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H1B Fees: What you Need to Pay to Obtain Your H1B Visa
Close up of a male hand holding silver pen and filling out the USA visa application form , the other hand holds the passport and money.

In this blog, we have discussed the following topics:

  • Visa Application cost and Basic fees
  • Premium Processing Fees
  • How to get the USCIS refund

One of the biggest hurdles in obtaining an H1B visa is the expense involved. Apart from the high standards, time-consuming processes and vetting involved, the H1B visa is a daunting aspect for many aspiring foreigners wishing to obtain this highly valued visa.

The H1B visa cost incurred throughout the process varies according to the following:

  • Applicant's H1B status.
  • Details of the application.

You can avoid major blunders in the H1B process if you know about the fees you will be charged, how and where to pay them, and who is responsible. So, now let's look at how much the h1b application fee cost, before that we recommend you to read all about H1B visa in detail.

How Much Does the H-1B Application Fee Cost?

This is the first question that most people ask when applying for an H1B visa. Generally, the H1B visa can cost anything from $1,720 to $6,470. Factors like attorney fees, employer criteria, optional fees, and registration fees also influence the total cost of processing the visa. H1B lottery-selected petitions will incur an additional registration fee of $10.

Basic Fee for H1B Filing

The basic H1B filing fee is standard for everyone applying for the H1B visa, whether first-timers or H1B visa holders wish to transfer or amend their visa status. Currently, the basic cost of filing an I-129 H1B petition is $460. The previous fee was $325. Although the current fee remains unchanged, it is important to keep track of the H1B filing fee so that your application process does not encounter any hiccups and hindrances.

List of Additional Costs for H1B Visa Processing

According to the USCIS (the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) norms, all US-based employers hiring foreign workers are responsible for sponsoring the H1B visa fees. Once the H1B application fees are paid, and the petition is submitted, there are other expenses that you will incur.

Here are the fees to expect as your H1B visa is processed.

1. ACWIA or American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 Fee

As a business expense, your employer must cover the cost of training and accompanying fees. Some institutions hiring foreign nationals as employees are exempted from paying the ACWIA. They include:

  • Primary and secondary schools
  • Non-profit organizations affiliated with academic institutions
  • Government research institutions

The fee for companies with 25 full-time employees is $750. Businesses with over 25 full-time employees must pay a fee of $1500.

2. Fraud Prevention and Detection Fees

The Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee amounts to $500. To pay this fee, prospective H1-B visa holders must either file a new application or change employers. However, this fee is not required if the applicant is renewing his or her H1-B with the same employer. Here again, it is the employer's responsibility to cover this fee since it is a business expense and required by law.

3. Public Law 114-113 Fees

Businesses with over 50 employees, half of whom have H-1B or L-1 visa status, must pay the Public Law 114-113 fee of $4000.

4. Visa Stamping Fee

Every H1B holder who enters the U.S. must get their passport stamped with an H1B stamp. This indicates that the H1B visa was granted to them because of their application and the process was a success. The cost of the H1B stamp differs with every H1B holder's country of origin.

5. Immigration Attorney Fee

Sometimes, it is better to seek the guidance of an immigration attorney to expedite your application process, especially if yours is a complex case. Hiring an immigration attorney can range anywhere between $500 to $3000, depending on their service and experience.

Also Read: A Brief Overview of LCA Requirements & Fees

H1B Premium Processing Fee, Transfer Cost & Extension Fee

Premium Processing Fee

Regular H1B visa processing is time-consuming and can take weeks or months. The Premium Processing option allows those who need to get their documentation done quickly by bypassing the laborious steps and expediting the process. With Premium Processing, the entire visa processing is complete in 15 days for a fee of $1225. There are two points to note with Premium Processing:

  1. The process is optional and does not in any way influence your chances of being chosen in the H1B lottery.
  2. It is not mandatory for the employer to pay the fee. The employee can make the payment if the employer refuses to do it.

H1B Transfer Fee & H1B Extension Fee

The H1B extension fee costs $460 to file an I-129. If you want to transfer to another employer, the cost will include the Public Law and Anti-Fraud fees. However, you don't need to pay for another H1B visa application. The H1B transfer fee alone amounts to $1710 to $6,460. This cost depends on whether your employer must pay the higher ACWIA fee and the Public Law fee.

Who Should Pay Your H1B Visa Fees?

No US-based employer can expect their foreign employees to pay the fee for the H1B visa. According to the US legal regulations, all employers hiring foreign employees must bear the H1B visa expenses. Auditors ensure that employers are compliant with this rule by conducting regular site audits. Employees can only pay the fees for Premium Processing and Consular Processing. Other than these options, all other fees should be paid by your employer.

USCIS Refund

Generally, the USCIS will retain your fees even if it denies your application. However, there are certain circumstances for which you can demand an H1B processing fee refund. You can apply for a refund if:

  • Your petition is not selected in the annual H1B lottery
  • The USCIS requested an unnecessary form and demanded a fee for it
  • The amount requested was more than the askable amount
  • The USCIS fails to process your petition under Premium Processing within 15 days

To Summarize

The H1B visa expenses are undeniably high, which is why you should find a reliable employer who will fund you at every step of the process. A detailed understanding of the complexities involved, the fee structure, and the documentation required will also help make the process a hassle-free one.

A Hub for H1B Visa Wealth of Information

A detailed understanding of the complexities involved, the fee structure, and the documentation required will also help make the process a hassle-free one. Visit TechFetch H1B for more detailed information about H1B visa.

**Disclaimer: All H-1B fees and HIb visa processing are subject to change. For updated information, kindly refer to USCIS's official website.**

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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