Home News US Visa Fee Hike Likely for These Employment-Based Visas

US Visa Fee Hike Likely for These Employment-Based Visas

US Visa Fee Hike
Source: Freepik

A steep hike in the visa application fee for employment-based visas, including H-1B and L visas, is on cards. This US visa fee hike proposal was put forth (in a 469-page document) by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in a bid to replenish the immigration agency’s funds (that were hit during the pandemic period) and also manage the operating costs.  

If approved by the Biden administration, the application fee for H-1B visas for ‘high-skilled foreign workers’ would rise by 70% to $780 while the percentage of fee hike for an L1 visa for ‘intra-company transfer’ would be a whopping 201% (from $460 to $1,385). For US companies, the cost of sponsoring foreign employees is likely to get higher as the employers filing Form I-129 (for nonimmigrant workers) and I-140 (for employer-sponsored green cards) will have to bear an additional $600 (under the Asylum program fee).

Also Read: US L1 Visa Application Guide

However, it is unlikely that the US visa fee hike would be implemented immediately as the proposal comes with a 60-day comment period, post which the received public comments will be reviewed and a final decision will be announced.

The pre-registration fee for H-1B visas will also go up to $215 from the current $10. This move to increase visa fees is expected to impact Indians the most as Indian nationals account for nearly 75% of H-1B visa receivers. A large number of Indian professionals are working at US IT organizations while many more dream of flying to San Francisco and other tech hubs to land their dream jobs. 

An increase in the fee for EB-5 visas (Investor Visa Program) from $3,675 to $11,160 (a 204% hike) is also proposed. Moreover, applicants seeking to upgrade their temporary visas to permanent (green card) will have to shell out $1,225 if the revised visa fee takes effect.

USCIS, in a news release, explains that this US visa fee hike will allow revenue recovery from its major income source (which is the filing fee) besides supporting the timely processing of visa applications and thus, preventing the accumulation of cases in the future. It also stated that the current fee structure has remained unchanged since 2016 (USCIS reviews the visa fee structure every two years).

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