Official Guidance by USCIS on H1B and L1 Fee increase in 2016

USCIS Guidance for H1B, L1 Fee Increase ($4000) until 2025

In H1B Visa News by Kumar40 Comments

As many of you know, President Obama signed Omnibus Bill on December 18th, 2015 that increases the H1B and L1 Fee by $4000 and $4500. Though it was signed in December, USCIS did not release any official guidance immediately as it takes time for the process. Anyways, today USCIS released official press note indicating the law details and how it works. Below is the summary.

Summary of the Official H1B and L1 Fee Increase Guidance by USCIS

  • Applicable Date : Omnibus bill or “The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (Public Law 114-113)” signed by President Obama will apply to all the H1B and L1A & L1B petitions filed on or after December 18th, 2015.  USCIS will look at the date they received it, so the postmarked date of the petition of on or after Dec 18th is what will be considered.
  • Fee Criteria: No changes to the criteria stated before. Applies to all the companies that have 50 or more employees and 50% of their employees are non-immigrant workers.
    • H1B Fee to increase by $4000 USD
    • L1 Fee to increase by $4500 USD
    • Both are applicable for New Petitions and Transfers.
    • Fee increase is NOT applicable to extensions with same employer.
    • This fee is additional fee to the standard H1B fee that is applicable.
  • Effective Until: The increased fee will be effective for the next 10 years from Dec 18th, 2015 all the way through September 30, 2025.
  • Employer’s Action Items : USCIS is in process of modifying the I-129 and I-129S forms. They want all employers to fill in the sections of Item Numbers d. and1.d.1 of Section 1  for H1B and Item Numbers 4.a. and 4.b.  for L1 petitions. See below screenshots.

H1B Fee Increase USCIS forms guidance

L1 Visa Fee Increase Guidance by USCIS Official 2016

  • USCIS Actions:
    • USCIS may reject petitions received after Feb 11, 2016 that fall into below categories.
      • If employers do not fill the required sections above for the petitions
      • Fail to attach the required new additional fee as per new Public Law 114-113.
    • USCIS may issue RFEs in the next 30 days for the petitions filed on or after Dec 18th, 2015. Employers should fill in the required sections as mentioned above to avoid the RFEs.
    • USCIS will maintain the original filing date for processing of the application, if an RFE is issued for the missing fee.
    • Also, Employers should NOT send any fee or explanation immediately. They need to wait for the RFE to be issued by USCIS and then respond to the RFE only.

That’s about the official update folks. Did I miss anything ?

The big burning question –  Will the filing fee increase impact the number of petitions to be filed for the upcoming H1B 2017 season ?

One tricky thing…The fee only applies, if you get selected in the H1B Lottery….So, there is no automatic deduction of additional fee just for participation or filing the H1B petition.

Now, if you look closely, the fee increase only applies to companies that are in the segment of medium size to large companies. Basically, the large outsourcing companies like Infosys, Wipro, TCS, etc. may reduce filings….Coming to small body shop consulting firms that are less than 50 people, it does not apply…so they would all continue to apply…  If you look at it from a large company’s perspective, it is an extra month salary that they have to pay for the filing fee…. Technically, you may not see a significant reduction in filings of H1B or L1s due to the fee increase.

What do you think ? Add your thoughts.

Official Reference: USCIS Press Alert H1B, L1 Fee Increase

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Comments ( 40 )

  1. Altaf

    I would want the filings to be reduced by significant number this year as I am filing under <50 employees category 🙂

  2. NoOne

    Hi,
    Just want to understand, there was one component which cost 1000$, ended around oct to Nov 2015 i think. I read about it some mail or news site, in that place it was replaced with this new component.So logically increase is 1000$. Please correct me if i am wrong.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      NoOne,

      There was a $2000 component that expired late last year. Instead there is a new $4000 component. No one was expecting this new fee and lot of companies were adjusting budgets to see the end of old fees (I think it was in place for just few years). The new fees is in place for 10 years and puts a big dent in long term plans.

  3. Sandeep

    If you are on H1B or approved I140 and waiting for your GC and stuck in backlog, please read the new regulation which would not provide EAD to approved I140 and keep us stuck in backlog

    www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=USCIS-2015-0008

    Please mention INA code 274A(h)(3) the same code was used to provide EAD to DAPA/DACA(illegals)

    http://www.giveusead.com/

  4. Vijay

    Hi Saurabh,
    I have one question. I was earlier in he US with employer A and then returned to India.
    Now Employer B plans to reuse the remainder years of my old visa and also transfer he petition to his name.

    Now – Since he petition and visa both have expired, it is almost similar to a case of a new filing, with the only difference that I will be cap-exempt. Even here, he attorney is not 100% sure if USCIS will approve the application or not. So when Employer B files for a transfer using my old petition there may be a chance that USCIS rejects it and asks to file in the 2017 cap.

    In such a scenario, can you please let me know how much my employer would probably be paying to USCIS if it is under premium processing?

    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Vijay,

      They will have to pay same fees irrespective of whether they file it as cap-exempt or in FY-17 cap. This is b/c it will be their first petition for you. The calculations you posted below are accurate. I assume your employer qualifies for the additional 4K USD fees?

