Some H-1B and L-1 Petitioners Face Higher Fees

Fees Rising for Visa ApplicationsPetitioners for certain H-1B and L-1 submissions are facing fee increases due to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed by President Obama on December 18, 2015. For petitioners who employ 50 or more people in the United States, with half or more of those employees in  H-1B or L (including L-1A and L-1B) nonimmigrant status. The new law requires these petitioners to submit an additional fee of $4,000 for applicable H-1B petitions and $4,500 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions postmarked on or after December 18, 2015, according to a Jan. 12, 2016 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) release.

Specifically, these petitioners are required to submit the additional fees with an H-1B or L-1 petitions for either or these instances:

  • Filed initially to grant status to a nonimmigrant described in subparagraph (H)(i)(b) or (L) of section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act; or
  • Filed to obtain authorization for a nonimmigrant in such status to change employers.

The additional fee is on top of the base processing fee, the Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 fee (when required), as well as the premium processing fee, if applicable. The fees around Public Law 114-113 remain effective through September 30, 2025.

USCIS is currently revising Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition to reflect the new Public Law 114-113 provisions. USCIS advises petitioners to complete Item Numbers 1.d. and 1.d.1 of Section 1 of the H-1B and H-1B1 Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement (Page 19 of Form I-129) and Item Numbers 4.a. and 4.b. of the L Classification Supplement (Page 22 of Form I-129). USCIS warns it might begin rejecting petitions without these items.

USCIS might also issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) to determine if the additional fees applies to the petition. To avoid an RFE, the USCIS release advises petitioners to complete the questions on the Form I-129 noted above and submit the applicable fee when required. This process means USCIS maintains the original filing date as the receipt date. The agency doesn’t reject the application for omission of the fee.

For those who’ve previously submitted a petition with the additional fee, and who believe the fee wasn’t required, should contact the National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 (TDD for the deaf and hard of hearing: 800-767-1833.