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TN Visa Comparative Analysis: USCIS Fee Increases 2024 vs. Previous Adjustments

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a final rule confirming it will move to a new fee structure on April 1, 2024. This will result in significant fee increases for various immigration applications, including employment-based visas like the TN Visa.

Prospective applicants need to be aware of these fee changes to plan effectively.

This guide discusses the new fee increase (and compares it with previous adjustments), especially as it affects TN visa applications.

Understanding USCIS Fee Increases for TN Visa Applicants

USCIS periodically adjusts its filing fees to ensure it has enough resources to cover rising operational costs. Year by year, the agency depends on filing fees paid by individuals applying for immigration services to keep their services afloat. 

Overview of USCIS History of Fee Adjustments 

Fee adjustment has been a part of US immigration policy for decades. Even the predecessor of the USCIS (the INS – Immigration and Naturalization Service) adjusted fees for various applications and petitions several times between 1987 and 2002.

Since 2003, when the USCIS started administering the country’s immigration and naturalization system, the agency has implemented three major fee adjustments.

The first was in 2007. A second came in 2010, followed by a third in 2016. This 2024 USCIS fee increase represents the agency’s first major fee adjustment since 2016.

Importance of Comparing 2024 Fee Increases with Previous Adjustments for TN Visa Applicants

Fee Increases with Previous Adjustments for TN Visa Applicants

USCIS implements fee increases to account for rising operational costs, increased demand for immigration services, and changes in immigration policy. 

So, comparing the 2024 fee increase with previous adjustments can give valuable insights. For TN visa applicants, comparing the new fee structure with the previous adjustment can shed light on the competitiveness of the TN visa.

TN visa cost comparison can help applicants see how the fees have changed over time, helping them anticipate how the cost of the TN visa applications may change in the near future. This can help prospective TN visa applicants plan correctly. 

USCIS Fee Increase 2024: What’s Changing for TN Visa Applicants?

Let’s dive into how the USCIS 2024 fee increase will impact TN Visa applicants.

Detailed Breakdown of Fee Changes Scheduled for 2024

Some major changes in the new fee schedule are:

  • I-129 Filing Fee: The new fee schedule jacks up the fee for filing Form I-129 (which employers must file to sponsor TN visa applicants) from $460 to $1,015 for large employers with more than 25 employees.
  • Previously, USCIS charged the same fee ($460) for all nonimmigrant classifications filing Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker). But the new fee schedule establishes separate fees for Form I-129 by nonimmigrant classification.
  • I-129 Small Employer Discount: There is a special discount for nonprofits and small employers (firms having 25 or fewer full-time employees). For example, the new standard filing fee for TN visa applicants filing Form I-129 is $1,015. But when a TN employer has 25 or fewer full-time employees, the Form I-129 filing fee will be $510.  
  • NEW Asylum Program Fee: In addition, TN employers with more than 25 employees who are filing Form I-129 must pay a new Asylum Program Fee of $600 to fund the USCIS asylum program. There is a special discount for small employers of $300 (those who employ 25 or fewer full-time employees). Small employers must provide the IRS Form 941 Quarterly Federal Tax Return.
  • Premium Processing Fee Increase: TN employers may choose to file Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing Service along with the Form I-129 Petition to receive a decision within 15 business days. Pursuant to a separate final rule, beginning on February 26th the Premium Processing Fee increased from $2,500 to $2,805.
  • Finally, the new fee schedule incorporates biometric costs into the main benefit fee in most cases.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: If the TN Petition is submitted at the border with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a filing fee of only $56 is required (this includes a $50 TN processing fee and $6 fee for the issuance of the I-94 Arrival/Departure Record Card). The CBP filing fee has not been affected by the USCIS final rule. 

Explanation of the Rationale Behind These Fee Adjustments and its Impact on TN Visa Applicants

The USCIS explains that the existing fee structure no longer covers the cost of doing business which requires timely adjudication of immigration and naturalization services. This has resulted in significant backlogs.

The new fees will allow USCIS to obtain the funding required to reduce the backlog, streamline the processing of incoming cases, and avoid the accumulation of future backlogs. 

Comparative Analysis: USCIS Fee Increase 2024 vs. Previous Adjustments for TN Visa Applicants

The USCIS fee modification history shows that the 2024 fee increase for TN visa applications is substantially higher than adjustments made in previous years.

Comparison of USCIS Fee Increase Percentages

The percentage increase in the Form I-129 filing fee (which employers may file to sponsor TN visa applicants) compared to previous adjustments is as follows:

USCIS Fee Increase 2024
Immigration benefitOld feeNew feeDifference% increase
Form I-129: TN Classification$460$1,015$555121%
Form I-129: TN Classification (Small Employers and Nonprofits)$460$510$5011%
USCIS Fee Increase 2016
Form I-129$325$460$13542%
USCIS Fee Increase 2010
Form I-129$320$325$52%
Additional USCIS Fees in 2024
Immigration benefitOld feeNew feeDifference% increase
Standard Asylum Program Fee(New Fee Applicable to I-129 Petitions for Large Employers with more than 25 employees)N/A$600N/AN/A
Asylum Program Fee – Small Employers(Applicable to I-129 petitions filed by sponsoring employers having 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees)N/A$300N/AN/A
USCIS Premium Processing Fee Increases As of February 26, 2024
Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing Service (Optional: guarantees a decision for I-129 within 15 business days)$2,500$2,805$30512.3%

Analysis of Changes in Specific Filing Fees for TN Visa Applications Over Time

Individuals can apply for TN visas by filing Form I-129 with USCIS. Increasing the filing fee of the Form by 121% (from $460 to $1,015) significantly increases the cost of TN visa applications for large employers. 

