Many US companies utilize the H-1B visa to hire workers in specialty occupations. This category of non-immigrant visas requires that applicants have at least a bachelor’s degree or advanced working experience in a field of expertise.
Once a foreign national receives US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approval to work as an employee under H-1B status, the US employer is allowed to employ the worker for up to six years.
In this article, you will find out the total cost of the H-1B filing fees 2021.
Explaining the H-1B Visa – What Is It?
The H-1B visa permits a foreign national to enter the United States to work in a specialty occupation for a limited period of time.
Notice that a foreign national cannot apply directly for an H-1B visa, as the process requires a US employer to petition for the employee’s entry.
Typically, the term “specialty occupation” refers to a job whose nature is so specialized and complex that the knowledge/ability required to perform the required duties is associated with the accomplishment of an advanced degree.
USCIS regulations provide the main characteristic of a specialty occupation job as “requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of human endeavor.”
H-1B Visa – Essential Information
Once an employee receives the USCIS approval to obtain an H-1B visa, he/she must continue to be employed by the sponsoring employer to stay under H-1B status.
In case his/her employment ends for whatever reason, the employee under H1-B status must leave the United States. However, he/she can stay in the United States if they apply for and obtain a change of status, or if they find another job compatible with the H-1B status.
The period granted for workers under H-1B status is typically three years, but employers can extend this period for a maximum of six years.
Plus, foreign nationals under H-1B status can bring their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years to the United States as dependents.
Obtaining an H-1B Visa – Does It Apply Only for a Specific Field of Expertise?
The H-1B visa does not only apply for a specific field of expertise. Instead, applicants from a wide array of fields of expertise can be hired to work in the United States temporarily.
In this sense, USCIS regulations provide that the concept of specialty occupation includes, but is not limited to:
- Physical sciences
- Medicine and health (e.g., doctors, dentists, nurses, physiotherapists, etc.)
- Architecture and engineering
- Computing (e.g., programmers)
- Business specialties
H-1B Filing Fees 2021- In Detail
Applying to temporarily hire skilled workers in the United States under H-1B status involves certain fees throughout the process. The government filing fees include the l-129 fee, the ACWIA fee, the anti-fraud fee and the premium processing fee which is optional.
Firstly, there is the I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker fee, which costs $460. The employer has to pay this fee to file an initial H-1B petition, to petition an extension of an H1-B status, or to amend an H-1B petition.
The acronym ACWIA stands for American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act, which was enacted in 1998 with provisions concerning high-skilled immigration to the United States—particularly skilled workers under H-1B status.
The ACWIA fee varies. If the H-1B employer has fewer than 25 full-time workers, the fee costs $750. On the other hand, if the H-1B employer has 26 or more full-time workers, the fee costs $1,500.
Notice that H-1B employers do not have to pay the ACWIA fee if they are:
- Filing a second/subsequent extension of status petition
- Filing an amended petition and not requesting an extension of stay
The anti-fraud fee costs $500, applying only for H-1B employers who are filing an initial H-1B petition or in case they want to employ a skilled worker that already worked for another H-1B employer before. Thus, no H-1B extension petition requires the payment of an anti-fraud fee.
H-1B employers also have the option to pay a $2,500 premium processing fee if they want to expedite the process.
It is worth noticing that the premium processing fee is the only fee that can be paid by an H-1B employee, as all other fees must be paid exclusively by the employer.
We Can Help You Succeed as an H-1B Employer in Florida
Hiring skilled workers utilizing the H-1B visa is not an easy task as the USCIS has an annual cap that only issues 85,000 visas per year. Attorney Romy B. Jurado Esq., is an experienced immigration attorney to help you dealing with H-1B applications.