US H1B Visa Fees 2017 - 2018

The H1B visa is one of the most in-demand visas for employees looking to work in the USA. It is a temporary work visa issued to foreign nationals who are qualified for specific work. There is a lot of demand for among Indians. Statistics indicate that a majority of the beneficiaries of the H-1B visa are Indians. One of the things to know about a H-1B visa is the fees associated with it and this information is provided here.

What are the Visa Fees associated with H-1B?

Briefly, the cost of applying for this visa is indicated in the following table. An explanation of the same is given here below the table.

Reason for H-1B Visa Fee Fee amount (in U.S. Dollars $)
Visa application processing fee 190
Public Law 114-113 (Subject to conditions) 4000
Fraud prevention and detection 500
ACWIA-related fees (Subject to conditions) Either 750 or 1500
Premium processing service fee 1410

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs announces on its website that there are different fees for different types of visas. According to their website, the H Visa category that includes workers who may be hired on a temporary basis or could be trainees too. Since it is a petition-based visa, the visa application processing fee for this is $190. It is to be noted that this fee is non-refundable.

The form required for a non-immigrant worker or a temporary worker from a different nation is the Form I-129. This form needs to be filled in and then the filing fees paid. The payment of the fees should be made to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is to be noted that an additional fee was instituted from December 2015 and it was enabled by Public Law 114-113.

The Public Law 114-113 (PL 114-113) fee

Since only employers can apply for H-1B for their employees, there are certain conditions that they need to consider. The employer should pay an additional $4,000 fee under the PL 114-113, if:

  • They have over 50 employees who work in the U.S.
  • More than half of the employees have non-immigrant status
  • The petition was filed on or after 18 December 2015
  • The petition was for an initial grant of H-1B status or if the petition was to seek permission to change employers under a H-1B visa
  • The additional $4,000 fee will be payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Other H-1B Visa Application Fees

The other fees that are applicable are the following:

  • A fee of $500 for Fraud Prevention and Detection; this is applicable for those seeking H-1B for the first time and for those seeking to change employers under H-1B
  • A fee relating to ACWIA (American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998); if the company employs more than 25 full-time workers in the U.S., then the fee will be $1,500, else it will be $750
  • A fee for premium processing (if the applicant so wishes)

It is to be noted that if the premium processing service is chosen, an additional fee of $1,410 will also have to be paid. This is in addition to the other fees associated with acquiring a H-1B visa. The fee is applicable beginning 1 October 2018 unless any change is announced.

Conditions under which ACWIA Fees do not need to be paid

There are certain reasons for which the ACWIA fees is waived for a petitioner and these are listed here:

  • If the employer (petitioner) is applying for the second or further extension in the stay permit for the worker assuming the worker continues his or her employment with the same employer
  • If the petitioner files a petition that is amended to not carry a request for an extension in the validity of the petition
  • If the petition filed is for the purposes of correcting an error that was made by USCIS

There are some organisations that do not need to pay the ACWIA fee and the list of such organisations is provided on the USCIS website. More details and exceptions are provided on the website of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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News about US H1B Visa Fee 2017

  • Spouses of H1-B visa holders might not be able to work in the United States

    The Trump administration plans to bring an end to the rule of allowing spouses of H-1B visa holders to work in the country. The development has emerged after a top federal agency official has told lawmakers that the administration was planning on proposing it. The move if implemented can have a devastating impact on Indians working in the country. It needs to be mentioned that currently more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders have work permits.

    The H-4 visa is issued to the spouses of H-1B visa holders under a special order that was issued during the Obama-era rule in the year 2015. After the rule was passed, Indian-Americans has been the major beneficiary which can be gauged from the fact that as of early 2017, 93 percent of the total H-4 visa holders were women from India.

    Francis Cissna, the director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has stated that a formal communication on the matter is expected to be made later this summer. He added that the reversal of the 2015 rule will ensure in protecting the interests of United States workers.

    4 May 2018

  • H1B visa saga: Indian companies in US start employing locals

    As the number of applicants for the H1B visa has seen an unprecedented drop, firms the in US have also gone the other way and have began hiring locals in the US.

    In fact, a number of well-known Indian IT firms have gone on to take this route. They have been trying to bring down foreign employment and increase the number of local people as far as hiring is concerned. In fact, it has also been found that the number of H1B applications for the 2019 cycle has seen what we can call a ‘historic fall’.

    The H1B visa is a type of visa that permits companies across the United States of America to hire foreign workers for certain skilled jobs. Over the years, the number of Indians that have been taking up such jobs have seen an unprecedented high.

    Indian companies that have branches in the US have also been actively increasing the number of local hirings as there been a change in the political scenario as far as visa policies are concerned. This has been the trend since the beginning of 2017 as far as H1B visas are concerned.

    18 April 2018

  • Trump’s Administration Insisted To Keep H-1B Spouses’ Work Permits

    According to the 2015 regulation issued by Barrack Obama’s administration, the H-1B spouses are permitted to work or be employed while the actual holder seeks a permanent residence in the U.S.

    However, after the H-1B visa policies have been tightened, 6 democratic lawmakers have insisted the Trump’s administration to retain the existing Obama’s rule. They have sent a letter urging to “reconsider” the new plan, as it would create significant financial hardship and uncertainty for most highly-qualified professionals.