  5. Kavitha

    Hello , can someone share how much $ will the employer pay when filing the petition for 2017? I’m reading there are certain fees which need to be paid to UCSIC only if the petition is picked in the lottery.

    The breakdown of when and how much $ will be helpful for everyone who are planning this year.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Kavitha,

      Although this is for 2014, yet the fees mentioned is correct except that $2000 fees is replaced with $4000.

      If petition is not selected in lottery, USCIS doesn’t keep a dime and returns everything. By law, employer should pay for the fees but if you have paid them the fees, then it b/w you and them as to what is returned.

      1. Kavitha

        Hello Saurabh,

        Say these are the fees which needs to be paid , Base H1B filing fee – 325$ I’m sure this need to be paid on petition submission.

        Were these paid to USCIS after the application is picked in lottery or during petition submission?

        H1B ACWIA fee – 1500$ (if MNC)
        Fraud Prevention and Detection fee – 500$.
        Public Law 111-230 – 2000$ or 4000$ depending on the ratio of H1 and L1 workers

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Kavitha,

          All fees need to be paid at the time of submitting the petition. If it is selected in lottery, USCIS will cash the checks. If it is not selected in lottery, all checks are returned and USCIS doesn’t keep a dime.

      2. Vijay

        Hi Saurabh,
        Based on your reply does it mean H1B filing fee is now

        325$ + 1500 $ + 500$ + 4000 $ + 1225$ (Premium)
        = 7550$?

        Is my calculation correct?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Vijay,

          Well for employers having more than 50 employees w/ more than 50% of them on H-1 or L-1 and applying in PP, that would be the cost.

          1. Vijay

            Hi Saurabh,

            Just wanted to confirm.

            As the first step of an H1B is to file an LCA, is there a fee which an employer has to pay to the DOL?
            My employer mentioned that everytime you get a project in a different state you have to re-file the LCA for that state and its wages. This is called LCA amendment. And as per my employer each time the LCA is amended it costs 8000 USD. Is this correct?

            Can you please confirm?

  6. administrator
    Saurabh

    As noted by other immigration lawyers today, the additional fees is only for initial petition and change of employer petitions. In other words, H-1 extensions are exempted from this fees.

    We will update the article shortly.

    1. Shahul Hameed Jahabar

      Hi Saurabh, I have been working for a Consulting Company on H1 for the past 3 years and I need to apply for Visa extension soon. Does the new fee applicable in my case? Thanks.

      Note: My employer employs more than 50 non-immigrants.

      1. administrator
        Saurabh

        Shahul Hameed Jahabar,

        I didn’t see this question answered anywhere, but my guess is No. Consider 2 scenarios:

        1. Your specific scenario. Original petition was applied before this law went into effect and so no fees was paid. The employer now files extension and falls under this category.

        2. The original petition was filed after the law went into effect but when employer had less than 50 employees. By the time extension is applied, employer has more than 50 employees and falls under this category.

        In both scenarios, I think employer is not required to pay the fees. Still you can check w/ your attorney if they have received official guidance from USCIS on this.

  7. Rao

    Hi,

    I will be applying for my 4th H1B extension with the same employer. My employer has about 70 employees and 80% of them are on H1B Visas. Will my employer have to pay the new fee of $4000 along with extension fee of $325.

    Thank You

      1. Pavan

        As per the final law new fee ($4000) is not applicable for extensions with same employer, same is confirmed by murthy law firm and immigrationgirl.

  8. Anand Vaishampayan

    This is really good information on the USCIS guidance on H-1 and L-1 fee changes. Thank you for sharing. I did an impact assessment of this change the details of which can be found on this link thetomorrowbeckons.blogspot.com/2016/01/h-1b-l-1-visa-fee-increases.html

  9. Ganesh

    Hello,
    I am planning for H1B for coming year. Can you please provide me list of consultancies in India so that I can apply in right way rather than getting trapped by frauds.
    Also please share me approximate fees.

    1. Jon

      did u seriously ask that question???

      Indian consultancies are a fraud to begin with so u cannot avoid fraudsters.

      Its people like you who eat up all the visas. I hope all the consultancies get busted.

  10. Jon

    The rule says 2 things:

    1. More than 50 employees and
    2. More than 50% employees on h1 and L1

    My company has more than 50 employees but definitely only 5-10% of the work force might be on h1 or L1 visas. So is the fee increase valid here?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Rohan,

      If you look in the article link (which has screenshot of actual bill), it has the text “including an application for extension of such status”. This refers to extension petition. Actually this broadly covers both H-1 extension and H-1 transfer.

  11. Veera

    Keeping the other fees intact
    base processing fee, USD 325
    Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, USD 500
    American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 fee (when required), as well as the USD 1500

    Fees will be USD 2325 / USD 6325, depending on the company size. Please correct if I am wrong here

  12. Venkat

    Hello,

    Thanks for the information. Will it have any impact on already approved (H1-B stamped) application during immigration check?

  13. naga

    Hello,
    Thank you for the insight. I find this article helpful.
    I just have one question . Does this increased fee law applies to H-1B extension too ?

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