Immigration Law Updates in 2024

Updates to the material found in Nolo's books on immigration law.

By , J.D., University of Washington School of Law

Here's what's happening in the year 2024 with respect to U.S. immigration law. These updates focus in particular on matters described in Nolo's various books on immigration law.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced it will be raising the premium processing fee paid by certain applicants to guarantee quick USCIS processing (and avoid the inevitable backlogs of normal processing). The fee is in addition to the regular application fees charged by USCIS and the Department of State for visa and green card processing.

For example, many employers are willing to spend a large extra sum for 15-day processing of the forms used to hire non-U.S. workers either on a temporary or permanent basis. And premium processing is also available to some students and nonimmigrant visa holders seeking a change or extension of status.

In justifying this change, USCIS points to inflation as per the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Consumers, and notes that it raised the fee last year, as well.

Here is the full table of adjusted fees:

Form Previous Fee New Fee
Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

$1,500 (H-2B or R-1 nonimmigrant status)

$2,500 (All other available Form I-129 classifications (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))

$1,685 (H-2B or R-1 nonimmigrant status)

$2,805 (All other available Form I-129 classifications (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))

Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $2,500 (Employment-based (EB) classifications E11, E12, E21 (non-NIW), E31, E32, EW3, E13 and E21 (NIW)) $2,805 (Employment-based (EB) classifications E11, E12, E21 (non-NIW), E31, E32, EW3, E13 and E21 (NIW))
Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status $1,750 (Form I-539 classifications 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) $1,965 (Form I-539 classifications 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)
Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization $1,500 (Certain F-1 students with categories C03A, C03B, C03C) $1,685 (Certain F-1 students with categories C03A, C03B, C03C)

To find out more about whether premium processing could make a difference in your application for a U.S. work visa or green card, see Timeline for Sponsoring an Immigrant Worker for a Green Card and How Long It Takes to Get an H-1B Visa Petition Approved.

To avoid paying the higher fee, make sure USCIS receives your petition before the February 26, 2024 effective date.

DHS Institutes Application Fee Changes Effective April 1, 2024

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) oversees the agency that processes most U.S. requests, namely U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). And USCIS charges fees to review and decide on various petitions and applications, such as for U.S. green cards and citizenship.

DHS regularly updates those fees, usually in an upward direction. This latest update, announced in January of 2024, is no exception; though a few fees were actually lowered. Some were also simplified, so as to bring the biometrics (fingerprinting) fee within the main fee. And in many cases, you can take advantage of a lower fee by filing online instead of on paper.

If you're planning on submitting an immigration application, you might want to have a look at both the current fee and the one that will be instituted on April 1, so as to see which is lower!

And, in a bit of good news, no new fee was added for asylum applications (Form I-589), though employers of immigrants will be required to pay an asylum surcharge to help fund this program.

Here are some of the changes likely to affect the most people:

  • The fee for an I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, will go up to $1,440 for adults. If you also want a work permit (I-765) and an Advance Parole travel document (I-131), you will need to pay separate fees. For the work permit, however, adjustment applicants will pay a discounted fee of $260.
  • The fee for Form I-90, used to renew or replace a green card, is actually going down, to $415 for online filings and $465 for paper filings.
  • The fee for the Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, will go down for people who need fingerprinting (but up for those who don't). It will now be $420 for applicants who file online and $470 for those who file on paper.
  • The fee for a Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, will become $710 for online filers and $760 for those filing by paper submission.
  • The biometrics (fingerprinting) fee for TPS applicants is being lowered to $30.

For the full table of fee changes, go to the USCIS website's page of FAQs on this topic.

Biden Announces DED Protection for Palestinians in the United States

On February 14, 2024, President Biden took steps to protect Palestinians who were physically within the United States from having to return home and face Israel's ongoing military action, by designating them for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). This designation will last for 18 months unless extended.

Unlike with the similar and more often used Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, there is no DED application form. It's not considered an immigration "status" in the United States, and it won't lead to any permanent status (such as a green card). Qualifying Palestinians will, however, be immediately protected from deportation, and can apply for employment authorization (using USCIS Form I-765) and travel authorization with which to leave and return (using USCIS Form I-131).

Not all Palestinians will qualify for DED, however. They must not be inadmissible to the United States or otherwise barred by criminal, security, terrorism, public safety, or related grounds. Also, they must not be barred on certain of the grounds that affect asylum seekers, such as persecution of others and conviction of a serious non-political crime prior to arrival in the United States.

The eventual U.S. Federal Register notice covering Palestinian DED will provide further details and instructions on how and where to submit the travel and work permit applications.