    19 March 2018

  • U.S. tightens the rules on H-1B visa, Indians will be affected

    The Trump’s administration has made it even harder for individuals and companies to acquire H-1B visas. Moreover, even if a person gets one, it might not be for 3 years, as it has always been. In such circumstances, both Indian IT organizations and Indians will have an impact because they are the majority users of this work visa. Apart from these, short durations might also make the transition to a Green Card from an H-1B visa almost impossible.

    According to the policy memorandum announced on 22 February by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services, its officers have all the rights to seek comprehensive documentation as well as necessary proof from companies to make sure that an H-1B beneficiary truly has some important tasks in a specific occupation.

    Earlier extension of H-1B visa was easy and the process involved asking only a few questions to the beneficiary. But at present, an H-1B issuance has not only limited it to 3 years but also the administration has made the extension process more difficult, convincing Indian IT companies to tell their H-1B employees to return much earlier than expected. The new regulations also imply that an applicant might not also get his/her full three years.

    1 March 2018

  • H-1B Parents Talk About Indian Children Being Scared Of “Ageing Out”

    According to the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services), “ageing out” is described as a situation when anyone who turns 21 before receiving his/her Green Card (or permanent residence) is not considered as a child for the purpose of immigration.

    For 12 or 13-year old kids of H-1B Visa holder parents who are waiting for their Green Cards, the concept of “ageing out” is not simple to comprehend but to know that it will surely affect them.

    With so many consequences, the Indian H-1B holders have voluntarily involved themselves into the enduring immigration debate held at Washington DC. The predicament of 700,000 undocumented immigrants that were brought to the U.S. as children now face deportation because the President Donald Trump rescinded the Obama-era protection.

    13 February 2018

  • Newly appointed US envoy to India addresses H-1B Visa concerns

    Trump's administration plans to change the H-1B Visa policy which could lead to a mass deportation of Indian H-1B Visa holders has created an unsettling impact on the IT industry of India. The fear of being forced to leave the US while applying for a visa extension or Green Card application has alarmed the lawmakers of both the US and India. The newly appointed US envoy to India, Kenneth Juster recently addressed the issued by stating that the upcoming H-1B Visa changes are to reform the immigration policies instead of directing a mass deportation. The US lawmakers have already acknowledged the growth of US economy which is driven by the immigrant workers under the H-1B Visa program. The proposed law suggests changes to the H-1B Visa policies pertaining to application and extension, however, Kenneth Juster reassured the Indian H-1B Visa holders as they won't be impacted due to the changes to immigrant work policies.

    15 January 2018

  • H1B Visa renewal is not as easy as it used to be

    Trump administration has made it difficult for the H1B Visa holders to carry out the renewal process. Earlier, the H1B Visa holders did not have the burden of producing relevant documents during the visa renewal process, however, the new rules direct H1B Visa holders to provide sufficient proofs to prove that he/she is qualified to renew the existing H1B Visa.

    7 November 2017

  • Are you applying for H-1B visa? Be advised about new rules

    The government of the United States is allotting time-consuming, expensive challenges to skilled foreign applicants, thereby enabling them to work in the United States. H-IB visas are widely utilised by outsourcing companies and, as a result, they are controversial. H-IB visas are also utilised across the education, the American tech and other industry verticals. Moreover, top-listed Indian IT corporations have questioned over such investigations according to the recent information.

    26 October 2017

  • Nasscom’s lobbying costs rise with regards to H1B and L1 visa

    After the US President Donald Trump signed the ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order, it has become increasingly difficult for the US-based Indian IT companies to recruit skilled IT professionals from overseas. Earlier, India was lobbying for a reduction in visa filing fees under the Obama administration, now Nasscom is lobbying for leniency with regards to H1B and L2 visa. According to the recent lobbying disclosure reports, Nasscom has paid $150,000 to 2 lobbyists in the first quarter of 2017, which is higher than 3 quarters combined in 2016. The 2 lobbyists are the Lande Group and Wexler & Walker.

    The Lande Group has been petitioning US visa processing, green cards, highly skilled immigration, tax reform, and border adjustment tax. Wexler & Walker took up immigration and the US H1B and L1 visa lobbying alongside the House of Congress and federal agencies. R Chandrashekhar, the president of Nasscom argued in a delegation with the officials of the Trump administration that the Indian IT firms contributes heavily to the US economy while creating numerous jobs.

    21 June 2017

  • More students staying back in US with temporary visa

    Reports reveal that more and more students who go to the US for education end up staying back and choosing to work there with temporary visas.This trend is particularly high among Indian and Chinese students.

    Skilled workers are staying back and getting work with the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program that permits those who have passed out of college to work in the country on a temporary basis. As many as 7 lakh OPT requests were approved from 2008 to 2014 as per data obtained from the Pew Research Center from US Immigration papers. These trends and other data indicate that this will increase over a period of time.

    Those with a F-1 visa will be eligible to apply for OPT, post which the student is entitled to stay in the country for at least a period of 1 year. As an exception to this rule,, those with a major in the stem field are allowed to stay for 36 months.

    There is no upper limit on how many people can apply for this visa. This visa provision came into force in 1947 and it can only be changed by a US president.

    31 May 2017

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