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Increased Fees for H-1B and L1 Visa Petitions

Public Law 111-230 was signed into law by President Barack Obama on 13 August 2010. The law, among other things, increases the fees employers must pay when filing to have their workforce be issued H-1B or L visas. Under the new law, any employer with at least 50 employees and at least half of the workforce on H-1B or L visas will need to pay between $2,000 to $2,250 more for each visa application. This law applies to L-1A, L-1B, and L-2 visa applications. The new fees went into effect immediately in August 2010 upon signing of the law and will continue through 30 September 2014.

In addition to the fee increase, employers filing for H-1B or L-1 visas for their employees will also need to pay extra for expedited processing of visa applications and will also need to pay the standard filing fees on these visa applications as well. USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) has stated that all applicants applying for H-1B or L-1 visas need to be careful to submit all applicable fees – including the new additional fees. In some cases, employers may not meet the requirements for the new fee schedule and may be able to avoid the new fees. For example, if an employer has fewer than 50 workers or has fewer than 50% of the workforce on H-1B or L-1 visas, the employer will not need to pay the additional filing fees. However, the employer will need to submit evidence or a statement with the visa applications, showing that he or she qualified for expectation from the larger fees. If an employer fails to submit the additional fee or evidence of exemption, the USCIS may submit a Request for Evidence to the employer, asking for additional proof that the employer is exempt from the fees.

Employers filing initial H-1B petitions will need to pay an additional $2,000.00 fee as well as the standard filing fee $320.00 for form I-129. Employers may also need to pay a $1,500.00 American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) fee as well as a $500.00 fraud fee and a $1,000.00 premium filing fee. Employers applying for continued H-1B worker employment extensions will not need to pay an additional fee.

Employers filing for L-1 visa status for employees now need to pay a $2,250.00 fee as well as the standard $320.00 filing fee for USCIS form I-129. In addition, employers need to pay a $500.00 fraud fee as well as a $1,000.00 premium filing fee. Employers will need to pay for these fees whether they are applying for L-1 changes or initial L-1 applications. However, employers who are applying for an L-1 employee to continue work with them will not have to pay these additional fees.

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