While a nonimmigrant work visa, H-1B, allows the U.S. employer to employ highly skilled foreign nationals, it comes with certain expenses since most of the required H-1B visa processing fees are paid by the employer.
The fee structure is not the same for all U.S. employers- it depends on the size of the company, with the fee increase compared to the total number of current employees.
Additionally, fees for this most sought visa have slightly changed in the past few years.
This article covers all the details related to the H-1B Visa filing application fee for the fiscal year 2023, H-1B transfer costs, premium processing fees, extension fees, employer fee, etc. Eventually, it is essential to understand who pays for what fee during the end-to-end H-1B visa process.
H-1B Processing Costs
The H-1B visa’s regular cap is limited to 65,000 visas for foreigners holding bachelor’s degree and an employment offer from a U.S. employer, with an additional 20,000 visas for applicants holding a master’s degree.
The H-1B visa has few fees that set it apart from other nonimmigrant visas.
As we mentioned above, if you want to apply for the H1-B visa, the expanses can vary anywhere between $1,700 to $ 8,000, depending on attorney fees, optional fees, and employer criteria. However, if you take this path, note that only lottery-selected petitions will pay more than the $10 registration fee.
Here we will show a breakdown of the various fees related to the H1-B visa petition in 2021. Note that all shown fees are in USD.
Overall H-1B Visa Fees: Government Fees
The end-to-end H-1B visa process, from submitting an H-1B registration to getting an H-1B visa stamped in the passport, requires paid fee to two main agencies:
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): You need to register with USCIS and pay first for the registration fee and then the fee for the application and various other fees to get the petition approval.
- U.S. Department of State (or U.S. Consulates ): Foreign professionals that file petitions from outside the United States also need a valid H-1B visa stamp to enter the U.S. and work within the country. The prospective employee will apply for a U.S. visa at a consulate or embassy in your home country. Through consular processing you will pay fee as a prospective H-1B visa holder.
Let’s look at the fees for each of these agencies and who pays for what.
H-1B Online Registration Fee, Petition Filing Fee with USCIS: $10
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services USCIS requires each employer to register their sponsoring employees before participating in the lottery and pay the registration fee of $10 .
This applies only to new cap-subject petitions.
If you go through the H-1B lottery, you will start with the H-1B Registration Process. We highly advise you to do that as soon as possible. After that, if you get selected in H-1B Lottery, you need to submit the H-1B petition with USCIS.
Form I-129, Petition For A Nonimmigrant Worker: $460
Form I-129 is a document submitted by a U.S. employer who wants to sponsor a foreign national for temporary employment in the U.S.
The filing fee for the I-129 petition for a nonimmigrant worker with supporting documentation is applicable when filing an initial H-1B petition or for the H-1B extension and amendments.
The fee can be paid with a money order, personal check, or cashier’s check.
American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act:$750- $1,500
These expenses are reserved for non-profits, educational institutions, and governmental research organizations and only for the first extension and an amendment without an extension of stay. ACWIA training fee will depend on the total number of employees in the sponsoring company, where if the employer has:
- 25 full-time employees and less, the employer will pay $750
- Over 26 full-time employees, the filing fee is $1,500.
Fraud Prevention and Detection fee: $500
Fraud prevention and detection fee applies to initial H-1B petition filings or if there has been a change of H1-B employers.
The Fraud Prevention and Detection fee is not necessary to pay the if the H-1B petition is for an individual who qualifies under the Chile or Singapore Free Trade Agreement.
The employer should submit the fee in a separate check or money order.
Public Law 114-113 Fee: $4,000
If the sponsoring employer already employs at least 50% foreign employees on H1-B, it will need to cover the additional fee of $4,000.
The fee increase applies to employers that:
- Employ 50 or more employees in the U.S.
- Over half them are in H-1B, L-1A, or L-1B nonimmigrant status;
- You filed an H-1B petition to:
- Seek initial H-1B nonimmigrant status for a noncitizen, or
- Obtain authorization for an H-1B foreign worker to change employers.
This fee also should be submitted in a separate check or money order.
Immigration Attorney Fee: $500/hour to $5,000
The amount for an immigration lawyer will depend upon who the employer hires to handle the legal paperwork of the process. However, some companies have their legal teams in-house, but if it’s not the case, then you and your employer should seek an experienced immigration lawyer.
You can seek counsel from the Hermano Legal Group, a U.S. immigration law firm with over 25 years of experience representing individuals, families, and companies in all aspects of immigration law in all 50 states, Canada, and worldwide. Their team speaks over 12 languages, including Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Serbian, and Bulgarian.
Richard Herman is a nationally-known immigration lawyer with 28 years of experience of providing legal immigration services, and he is a national speaker, advocate, and author. He co-authored the acclaimed book “Immigrant, Inc.”
