MUMBAI: The basic application fee for an H-1B visa application will rise to $555 from existing $460 – a hike of nearly 21%. The base filing fees for L-1 visas (used for intra company transfers) will rise significantly by 75% to $805.
The new filing fees come into effect from October. As visa application fees are borne by the sponsoring employer, these hikes will make hiring and deputation of foreign employees more expensive.
As per the latest available statistics, of the 3.88 lakh H-1B visas issued during the fiscal ended September 30, 2019, nearly 2.78 lakh (or 72% of the total) were allotted to Indians. This figure includes visa extensions. While Indians constitute the largest holders of H-1B visas, US-headquartered companies hire a significant number of H-1B workers. Recent country-wise data of L-1 visas is not available.
Currently, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the immigration agency of the US government is seeking a $1.2 billion emergency funding from the government. It has postponed lay off of nearly 13,000 members of its workforce to August-end. Typically, the agency is largely funded by filing fees.
At present, companies with more than 50 employees, more than 50% of whom are in H-1B or L-1 status, must pay an additional $4,000 fee for each new H-1B visa and $ 4,500 for each new L-1B visa. Now, fees will also be payable for visa renewals (extensions) and is expected to garner $200 million annually.
Spouses of H-1B workers (ie: those holding an H-4 dependent visa) will now have to shell out $550 to obtain a work permit, a rise of 34%. Fees for applying for citizenship have risen from 640 to $1,170, which is a significant rise of nearly 83%. Fees have also been hiked for various services such as biometrics.