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Proposals to Increase Fees for H-1B and L-1 Visa Extensions

By Nita Nicole Upadhye

Table of Contents

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced proposals to amend regulations related to the 9-11 Response & Biometric Entry-Exit Fee for H-1B and L-1 Visas.

Under a new proposed rule, employers would need to pay $4,000 to extend an H-1B visa and $4,500 to extend an L-1 visa as part of the 9/11 Response and Biometric Entry-Exit Fee.

 

Current Rules

 

The 9-11 Response & Biometric Entry-Exit Fee is a fee imposed by the US Government under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 on employers sponsoring foreign employees under the L-1 and H-1B visa categories. The fee is used to fund national security programs, including a biometric entry-exit system, as mandated by Congress, designed to improve the security and tracking of non-immigrant visa holders entering and leaving the United States.

Currently, the fee is levied on employers with 50 or more employees in the United States, where more than 50% of those employees are on H-1B or L-1 visas. For H-1B petitions, the fee is $4,000, while for L-1 petitions, it is $4,500.

At present, the fee is payable only for initial petitions or when there is a change of employer.

 

Proposed Changes

 

The proposed changes aim to clarify DHS’s interpretation of “ambiguous statutory language”, requiring that employers covered by the regulation submit the 9-11 Biometric Fee for all extension-of-stay petitions, even if a Fraud Fee is not applicable.

As such, the new rule proposes to extend the current fee requirement to cover extension petitions as well. This would mean that affected employers would need to pay the fee for the initial H-1B or L-1 petitions, when changing employers, and also when extending the employment period of existing H-1B or L-1 visa holders.

Any change in fee requirement would only apply to companies with 50 or more employees.

According to DHS, the proposed rule will provide additional funds necessary for the continued operation and enhancement of the biometric entry-exit system. The department also says the change aims to create a more consistent and fair application of the fee across all petition types, ensuring that all employers contribute to national security measures regardless of the petition type.

DHS also notes that any changes to fee requirements would only take effect once or if a final regulation is issued.

 

Impact for Employers

 

If implemented, this rule would increase the visa costs for larger employers that recruit under the H-1B and L-1 categories. In particular, those that employ and sponsor many H-1B or L-1 visa holders would need to factor in any additional costs associated with the visa extension process.

 

Consultation Now Open

 

DHS is now inviting public comment on the proposed rule through an open consultation. Interested parties should submit their comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, via docket number USCBP-2023-XXXX.

The consultation closes July 8, 2024.

 

Need Assistance?

 

NNU Immigration are US immigration specialists. To discuss the impact of the proposed changes on your organization’s US-bound talent mobility, contact us.

 

 

This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.

Author

Founder & Principal Attorney Nita Nicole Upadhye is a recognized leader in the field of US business immigration law, (The Legal 500, Who's Who Legal and AILA) and an experienced and trusted advisor to large multinational corporates through to SMEs. She provides strategic immigration advice and specialist application support to corporations and professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, artists, actors and athletes from across the globe to meet their US-bound talent mobility needs.

Nita is an active public speaker, thought leader, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals.

Need legal advice?

For specialist advice on your query, get in touch with our team of US immigration attorneys.​

Need legal advice?

For specialist advice on your query, get in touch with our team of US immigration attorneys.

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For specialist advice on a US immigration or nationality matter for your business, contact our US immigration attorneys.

For specialist advice on a US immigration or nationality matter for your business, contact our US immigration attorneys.