Schedule a personal consultation with Attorney Richard Herman by calling or booking online. Consultations can be conducted by zoom, skype, WhatsApp, facetime, or in-office.
Premium Processing Fees: $2,500
The optional premium processing fee is 2500$. Premium processing is an optional fee for the service provided by the Department of Homeland Security if you want the petition adjudication done in 15 calendar days or obtain more timely employment authorization.
If the employee wants to obtain employment authorization, he or she needs to cover this optional expense. However, if the reason for using premium processing is not connected with EAD, the employer can pay thee and has to justify employees’ personal reasons to expedite the processing of the H1-B petition.
Does Premium Processing Increase My Chances?
Premium processing shortens the processing time for your I-129 petition to 15 calendar days.
However, this service is optional and is usually not recommended for most new H-1B cases because premium processing does not increase selection or approval chances. It is wrongful to think it makes you cap-exempt or changes your earliest employment start date (October 1, 2022).
On the other side, you can benefit from premium processing ca if you are filing for an extension, renewal, or transfer because, in these cases, you are not subject to the cap or the employment start date.
Who Pays For What?
All fees charged by USCIS in a separate check or money order that occures during the process are meant to be paid by the employer.
Only fee that can be paid by the employee is the premium processing if the employer and employee agreed upon it previously.
So, in case the sponsoring employer asks the prospective employee to pay for the H-1B filing fee or promises to reimburse it after coming to the U.S. and working, be aware that such practice is not legal. According to U.S. immigration law, it is the employer’s business expense.
On the other side, the H-1B premium processing is a subjective thing and discretionary expense. As such, depending on the circumstances, the employee may cover this fee if the employee can justify to the U.S. Department of Labor that it was due to a personal situation.
Do LCA and PERM Have Filing Fees?
The Labor Condition Application (LCA) and PERM Labor Certification do not have a fee attached to them.
Your employer has to make the four attestations required by the Department of Labor (DOL).
H-1B Transfer Cost
H-1B transfer costs include the filing fee for another I-129 petition. Also, you can optionally use the premium processing fee and pay the required fee of $2,500.
The H-1B transfer cost for a new employer includes the Public Law and anti-fraud fees, but it is unnecessary to pay for another H-1B visa application fee.
The H-1B transfer cost can be from $1,710 to $6,460. The exact varies depending on whether your employer is required to pay the higher ACWIA fee and the Public Law fee.
H-1B Extension Fees
As H-1B transfer costs, the H-1B extension fee includes the filing fee for the I-129 petition and the Public Law and Anti-Fraud fees (ACWIA). ACWIA is only applicable once per beneficiary per employer and has to be paid for the first extension through the same employer.
So an H-1B extension fee is $460 for the I-129 filing.
H-1B Visa Stamping Fee
When the H-1B applicants live outside of the U.S., they need to get the stamp to H-1B to enter the country. After USCIS approves the H-1B petition, the applicant has to go through the U.S. Visa Stamping process to apply for the same.
Visa Stamping Fees are:
- H-1B Visa Application Fee=$190: This is for issuing an H-1B Visa. You need to pay this to get a Visa Stamping Appointment and get biometrics, visa interview appointments, and eventually visa stamping. Also, check the U.S. Dept of State Website for Visa Fee.
- Fees for Photos, Translation, Transport, etc.: These are administrative expenses that vary by case.
As per the U.S. Department of Labor, all the fees related to your H-1B visa application at a U.S. Consualte or U.S Embassy are your personal obligation. In other words, these costs do not fall under employer business expense.
Still, depending on the company, certain employers have an immigration or travel department and they book the U.S. Visa appointment and cover the fee as well.
To avoid confusion, check the U.S. Department of labor (DOL) tool that will help you verify: H-1B Online advisory tool.
Does USCIS Refund the H-1B Visa Cost?
Usually, fees charged by USCIS are non refundable, especially if H-1B petition is submitted with the incorrect filing fee. This means that even if USCIS denies your petition, it will keep theHowever, there is an H-1B processing fee refund for all petitions not selected in the annual lottery.
Also, USCIS will get you a fee refund if:
- USCIS requested a form that was not necessary and asked for a fee
- The amount requested was more than the appropriate amount
- The USCIS fails to adjudicate a petition that you filed with an H-1B premium processing fee in 15 calendar days.
How To Pay H-1B Filing Fees?
Your payment options for H-1B filing fees are relatively limited. When it comes to the I-129 form, you must submit the applicable payments with the petition in money orders or checks.
Note that each fee requires a separate money order or check.
Also, be careful to pay it in the right form and the right place. Otherwise can result in an automatic rejection of your petition and a loss of the fees.
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