The H-1B visa is a specialized visa empowered through the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow immigrants with specialist skills to work in the United States of America. If accepted, the holder of the H-1B visa will have the right to stay and work in the US for three years, with extensions of up to six years possible. The law, however, states that there are caps on the number of visas issued. There were 188,100 new visas of this type issued in 2019.
What Are The H-1B Visa Petition Fees?
The H-1B visa can be complex for first time applicants. Fees for all applicants can vary based on a number of factors, but in most cases, employers are required to pay the fees. The H-1B visa petition fee is comprised of many smaller fees. Some of these fees may be reduced depending on the employer and the legal resources at their disposal.
H-1B Registration Fee
The H-1B visa registration fee is $10. This is levied by the USCIS to conduct a lottery prior to filing the actual petition. The current registration fee was set on December 8th, 2019, and applies to the 2021 quota of visa applicants.
H-1B Base Filing Fee
The base filing fee for each applicant is currently $460. It increased to this price in December 2016. It is also set to increase again to $555 for all applications filed on or after October 2nd, 2020.
H-1B Immigration Attorney Fee
The H-1B application requires an attorney to manage all application details. The cost of an immigration attorney depends on the employer. Larger employers may already have an in-house legal team capable of managing visa applications.
However, if this option is unavailable, an independent immigration attorney may cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000, depending on the complexity of the application. Visa applicants should not assume the cost of an immigration attorney as this is considered to be an employer business expense.
H-1B Fraud Prevention & Detection Fee
All employers sponsoring an H-1B visa applicant are required to pay a $500 fraud prevention & detection fee. This applies to all new H-1B applicants and change of employer petitions. Existing visa holders requesting an extension do not need to worry about this fee. Furthermore, applications from applicants based in Singapore or Chile will not incur this fee. The USCIS states that this fee should be submitted separately, rather than in combination with other fees.
H-1B Public Law 114-113 Fee
The Public Law 114-113 fee of $4,000 only applies if the sponsoring company has more than 50 employees and more than 50% of those employees hold an L1 or H-1B visa. Again, this fee also only applies to new applicants or change of employer petitions. The employer must cover this fee in its entirety by law. The 2016 Omnibus bill made it illegal to attempt to pass on this expense to the applicant.
H-1B AICWA Fee
The American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (AICWA) of 1998 stipulate that an additional fee applies to all H-1B visa applications. Employers with 1-25 full-time employees are required to pay $750, whereas employers with more employees must pay $1,500.
H-1B Optional Premium Processing Fee
The premium processing fee is entirely optional and guarantees that the visa application will be adjudicated upon within 15 calendar days. This fee is $1,440 and is charged to the employer. In some cases, the cost may be incurred by the applicant, but there must be compelling personal reasons to do so and the employer must explain their reasoning to the Department of Labor.
H-1B Stamping Fee
A visa stamping fee must be paid when acquiring the H-1B visa from a physical US consulate. This is another cost to be paid by the employer or the company sponsoring the visa application. The visa stamping fee varies by country. Applicants should note that the fee charged by a local US consulate is not inclusive of travel fees, which are borne entirely by the applicant. Employers are only required to pay the cost of acquisition of the relevant forms and to send the forms for stamping to the applicant.
What Is The Average Cost To Receive An H-1B Visa?
The average cost of an H-1B visa can range from $1,700 to $8,000+. The main extenuating factors are the size of the hiring employer, the cost of an attorney, and whether the premium processing service is selected. However, the vast majority of the above costs should be covered by the employer, rather than the applicant.
Reach Out To An Experienced Immigration Attorney
Applying for the H-1B visa can be complex and expensive for employers who decide to hire immigrant workers. It is important to have the knowledge and support that only an experienced immigration attorney can bring. Call us at (703) 594-4040 or contact us online to get started today. Our experienced immigration attorneys are well-versed in the US immigration system and can offer you advice regarding how to move forward with your application.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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