If your company wants to hire a foreign worker one option is to sponsor them as an employee for an H1B non-immigrant visa. The employee cannot file the petition on their own, and must have a US company as a qualified sponsor under the H1B visa rules.
As you might imagine, there are various fees and costs to prepare, file and process the petition, so here is simple breakdown of what you might have to pay. The total cost will depend on the size of the employer, overall percentage of employees on non-immigrant work visas and other optional services.
Most of these fees have to be paid by the sponsoring employer, and cannot be paid by the H1B beneficiary (worker). The exceptions are Premium Processing fees and attorney fees that can be paid by either the sponsor or the beneficiary, but are typically paid by the sponsoring employer.
H1B Filing Fee – (Paid with the I-129 Petition) $325
This is the basic filing fee paid by all sponsors to submit the petition, regardless of whether it is eventually approved or falls within the H1B visa numerical cap. This fee cannot be waived.
There may be an additional filing fee for when the worker is applying from abroad, and will vary depending on the US consulate of the foreign country.
American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) Fee – $1,500 (25 employees or more) or $750 (less than 25 employees)
Sponsors with more than 25 employees will pay a fee of $1,500, and those with fewer than 25 employees will pay $750.
Some sponsoring entities are exempt from this fee including:
- Institutions of higher education or affiliated non-profits
- Non-profit research institutions
- Primary or secondary schools
Fee for Sponsors Have More Than 50 Employees (and over 50% are on a non-immigrant work visa) – $4,000
This fee amount was increased recently, and will apply to certain large employers who rely on the H1B (or other work visas like the L-1) for more than 50% of their employees.
H1B Fraud Fee – $500
The fraud fee must be paid for initial H1B petitions as well as transfers to a new employer. It does not have to be paid for H1B extensions with the same employer.
Premium Processing Fee (optional) – $1,225
Premium Processing Service is available for H1B visa petitions (as well as many other visa types), which guarantees either approval or denial within 15 days. If they USCIS does not meet the 15 day deadline, they will refund the fee and continue to expedite your application. If you are in a hurry to hire your worker, it may be worth the extra expense.
Attorneys Fees (optional) – $1,000 to $3,000
If you hire an attorney to prepare and file the H1B petition their fees will need to be paid, and will vary according to their experience and complexity of your petition. If you are sponsoring a worker for a startup company or believe the job is cap exempt, then an attorney may be a worthwhile investment.
Maximum USCIS Fees – $7,650
For some employers the total fees payable for an H1B visa petition could reach as high as $7,650, if premium processing is used. Adding attorney fees could bring the total to over $10,000 per employee, a significant investment considering that there is no guarantee that a visa will be awarded via the H1B visa lottery.
If you have questions about the H1B petition, filing fees or the need for an attorney please contact us. There may be ways to minimize the fees that you pay for your petition.
- May 17th, 2016