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Immigration Update: Effective 7/16/2007 Labor Certifications Will Expire After 180 Days of Approval; File Your I-140 Petition Today To Avoid Fee Increase.

If you have an approved labor certification and have not yet filed an I-140, now is the time to do it. On May 17, 2007, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) published its final rule regarding the expiration of labor certifications. Effective July 16, 2007, all labor certifications approved before this date would need to have the I-140 petition for immigrant worker filed within 180 days of July 16, 2007.

As way of background, the date the labor certification application is filed is known as the filing date and is used by USCIS and the Department of State as the priority date. After the labor certification application is approved by the DOL, it should be submitted to the USCIS service center with an I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.

If the I-140 is not submitted within 180 days of a labor certification approval, that certification will expire. Please contact an attorney immediately regarding this final rule on 180-day validation period for approved labor certifications.

Effective 7/30/2007, USCIS Filing Fees More Than Double for Employment Based Petitions.

Those filing employment-based petitions (Nonimmigrant I-129 petitions and I-140 Immigrant petitions) should mail their applications and file them before July 30, 2007 to avoid the hefty hike in fees.

The filing fee for I-129 petition for nonimmigrant worker will go up to $320 from $190; the I-140 Petition for Immigrant Worker will go up to $455 -- more than double the current fee of $195. Employment Authorization Cards (EAD) also nearly doubled from the current filing fee of $180 to $340.

The adjustment of status application including biometrics also went up to $1,010 per person. So, a family of four between the ages of 14-79 filing an adjustment of status through employment-based petition can expect to pay over $4,500 in filing fees alone if you wait until August

Family Petitions And Naturalization Applicants Also Affected By Fee Increase.

This new fee increase also applies to filing naturalization applications. Currently at $400 per applicant, the new fee will be $675 (Free if you are a member of the armed forces). If you have been waiting to file for U.S. Citizenship, the longer you wait, the more expensive it becomes. The filing fee for an I-130 relative petition will go up to $355 from the current $190. Any USCIS appeals, Motions to reopen or reconsider, will soon cost you $585 in filing fees, a two hundred dollar increase from the present fee of $385.

If your present attorney has not informed you of any of the above changes in filing procedures and expirations on labor certifications, perhaps you should consider finding another attorney.

BIOGRAPHY: Betty Chu, Esq. is an Associate at Wilner & O'Reilly, a firm specializing in Immigration Law. She is a member of the Los Angeles and Orange County Bar Associations and has been admitted to practice law in the Central and Southern Districts of California. Ms. Chu received her Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from UCLA. She previously served on the American Bar Association's Negotiation Competitions Committee. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and is currently the Orange County Chapter President of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA-OC).

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