H1B Visa is one of the most sought visas for high skilled workers to work in America. Depending on the size and status of the company, the H1B petition filing fee could vary a lot. Also, it is important to understand who pays for what fee during the end-to-end H1B visa process. In this article, we cover all the details related to H1B Visa filing, application fee, including who pays for what portion of it. Also, we track the latest news related to H1B Visa fee changes, including H1B Visa FY 2023 season
Overall H1B Visa Fees : USCIS Fee, Visa Stamping Fee
If you look at the end-to-end H1B Visa process from submitting an H1B Registration to getting H1B Visa Stamped in the passport, there are two main agencies that you pay the fee to as listed below
- USCIS : You work with USCIS in the first step, where you pay for registration, application and various other fees to USCIS to get the approval notice.
- US Dept of State ( US Consulates ) : If you are applying for H1B from outside of United States, you also need valid H1B Visa stamp to enter US and work. You need to apply for US Visa at a consualte for the same. As part of that process, you work with US Consulates or embassies and this the other fee an H1B visa holeer would pay.
Let’s look in detail the fees that is paid to each of these agencies and who pays for what part of the same.
H1B Registration, Petition Filing Fee with USCIS
If you are going through the H1B lottery, you would start with H1B Registration Process and then submit the H1B petition with USCIS, if you get selected in H1B Lottery. H1B Visa filing with USCIS involves a set of fees that every employer has to pay. Not all of the fee components apply to all employers, they vary by company size and the other factors as explained below.
Below is the breakdown of the fee type, fee amount in USD, and details of the fee.
H1B Filing Fee
Fee in USD
What is the Fee for ?
|H1B Registration Fee||$10||This is for H1B Registration filing before filing the actual petition. Applicable only to new H1B filings. It was introduced from FY 2021 season.|
|Base filing fee||$460||This is the I-129 Form Application Fee|
|This is a fee as per the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act(ACWIA) of 1998. $750 for employers with 1 to 25 full-time employees and $1500 for employers with 26 or more full-time equivalent employees|
|Fraud prevent & detection fee||$500||Only applies to New cap-subject filings and H1B Transfers with Change of employer. Does not apply to Chile and Singapore based H1B1 petitions|
|Fee-based on Public Law 114-113||$4000||Applicable, if 50 or more employees and more than 50% of employees are on H1B or L1 Visa status, required for new H1B filing and change of employers.|
Read the H1B fee increase $4000 rule to check if it applies to your case.
|Premium processing fee (Optional)||$2,500||For faster adjudication within 15 calendar days. Until Oct 19th, 2020, it was $1,440. The fee changed to $2,500 based on the congress bill. Check USCIS news|
|Immigration Attorney Fee||Varies from $500 to $3000||This varies depending on the attorney. This fee applies to companies that work with third-party immigration attorneys for filing the H1B Visa petitions. Some large organizations have in-house attorneys. If the employer does not have any in-house attorney, it would cost them anywhere from $500 to $3000.|
In summary, depending on the size of the company, the H1B filing cost can vary anywhere from $1,710 USD to $7,910 USD + the Attorney fee( if any). You may watch the H1B Visa fee YouTube video.
Who pays for H1B Filing Fee with USCIS ?
Many of you would wonder, who would pay for the H1B petition. For the most part, it is an employer’s ( H1B Sponsor) expense. You as an H1B employee or the beneficiary should NOT pay for it. Below are the details on who pays for what fee. When you see ‘Employer‘ in below table, it is nothing but the Company that is sponsoring your H1B Visa
H1B Fee Type
Who Pays ?
|H1B Registration Fee||Employer||It is the employer’s expense as they are hiring the applicant. Only for first-time cap-subject petitions.|
|Base filing fee||Employer|
It is employer’s business expense as they intend to hire a highly-skilled individual and bring them on-board
|AICWA Fee||Employer||Law requires that this fee is never passed to the employee being hired or any other third party.|
|Fraud prevent & detection fee||Employer||Similar to above, it is mandated by law, and employees being hired should NOT pay for it.|
|Fee-based on Public Law 114-113||Employer||This is a law that was passed earlier in 2016 year under the Omnibus bill and has to be paid by the employer.|
|Attorney Fee||Employer||As the H1B petition is filed by the company, it is them who are working with the attorney and hence employer has to pay for this as well.|
|Premium processing fee (Optional)||Employer|
|This is an optional fee. |
Either employer or H1B Applicant can pay for this fee.
