H-1B Fees

Rules for H-1B Fees

Any employer who utilizes the H-1B visa program to supplement its workforce needs to understand the rules regarding the payment of the various H-1B fees. First, what are the fees? Can an H-1B worker pay the fees associated with the H-1B petition? Can the employer impose a penalty on the worker if it pays for the H-1B visa and the worker quits?

These questions and more are answered below. If you have additional questions on the H-1B visa process or H-1B fees, contact the experienced immigration lawyer at Columbus, Ohio based Porter Law Office, LLC today.

Employer v. Employee Fees for H-1Bs

H-1b fees attorney columbus ohio immigration lawyer

H-1B Fees for CAP, Transfers, Extensions, Amendments

A good starting place regarding H-1B fees is the Department of Labor Fact Sheet #62H. This fact sheet states that an H-1B worker cannot pay fees and costs associated with the H1B visa application if doing so would reduce an H-1B worker’s pay below the required wage rate. See 20 C.F.R. § 655.731(c)(9).

But there are certain fees that an H1B worker can never be required to pay. These include a penalty for the worker’s failure to complete the full employment period, the training and processing fee imposed by USCIS, and the $500 fraud protection and detection fee. See I.N.A. § 212(n) and § 214(c).

With regards to the payment of H-1B fees, it is a best practice to advise clients in a manner that  protects the employer in the event of a Department of Labor audit or on-site visit. Accordingly, an employer should not require that the H-1B worker pay any fees and costs associated with the H1B visa process, including attorney’s fees, expenses, and premium processing fees.

The total H-1B visa fee depends on the type of case:

Fees for New H-1B Visa (Cap Petition)

The government filing fees for filing a cap subject H-1B petition include: $460 base fee for the I-129 (as of December 23, 2016), the ACWIA fee ($750 for employers with 25 or less full time employees and $1,500 if there are more than 25 employees, and the $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee.

 The following organizations are not required to pay the ACWIA fee:

  • An institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965;
  • A nonprofit entity that is related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education, as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965;
  • A nonprofit research organization or governmental research organization;
  • A primary or secondary educational institution; or
  • A nonprofit entity which engages in an established curriculum-related clinical training program for students.

The ACWIA fee is also not required when:

  • A petitioner files its second or subsequent request for an extension of stay with the same employer for a foreign worker;
  • A petitioner files an amended petition that does not contain any requests to extend the validity of the petition it seeks to amend; or
  • A petition is filed solely to correct a USCIS error. To be considered exempt from the ACWIA fee, however, such petition may not contain any requests to extend the validity of the petition it seeks to correct, unless the USCIS error involves the validity dates.

Plus a $4,000 fee for H-1B petitioners that employ 50 or more employees in the United States if more than 50 percent of these employees are in H-1B, L-1A or L-1B nonimmigrant status. PL 114-113 was signed into law Dec. 18, 2015, and is valid until Sept. 30, 2025. The fee is applicable for petitions filed on or after Dec. 18, 2015.

The additional fee under Public Law 114-113, if otherwise applicable, is required when the Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee is also required.  As such, petitioners subject to the new fee must submit the fee with an H-1B or L-1 petition filed:

  • Initially to grant status to a nonimmigrant described in subparagraph (H)(i)(b) or (L) of section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act; or
  • To obtain authorization for a nonimmigrant in such status to change employers.

Optional $1,225 premium processing fee. Annual cap is 65,000. Applications are accepted six months prior to the start of the fiscal year. April 1 is the earliest an application can be submitted for an October 1 start date.

For filing an H-1B visa application, contact the experienced H-1B visa and immigration lawyer at Columbus, Ohio based Porter Law Office, LLC today.

Fees for an H-1B Visa Extension, or Renewal

The government filing fees for filing a cap subject H-1B petition include: $460 base fee for the I-129, and the ACWIA fee ($750 for employers with 25 or less full time employees and $1,500 if there are more than 25 employees.

 The following organizations are not required to pay the ACWIA fee:

  • An institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965;
  • A nonprofit entity that is related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education, as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965;
  • A nonprofit research organization or governmental research organization;
  • A primary or secondary educational institution; or
  • A nonprofit entity which engages in an established curriculum-related clinical training program for students.

The ACWIA fee is also not required when:

  • A petitioner files its second or subsequent request for an extension of stay with the same employer for a foreign worker;
  • A petitioner files an amended petition that does not contain any requests to extend the validity of the petition it seeks to amend; or
  • A petition is filed solely to correct a USCIS error. To be considered exempt from the ACWIA fee, however, such petition may not contain any requests to extend the validity of the petition it seeks to correct, unless the USCIS error involves the validity dates.

Optional $1,225 premium processing fee. The earliest that an extension or renewal can be applied for is 180 days prior to the expiration of the current H-1B visa.

Fees for an H1B Visa Transfer

An H1B visa transfer petition takes approximately 2-3 months for USCIS approval. The H1B employee may work for the new company upon filing of the H1B visa transfer petition with USCIS. They do not have to wait for the receipt notice Form I-797 or USCIS approval, see Section 105 AC21.

The government filing fees for filing an H-1B transfer petition include: $460 base fee for the I-129, the ACWIA fee ($750 for employers with 25 or less full time employees and $1,500 if there are more than 25 employees, and the $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee.

 The following organizations are not required to pay the ACWIA fee:

  • An institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965;
  • A nonprofit entity that is related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education, as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965;
  • A nonprofit research organization or governmental research organization;
  • A primary or secondary educational institution; or
  • A nonprofit entity which engages in an established curriculum-related clinical training program for students.

Plus a $4,000 fee for H-1B petitioners that employ 50 or more employees in the United States if more than 50 percent of these employees are in H-1B, L-1A or L-1B nonimmigrant status. See PL 114-113. Optional: $1,225 premium processing fee to process in 15 days. Form I-907 required. Not subject to the annual cap.

Immigration Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio

H-1B Visa Representation

Porter Law Office, LLC has experience in securing H-1B visas for a wide variety of organization and individuals. The H-1B visa process is complex. There are strict federal labor laws and immigration rules and regulations governing H-1B fees. Columbus, Ohio immigration lawyer Matthew R. Porter, Esq. assists employers in complying with the H-1B visa regulations. We can help your organization with H-1B visa petition filings and compliance issues. If your organization is considering sponsoring a foreign national on an H-1B visa, contact Columbus, Ohio immigration lawyer Matthew R. Porter to discuss your H-1B visa options.

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