How much does the US L1 Visa cost?
The L1 visa offers companies a route to transfer non-US national employees to a US branch or subsidiary on a temporary basis. As well as meeting the eligibility requirements, another key factor in the application process will be ensuring the requisite are paid.
If the correct fees are not paid, or if there is an error or delay in payment, the application will be delayed and possibly rejected.
In this guide, we detail the L1 visa costs for employers looking to sponsor an L1 visa applicant.
What are the L1 visa costs?
To make an L1 visa, the following costs will be payable:
|Form I-129 USCIS L-1 visa filing fee||$460|
|Fraud prevention and detection fee||$500|
|DS-160 form MRV filing fee||$190|
|Premium processing fee (optional)||$2,500|
|Form I-539 L-2 visa filing fee for L-2 dependent change of status or extension||$370|
L-1 visa filing fee: $460
The first part of the L1 visa petitioning process will be for the organization to complete, sign and file form I-129 with USCIS.
Filing form I-129 incurs a charge of $460 for the employer, which is to be paid at the same time as the form and supporting documentation are submitted.
The fee applies to applications for an initial L-1 visa filed from outside the US, for change of status petitions filed in the US and to L-1 visa extensions.
There is no fee waiver for this form.
After the I-129 has been filed and the filing fee paid, USCIS will process the petition. The employer will then receive confirmation of receipt of the petition. If applicable, USCIS will then issue a notice for biometric services and/or a notice to attend an interview.
The decision will then follow once all stages of the application have been completed.
L-2 visa change of status or extension filing fee: $370
Applications to change status from within the US to the L-2 visa category, or to extend existing L-2 status, will require form I-539 to be completed and filed, and the filing fee of $370 per application paid.
Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee: $500
This fee is payable by the employer that is filing for an initial L-1 visa for a foreign worker, or by the employer where the worker already holds valid L-1 visa status, but is filing to change employers.
The exception to this fee is where the petition is to change status from L-1A to L-1B or from L-1B to L-1A.
US L-1 visa cost for premium processing (optional): $2,500
The precise timeframe for standard L-1 petition processing can vary depending on the caseload of the USCIS service center where the petition is filed, but generally applicants should work on the basis of 3 – 6 months for standard processing.
Premium processing is available under the L-1 visa classification, both in the L-1A and L-1B categories, to expedite processing to within 15 calendar days.
The premium service costs $2,500 (correct as at September 2021), which can be paid either by the employer or the worker (‘beneficiary’).
It is important to note that premium processing does not guarantee the application will be approved; it relates only to faster decision-making.
If USCIS fails to process the application within the 15 day time limit, without having issued a request for further information, the premium processing fee will be refunded and the application will continue to be processed under the expedited service.
With approval of the I-129, USCIS will issue a notice of action and the worker will be able to proceed with the L-1 visa application, either applying at a US Consular post in their country of residence or as a change of status petition made within the US.
Public Law 114-113 Fee: $4,500
This fee will only apply if an employer is seeking an initial grant of L-1 status for a foreign worker and the organization employs more than 50 employees and of those, over half are under L-1A, L-1B, or H-1B status.
The Public Law fee is not payable for L-1 extentions or for L visa transfers relating to workers changing status from L-1A to L-1B or from L-1B to L-1A status.
DS-160 application fee for overseas filing: $190
When the worker files their petition for a L-1 visa at a US consulate or embassy in their country of residence, they will be required to pay the MRV fee. The MRV Fee for petition-based applications, such as the L-1 visa, is $190.
The fee is valid for one visa application within twelve months of the date of payment. If the worker is unable to attend the interview, they may reschedule an appointment for any time within that 12 month period. The fee is not valid for use by a third party.
The MRV application fee is non-transferable and there can be no refund of the fee if the application is refused.
Refunds are also not available where the applicant schedules an appointment, cancels and does not reschedule within 12 months.
However, in light of ongoing processing and service delays, the US Embassy in London has extended the validity of MRV payments until September 30, 2022, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee.
The MRV fee is not payable if the worker is applying for a change of status to the L-1 category from within the US.
The fee is also waived for the following:
- Diplomatic passport holders
- Official passport holders applying for official visas
- Employees of International Organizations (G Visas)
- Foreign Military Personnel stationed in the U.S. (NATO visas)
- Exchange Visitors who are sponsored by the U.S. government (J Visas)
Nationals of certain countries are required to pay an issuance fee in order for an approved visa to be issued. Fees are based on reciprocity and reflect the charges levied by the applicant’s government to a US citizen for a similar service. For the L category, the only issuance fees charged to a British Citizen passport holder is for the L-2 visa, ie L-1 visa dependents.
When do you pay the L1 visa fees?
The Fraud prevention fee and the Public Law 114-113 Fee, where applicable, must be paid when submitting form I-129 or the application will be rejected.
Each fee should be submitted in a separate check or money order drawn on a bank or other financial institution US. Checks and money orders must be made out to ‘U.S. Department of Homeland Security’, using no abbreviations. You should not send cash.
The fees must be paid in US dollars.
Intra-company transfers typically relate to employees who are high profile and bring business- and project critical skills and knowledge. Getting the application right first time will be vital to avoid delays or a refused petition, and wasted outlay in US L1 visa costs. Employers should also factor in the resource and effort required to compile the submission to the required standard.
NNU Immigration are specialist US immigration attorneys. From our central London base, we support companies from across the globe with L-1 visa petitions, ensuring initial eligibility and exploring potential alternative routes to transfer key workers to the US. We also provide guidance to the employer and employee through the petitioning process, and also extension applications.
If you have a question about the L-1 visa application process or eligibility requirements, contact us.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.