The H-1B Specialty Occupation visa is one of the best visa options for eligible foreign nationals to work legally in the United States. The H-1B application process involves several fees, which must be handled adequately before the issuance of the visa.
In this article, you will understand which fees are involved in the H-1B application process.
What is the H-1B Visa? – Understanding the Concept
The H-1B nonimmigrant classification applies to foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States to fill specialty occupation jobs for a temporary period. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) describes a “specialty occupation” as a role that requires:
- “Theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and
- Attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States”
The position offered by the US employer must also meet one of the criteria established by USCIS to qualify as a specialty occupation:
- “Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the particular position
- The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations or, in the alternative, the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
- The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree”
How Much Does it Cost to Sponsor H-1B? – Taking a Closer Look
Applicants may not self-petition for H-1B status with USCIS, as a US employer must apply on a prospective H-1B worker’s behalf. The sponsor is responsible for the payment of all fees involved in the application process.
The first two fees involved are the registration fee ($10) and the standard fee ($460) paid with Form I-129. The standard fee also applies to H-1B refilings, amendments, and renewals.
Sponsors who have one to 25 full-time employees must pay a $750 fee required by the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA). For sponsors with 26 or more full-time employees, the ACWIA Education & Training fee is $1,500.
Depending on the segment of the sponsoring company, it is possible to file for an exemption. Consult with an expert immigration attorney to identify whether the exemption applies to your case.
If the sponsoring employer is a new H-1B petitioner or the applicant is changing employers, USCIS requires the payment of a $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection fee.
For companies with more than 50 employees with over half of their personnel under H-1B or L-1 status, there is an additional $4,000 Public Law 114-113 fee. In certain cases, it is possible to obtain an exemption with USCIS.
While the payment of fees is mandatory for H-1B employers, prospective H-1B employees have the option to pay the premium processing fee ($2,500) to ensure the processing of the petition within 15 days.