The H-1B Visa is a great work visa for employment in the United States.
The visa allows foreign workers to work in professional positions for an employer in the U.S. The intent of the visa is to permit employers to recruit and employ foreign workers for specialty jobs within the U.S. Spouses and children can accompany the specialty employee to the U.S., though they are required to obtain their own, separate H-4 Visa documents to do so.
Filing for an H-1B Visa petition is not free or inexpensive. When preparing to file for an H-1B, it is important for the worker and the business to understand the different fees involved for obtaining the visa.
All H-1B filings entail a petition filing fee of $460. This is regardless of whether or not you’re requesting a new H-1B, an extension, an amendment, or a transfer. It also doesn’t matter what type of organization the employer is. The bottom line is that this fee must always be paid.
The Fraud Prevention and Detection fee is $500. This fee is due on all petitions, except if it is the second petition filed by an employer for the same employee.
In other words, if an employer is requesting an extension of stay for a petition they previously filed for the same employee or they are requesting an amendment of stay, they do not need to pay the fee.
If the employee is transferring to a new employer, then the fee must be paid on the transfer petition.
The American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) fee is $750 for companies that have 25 or less full-time employees in the U.S., or $1500 for companies that have 26 or more full-time employees in the U.S. This fee can be waived if the employer is filing its second extension petition request on behalf of the same employee (though this is confusing, we interpret this to mean the 3rd petition filed by the same employer on behalf of the same employee).
In addition, this fee is not due when filing an amended petition.
Some employers are exempt entirely from paying this fee.
The following is a list of these exempt employers: primary or secondary education institutions; institutions of higher education (college or University); nonprofit organizations related to or affiliated with institutions of higher education; nonprofit research organizations or a governmental research organizations that are primarily engaged in basic research and/or applied research; or nonprofit organizations which engages in curriculum-related clinical training programs.
Public Law Fee
Under a law that went into effect in 2010, if an employer employs 50 or more employees in the U.S. and 50% or more of their workforce are on H-1B or L-1 visas, then they are required to pay an additional fee of $2000.
Regular vs. Premium Processing
The last fee to take into consideration is the optional premium processing fee of $1225.
An H-1B can be filed via regular processing or via premium processing. If it’s filed via regular processing, it could take approximately 2-4 months to be initially reviewed. If it’s filed via premium processing, it will be reviewed within 15 calendar days, but, as mentioned, you must pay an additional fee of $1225 for this expedited service.