procedural and substantive aspects of the federal Administrative Procedures Act. For example, the Judge notes that the DHS did not disclose data of claimed skyrocketing immigration costs. The DHS did not provide sufficient budgetary data. Most significantly, the Judge rejected the DHS’ claims that the proposed fee increases will result in no notable impact on the number of immigration filings.
  • Finally, Judge White agreed that the final rule relies on factors that Congress did not authorize the DHS to consider.


The preliminary injunction does not mean that the USCIS immigration fee increases are permanently barred. The DHS will next appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and seek to have the preliminary injunction overturned. While the timeframe for that appeal and review is unknown, the government will certainly request a rushed review.

In the meantime, if you are seeking a green card or US citizenship, filing immediately would be well advised in the event this preliminary injunction is quickly overturned.


Attorney Richard Ruth is a US immigration attorney in Gainesville Florida with over 25 years of experience in US immigration matters. He also offers personal US Immigration consultations in Oslo, Norway and Prague, Czech Republic during portions of the year when he is present in those cities. He represents clients throughout the United States and world with US employment and family immigration matters or US citizenship applications. For assistance with your US immigration law questions or issues you can e-mail Attorney Richard Ruth at [email protected].