Workers and businesses hoping to take advantage of employment-based immigration opportunities in the U.S. are facing a new hurdle: significantly higher petition fees. Come Oct. 2, 2020, a slew of filing fee hikes will come into effect.
While increases are happening across the board, businesses and international workers will be among those hit the hardest. Fees for many of these petitions will jump hundreds of dollars. Here is a look at some of the most notable changes.
Higher fees for employment-based visa applications
These fee increases were initially proposed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in November of 2019. It took about eight months before officials released the final rule. While a handful of petitions are becoming less expensive, most are seeing price jumps.
As explained in this Forbes piece, many businesses and workers should take heed. The petition fees associated with the visas below all previously came with a $460 price tag. Here is how each will change under this new rule:
- H-1B – $555 (21% increase)
- L – $805 (75% increase)
- O – $705 (53% increase)
- TN – $695 (51% increase)
- E – $695 (51% increase)
- P – $695 (51% increase)
- Q – $695 (51% increase)
- R – $695 (51% increase)
- H-2A – $850/$415 for named/unnamed (up to 85% increase)
- H-2B – $715/$385 for named/unnamed (up to 55% increase)
- H-3 – $695 – (51% increase)
Additional changes to keep in mind
The immigration fee increases are not the only aspect of the rule change that might impact international workers and businesses that utilize global talent.
Companies with more than 50 employees, with at least half of their workers on H-1B and L-1 visas, could face additional fees beyond the current $4,000-$4,500. This is due to the agency redefining an existing rule, which provides more latitude for when it may charge a business these fees.
In addition, the cost of premium processing will remain the same. However, it may now take 15 business days, not 15 calendar days – meaning you are potentially paying the same price for slower turnaround time.
In most cases, filing fees are non-refundable, even in the event USCIS denies your request. With these significantly increased costs, it becomes more important than ever to ensure all of your bases are covered when filing an immigration petition.