New York (PIX11) — New year, new fees.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) could soon increase the cost for immigrants looking to work in America. The Biden Administration unveiled the new rate structure on Tuesday, explaining that the hike would allow the USCIS to keep or even reduce fees for other types of visas, including those offered to asylum seekers and refugees.   

The increase would bring nearly $2 billion in funds to the agency – jumping from $4.5 billion a year on average to around $6.4 billion a year. Because most of USCIS’s money comes from service fees, the boost is expected to improve the agency’s systems and speed up processing times.

“In addition to improving customer service operations and managing the incoming workload, USCIS must continue to fulfill our growing humanitarian mission, upholding fairness, integrity, and respect for all we serve,” USCIS Director Ur Jaddou said in a statement. 

In the announcement, the USCIS also explained that the improved funding would allow them to hire nearly 8,000 more workers, which would ultimately help with the backlogs caused by staffing shortages and COVID-19 slowdowns.

“This proposed rule allows USCIS to more fully recover operating costs for the first time in six years and will support the Administration’s effort to rebuild the legal immigration system,” Jaddou said. 

The new fee structure is the result of a comprehensive fee review. The analysis determined that the current fees – which have been the same since 2016 – cannot pay the full cost of agency operations, according to the USCIS.  

The hike varies depending on the type of visa. H-1B petitioners, for example, will have to pay $780, up by 70% from the current $460 fee. The pre-registration fee for those petitioners would also jump from the current $10 to $215 under the proposed rule.  

Investors looking to do business in America would face the steepest increase; EB-5 visa petitioners would have to pay $11,160 to the agency, a jump of more than 200% from the current $3,675 fee.  

A 60-day public comment period is now underway at federalregister.gov; the new fees will only go into effect after that time, and the USCIS finalizes the fee schedule in response to such comments. The agency will host a public engagement session on the proposed fee rule on Jan. 11, 2023.