If an H1B applicant pays for it, the employer has to demonstrate to DOL that it was expedited due to your personal reasons.
|Visa Stamping fee ( fee involved in getting H1B visa at US consulate )||varies by country||This is an optional expense for employers. Many employers pay for the visa stamping fee. But it depends on the employer. |
As per law, all the costs involved in obtaining a visa at consulate, including cost involved in translation of your credentials, etc. are H1B applicant’s expenses. It will NOT be an employer’s expense. The employer would only send you the documents required for visa stamping.
H1B Visa Stamping Fee with US Dept of State
If the H1B applicant is living outside of the US, they need to get H1B Visa Stamp to enter the US. In order to apply for the same, after the H1B petition is approved by USCIS, the applicant has to go through the US Visa Stamping process. Below are details on who pays for the same.
H1B Visa Stamping Fee
Fee in USD
What is the Fee for ?
|H1B Visa Application Fee||$190||This is the US Visa Stamping Application Fee. This is for the issuance of H1B Visa. You need to pay this for getting Visa Stamping Appointment and getting biometrics, visa interview appointments and ultimately visa stamp in your passport. |
Check US Dept of State Website for Visa Fee
|Photos, Documents Translation, Transport, etc.||Not fixed, varies by case.||These are administrative expenses that you would incur when you apply for US Visa Stamping. If your documents are not in English, you may need to translate them. You also would incur the cost of transportation and stay, if you are not in the same city as the consulate.|
Who pays for H1B Visa Stamping Fee with US Dept of State
Below are the details on who pays for the H1B Visa Stamping fee and guidance from US Dept of Labor on the same.
H1B Visa Stamping Fee
Why Pay ?
|H1B Visa Application Fee||H1B Applicant||As per the US Dept of Labor, all the fees related to your H1B Visa application at a US Consualte or US Embassy are H1B applicant’s personal obligation and do not fall under employer business expense. See below screenshot under the table. |
Even though employers are not obligated, many times, H1B employers have an immigration or travel department and they book the US Visa appointment and pay the fee as well. So, it depdns on the company.
|Photos, Documents Translation, Transport, etc.||H1B Applicant||Similar to above, these are personal obligation and usually paid by the applicant. But, sometimes, companies travel desk arragnes for all of these and they pay for the same as well.|
To avoid confusion and protect the employee’s best interests, the US Department of labor(DOL) has a great tool that will help you verify. You can check out the article H1B Online advisory tool by DOL
Latest News Updates on H1B Fee Changes
- February 2022 : There are no fee change for the upcoming H1B 2023 Season.
- 2021 Year : There were no fee changes for FY 2022 season since the last update of H1B premium processing fee from Oct 2020.
- October 2020: The Premium Processing fee increased to $2,500 USD for H1B program based on a bill passed in Congress. Check USCIS Premium Processing Fee Changes, New Options for EAD
- July 2020 : USCIS announced the changes to various fees in July 2020. There was an overall average increase of 20% fee increase. This fee change include H1B visa base filing fee too. It is set to be effective from October 2nd, 2020. Check USCIS Fee increase H1B Fee – Oct 2020
- March 2020 : There were two fee changes for FY 2021 season .
- H1B Registration Fee : One of the biggest changes for FY 2021 season is introduction of the new registration system for lottery, before filing the actual petition with USCIS. As part of that change, USCIS will charge $10 USD fee per applicant for the registration process. You can read more at H1B Registration Rule – Updates, Fee.
- Premium Processing Fee change : The optional premium processing fee for H1B is going up from $1410 to $1440 USD. It is a $30 increase in the fee. This was effective from Dec 2nd, 2019. So, for FY 2021, this fee change will apply as well.
- October 2018 : From October 1st, 2018, the Premium processing fee went up to $1,410 USD
- FY 2017 Fee Changes : For FY 2017, there were changes to the filing fee, the H1B petition filing fee increased by $4000 USD for certain employers who fall under the below category and base filing fee went up in Dec 2016. All the companies that have 50 or more employees and 50% of their employees are non-immigrant workers need to pay an additional fee of $4000 USD. The fee increase is applicable for new petitions and transfers, but not applicable to extension petitions with the same employer. This fee is additional fee to the standard H1B fee that is applicable.
No, it is not legal to pay the H1B fee as an applicant. It is employer’s business expense and they need pay for all the expenses related to H1B visa Petition filing.
This is a subjective thing and discretionary expense. Depending on the circumstances the employee may pay this fee. But, the employee has to justify this to US Dept of Labor, if asked that it was due to personal situation.
No, it is not legal to pay for the H1B Visa filing process by the applicant. It is employer’s expense to file and pay for everything. Anything like the payback agreement is not legal.
For official documentation, you can check USCIS.gov H and L Filing Fee page for up to date information
Did you pay any fee? What was your experience working with your employer for H1B filing ?