What is the filing fee for an I-765 work permit application based on a pending asylum case?

Work Permit

Many people are confused about the cost of filing a work permit application based on a pending asylum application. There have been a lot of changes and it can be difficult to put them all together, but this guide covers all the important information

Currently, the cost for an initial asylum work permit (Form I-765) is $85. A renewal asylum work permit is $495. This is because the $85 biometrics fee is now required for both application types.

There is one significant exception to this rule. Member of two nonprofit organizations can file under the old asylum work permit rules. That means that if you are a member of those organizations, the fee is going to be less. For someone who is a member of those organizations, the initial asylum-based work permit application is $0, completely free. A renewal application is the old fee of $410.

Read on for some additional information about why this is the case and how to join those organizations mentioned above.

How you can join a nonprofit organization to file under the old asylum fee, processing timeframe, and application deadline

Many people are unaware that a lawsuit could provide some benefits in filing their work permit applications. By joining either “CASA de Maryland” or “Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP)” an individual can become part of the “class” of people who are included in that case’s preliminary injunction. USCIS is now providing instructions on its website for the form I-765 work permit application. Read the section “Preliminary Injunction Impacting CASA and ASAP Members.”

You can join those organizations for free and file your work permit application with proof of your membership. You do not have to have been a member of those groups earlier or at the time of the decision. This could change in the future, but work permit applicants should take advantage of this important opportunity for all cases.

Joining one of these groups provides some really significant benefits, including:

  • It requires USCIS to process your application within 30 days
  • It allows someone to file after waiting 150 days since the filing of an asylum application, rather than 365 days
  • You don’t need to pay the $85 biometric fee
  • There are some other situations where people would be ineligible for a work permit that should not apply

All these rules do make the process more complicated, so it is recommended to schedule a free consultation to discuss how an immigration lawyer can help you with the process.

When and why did the price change for work permits based on a pending asylum application?

Immigration attorneys and asylum applicants were preparing for fee increases that were to take effect on October 2nd, but for work permits in particular, an important change happened a little bit earlier on August 25th.

The Department of Homeland Security finalized a new rule on August 25, 2020, which required USCIS to charge the biometrics fee of $85 with all work permit applications, including initial ones. That rule was not part of the larger fee change rule, which was stopped from going into effect by at least two separate courts. There is no timeframe for it to go back into effect and at this point we will likely have to see what the Biden Administration wants to do with the fee changes.

However, the biometric fee was part of the earlier separate rule, and it is still required for those people who are not members of the groups listed above.

What changes were supposed to become effective on October 2, 2020?

As mentioned above, the fee change rule did not go into effect due to severeal federal courts stopping it. However, it may become effective at some point. Typically, USCIS will announce a future date if that were to occur, rather than change fees overnight.

The rule was intended to go into effect on October 2, 2020, but did not. That rule actually reduced the biometrics fee to $30 from $85, a slight savings. However, it increased the work permit fee, resulting in a fee increase overall. The new I-765 fee for asylum work permits was going to be $580 for each applicant (the new I-765 filing fee was $550 and the biometrics fee was $30).

This was supposed to be applied to both initial work permit applications and renewal work permit applications based on a pending asylum case. Why is USCIS imposing a fee for asylum seekers filing initial work permit applications? USCIS provided the reason in the final rule:

DHS acknowledges the concerns of the commenters related to the requirement of a fee ($550) for initial filings of Form I-765 for applicants with pending asylum applications. Initial EAD applicants with pending asylum applications account for a large volume, approximately 13 percent, of the Form I-765 workload forecast and DHS has decided to no longer provide this service for free. Charging initial Form I-765 applicants with pending asylum applications allows DHS to keep the fee for all fee-paying EAD applicants lower. Asylum applicants will pay no more and no less than any other EAD applicant (except for those who are eligible for a fee waiver) for the same service.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/08/03/2020-16389/us-citizenship-and-immigration-services-fee-schedule-and-changes-to-certain-other-immigration

As noted above, this fee change rule is not in effect and so the current fees are as stated at the top of the article.