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Filing an H-1B visa application can be a complicated process if proper directions are not provided. The competitiveness of the H-1B cap makes it important to get all of the details correct. This section includes answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the process of filing an H-1B petition.

How much does it cost to submit an H-1B petition?

The charges vary based on employer size. For employers with fewer than 25 employees, there is a USCIS charge of $2,000. For employers with 25 or more employees, that charge is $2,750. The USCIS also charges a filing fee of $325 for each petition plus a $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee. In addition to USCIS charges, there is also a cost associated with consular visa processing—typically this cost is approximately $100 in local currency.

How long does it take for an H-1B petition to be approved?

The average processing time is between three and six months depending on volume at the relevant USCIS location.

Is expedited processing available?

Yes. USCIS allows Premium Processing for an additional fee of $1,225. Premium Processing reduces the processing time to fifteen days. Within that time period, USCIS will reach its decision or determine that it needs additional information from the petitioner.

Is there a limit on the number of H-1B visas available?

65,000 H-1B visas are available each year. 20,000 additional H-1B visas are available for aliens who have at least a master’s degree from a U.S. institution with other in-demand skills and knowledge. When these quotas have been met, USCIS announces a cutoff date. For petitions that have already been filed before the cutoff date, USCIS holds these submissions for review until the following October. USCIS will return—without review—all petitions submitted after the cutoff date.

Can the alien come to the U.S. on another visa (visitor visa or visa-waiver) while the H-1B petition is under review?

Unless absolutely necessary, aliens should not come to the U.S. on another visa while the H-1B petition is under review. Doing so may lead to accusations of visa fraud, particularly if the alien engages in any work while in the U.S.

Are there special rules for employment agencies and/or aliens who will work at multiple sites?

Employment agencies and contractors may sponsor H-1B aliens, with an important caveat—the sponsor must pay the alien the prevailing wage, regardless of whether or not the alien is actually placed for employment. If an alien will be working in multiple locations, an employer must file an LCA in each jurisdiction where work will actually occur.

What are the rules for an H-1B’s family and dependents?

Separate visa rules apply to spouses, children, and dependents of H-1B aliens, who receive H-4 visas. H-4 visas permit study, but not employment, in the U.S. If an H-4 visa-holder wishes to work in the U.S., he or she must procure his or her own work visa. To read more about H-4 visa requirements visit our section on H-4 visas.

What if I want to terminate employment of an H-1B alien I have sponsored?

It is possible to terminate employment of an H-1B alien before the employment period has lapsed. In this instance, the employer must pay the reasonable costs for the H-1B alien to return to his or her home country. If the H-1B alien has traveled to the U.S. with any family or dependents, their return transportation costs are usually not assignable to the employer.

Interested in pursuing and H-1B visa and have additional questions?

If you are interested in filing an H1B visa petition, contact KPPB Law today. Our immigration department has processed over 1,000+ H-1B visas and would love to help you. Call us at 703-594-4040 or contact us online for a free consultation.