What are the H1B Visa Costs?
There are a number of H1B visa costs and fees that will need to be covered as part of either an initial H1B registration or application, or when applying to extend of change status. Some of these costs are to be paid by the employer or sponsoring company, while others are the responsibility of the employee.
Importantly, any H1B petition submitted with the incorrect filing fee will be rejected.
Who pays the H1B visa fees?
The H1B visa is used by US businesses and organisations to employ foreign nationals who hold graduate level qualifications or who have sufficient knowledge and expertise to work in speciality occupations.
To be granted an H1B visa, a petition will need to be filed with USCIS, and the requisite fees paid.
H1B visa costs for employers
The employer is responsible for paying for the following fees that make up the H1B petition application:
Amount (US $)
|Basic visa filing fee (I-129 form)||$460||Employer|
|Public Law 114-113 Fee||$4000||Employer|
|Premium Processing (optional)||$2,500||Employer or employee|
|USCIS Anti-Fraud Fee||$500||Employer|
|ACWIA Education and Training Fee||
$750 if fewer than 25 employees
$1500 if more than 25 employees
Electronic registration fee
The sponsor must pay a $10 registration fee for each new cap-subject petition. This fee is paid when the employer submits the registration for the H1B visa lottery during the registration period in March.
Basic filing Fee
To file an H1B petition using the I-129 form, the cost to the employer is $460.
It is the employer’s responsibility to pay the filing fee.
ACWIA stands for American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998.
The ACWIA fee varies depending on the size of the sponsoring company. For companies with 25 or fewer employees, the fee is $750. For companies with more than 25 employees, the fee is $1,500.
It is a legal requirement that this fee is paid by the employer.
Certain organisations are exempt from paying the ACWIA fee. These are:
- Higher education institutions
- Non-profit entity related to or affiliated with higher education institution
- Non-profit research organisation
- Governmental research organisation
- Primary educational institution
- Secondary educational institution
- Non-profit entity engaging in curriculum-related clinical training programmes for students
Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee
The Fraud Prevention and Detection fee is $500.
It is a legal requirement that this fee is paid by the employer.
Where the H1B petition is for an individual who qualifies under the Chile or Singapore Free Trade Agreement, it is not necessary to pay the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee.
Fee relating to Public Law 114-113
This fee is paid by companies with more than 50 employees, where over half of those are employed through the H1B or L1 visa routes.
The fee is $4,000 and this must be paid by the employer.
H1B visa costs for employees
For the H1B visa, most of the costs are payable by the employer. The employee is only responsible for paying the fees related to obtaining their visa at their local US embassy or consulate. This also includes visa fees for any dependants also making an application.
H1B premium processing fee
H1B premium processing is an optional service for a fast-tracked decision, usually within 15 days of the completed I-907 form being submitted. The fee is $2,500.
Where the H1B premium processing option is taken up, this could be paid for by either the employee or the employer. It should be discussed between the two parties to come to an agreement on who should pay.
Where the employee pays this fee, the employer must prove to the Department of Labor that the premium processing is necessary due to the employee’s personal circumstances.
There is no fee for the employer to file the Labor Condition Application (LCA), which is required under the H1B requirements.
This lays out the employer’s agreement to pay the employee a wage that is not less than that of similarly qualified workers and not more than is generally accepted locally, and to provide the employee with working conditions that will not have a detrimental effect on similarly employed workers.
There is no fee to file the Labor Condition Application.
How to apply for an H1B Visa
The H1B visa application process is rigid. Both employers and employees must ensure that they adhere to the requirements of the process to maximise chances of a successful application, including paying the correct fee at the correct stage of the process.
The H1B visa cap sets a limit on the maximum number of H1B visas that are made available each year. The regular cap offers 65,000 visas, with an additional 20,000 visas for applicants holding a master’s degree. Exemption from this cap is granted to petitions made by non-profit research organisations, universities, or government institutions.
A random selection is then made from the registrations for the regular cap.
Before an H1B petition can be made, the employer must first obtain a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA).
Once the LCA has been certified by the Department of Labour, the employer should submit a Non Immigrant Worker Petition form I-129, accompanied by the certified LCA, to the relevant USCIS Service Centre. This should be submitted when the H1B cap window opens for that year, at the beginning of April. This should not be more than 6 months before they wish H1B employees to begin work with them.
Should the petition be successful, the employee may apply for their visa through the Online Non-immigrant Visa Application system (form DS-160) and attend an interview at their local US Embassy or Consulate.
H1B visa requirements
There are eligibility requirements for both employees and the jobs that the employer wishes to fill.
An employee must have an offer of employment from a US employer to work in a suitable role and meet at least one of the following conditions:
- have a US bachelor’s degree in the relevant speciality occupation, from an accredited educational institution, or an equivalent foreign degree in the speciality occupation
- hold an unrestricted state licence, registration or certification which permits employment in the speciality occupation in the US state where the employment is based
- education, training or experience in the speciality of a level equivalent to a degree and that the employee is recognised as having a suitable level of expertise.
There are eligibility requirements for the job that the employer wishes to fill. At least one of the following conditions must apply:
- Minimum entry requirement is a bachelor’s degree or higher degree, or equivalent qualification and experience.
- It is usual for the related industry that a degree is required for the job, or the job must be deemed so complicated or specialised that it can only be carried out by an individual who has a degree.
- The employer requires a degree or equivalent for anyone filling the role.
- The duties involved are so complex and specialised that the knowledge level associated with a person who holds a bachelor’s or higher degree is required.
Given the highly competitive nature of the H1B visa and the effort and investment involved in hiring under this visa route, taking specialist legal advice can ensure that all stages of the H1B petition process are dealt with correctly, including compiling information and communicating with the relevant authorities, so that your application has the best chance possible of a successful outcome.
The above fees are correct as at January 2021 but are subject to change and should be verified before any application is made. Paying incorrect fees may cause delays in the application process. For advice about an H1B application, contact us.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.