Additionally, the new asylum program fee of $600 ($300 for small employers) will cause new obstacles for employers and require them to budget their expenses and plan accordingly.

Considering the Form I-129 filing fee has increased over time, employers have expressed concerns that the fee increase will impose an unnecessary burden on their companies when hiring nonimmigrant workers.

USCIS has anticipated these concerns by implementing reduced fees for small employers and nonprofits. For TN visa employers with 25 or fewer full-time employees, the Form I-129 filing fee is $510, which is just an 11% increase over the current $460 fee.

However, a new rule increases the premium processing fee of Form I-129 from $2,500 to $2,805.

Fee Adjustment Trends Over the Years for TN Visa Applicants

In recent years, USCIS fee adjustments have caused a massive hike in the filing fee for Form I-129 (used to petition nonimmigrant TN workers).

Examination of Historical Trends in USCIS Fee Adjustments for TN Visa Applicants

Previously, the fee adjustment in 2010 resulted in only a 2% increase in the filing fee for Form I-129 (from $320 to $325). Later, in 2016 the adjustment led to a massive increase in the filing fee of 42% (from $325 to $460).

This year’s proposed fee increase follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, implementing a significant increase at a whopping 121% (from $460 to $1,015).

The historical USCIS fee adjustments suggest that subsequent increases in the Form I-129 filing fee (TN classification) will continue to be an obstacle for TN employers.

Factors Influencing Fee Changes for TN Visa Applications Over Time

The factors that have influenced fee changes for TN visa applications over time include:

  • Inflation. Inflation has steadily been eroding the purchasing power of the dollar, increasing the cost of goods and services. Fees for immigration services are adjusted periodically to account for inflation.
  • Demand for TN visas. The TN visa has become very competitive over the years. The fee increase will help manage the workload and ensure efficient processing of applications. 
  • Policy changes. New policy changes often lead to higher fees. An example is the cost of premium processing service for Form I-129, which has increased significantly to account for the additional workload that will arise with more and more applicants paying for the service. 

Impact on TN Visa Application Processes

visa application composition with American flag - TN Visa Expert

The recent USCIS fee increase is capable of changing the TN visa landscape.

How the Fee Changes Affect Different Aspects of the TN Visa Application Process

This year’s filing fee increase will impose a greater financial burden on TN visa applicants and their prospective US employers.

With the standard filing fee for Form I-129 reaching $1,015, the TN visa route may become too expensive for employers and prospective applicants. The filing fee may also discourage some employers from sponsoring TN visa applicants.

Applicants should be aware that while the USCIS filing fee for the TN visa has jumped to $1,015, the fee for filing a TN visa with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a port of entry remains $56. The CBP filing fee has not changed because CBP funding comes from congressional appropriations. 

The low $56 fee for filing a TN visa with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) means there will be an even greater surge in CBP applications for TN visas at U.S. ports of entry. 

Impact of 2024 Fee Increase with Previous Adjustments for TN Visa Applicants

There is no doubt that USCIS fee increases impose a greater financial burden on TN visa applicants and their prospective employers. However, the burden is greater this time around, because the fee has never increased by this much (121% in this latest fee adjustment, compared to 42% and 2% in the two previous adjustments). Additionally, this is the first year where large TN employers (with more than 25 employees) will be required to pay a new asylum program fee of $600 (or $300 for employers with 25 or fewer full-time employees). 

In previous USCIS fee adjustments, all US employers (regardless of their size) paid the same amount to sponsor nonimmigrant TN workers. On the bright side, this new rule implements reduced fees for small companies, making it easier for them to sponsor TN workers.

Navigating USCIS Fee Changes Effectively 

Though the USCIS fee changes will result in higher fees for processing TN visa applications, applicants can still maximize the success of their application.

Tips for TN Visa Applicants and Employers to Manage Increased Fees

The following tips can help applicants and employers manage the 2024 fee increases:

  • Submit your TN visa application with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. Port of Entry (if applicable). This requires paying only a $56 fee to CBP, helping you avoid paying the staggering $1,015 Form I-129 filing fee (for large employers) and new asylum program fees owed to USCIS. 
  • Allow enough room between application submission and your employment start date. This helps applicants avoid paying the high $2,805 fee for premium processing service.
  • Applicants should start budgeting early for the TN visa application fees, and employers should make provision for TN sponsorship in their annual budgets. 
  • Applicants and employers should stay updated on USCIS policy changes.

Strategies For Optimizing TN Visa Application Processes

Strategies to help TN visa applicants maximize their success in the application process include:

  • Secure a US job offer and ensure the job offer meets TN visa job eligibility
  • Start the application process well in advance of your intended employment start date and travel plans.
  • Gather and organize all required documents.
  • Consult experienced immigration attorneys (like TNVisaExperts) to help you navigate the TN visa application process and mitigate risks of denial.

FAQs on USCIS Fee Changes in 2024 

When will the USCIS fee increase take effect in 2024?

The new USCIS fees take effect on April 1, 2024. This means all applications postmarked after April 1, 2024, will be subject to the fee increases in the final rule.

What are the main reasons behind the USCIS fee increase?

The previous fee structure no longer covered the agency’s operational costs. Since USCIS is a fee-funded agency that receives its funding from application fees paid by those applying for immigration and naturalization services, it was necessary to raise the fees to balance the agency’s workload and reduce the backlogs.  

How will the fee increase impact different USCIS filing fees?

The 2024 USCIS fee adjustment increases filing fees for most immigration and naturalization services, meaning these applications will become more expensive.

Are there any exemptions or waivers available for the increased fees?

Only certain applications and immigration benefits are eligible for a fee waiver. Form I-129 for the TN visa does not currently qualify for a fee waiver. However, if you are a small employer or non-profit organization, you may qualify for a discounted filing fee as indicated previously.