US increased H-1B and L-1 petition fees

Jan 14, 2016 17:57 IST

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on 12 January 2016 notified revised petition fees for H-1B and L-1 visas. The increase in the fees is in tune with the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 that was signed into law by Barack Obama, the President of the USA, on 18 December 2015.

As per the revision, the petitioners must submit an additional fee of 4000 US dollars for certain H-1B visas and 4500 US dollars for certain L-1A and L-1B visas.

The increased fees are applicable to petitioners who applied on or after 18 December 2015 and will be in force till 30 September 2025.

This fee is in addition to the base processing fee, Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 fee (when required), as well as the premium processing fee, if applicable.

Further, the additional fees apply to petitioners who employ 50 or more employees in the United States, with more than 50 percent of those employees in H-1B or L (including L-1A and L-1B) nonimmigrant status.

Impact on India

The upward revision in fees is considered as a setback to Indian information technology companies as they are much dependent on the popular H-1B or L type visas to send their employees for onsite services to the USA.

As per a study released in September 2014 by the NASSCOM, India’s IT industry trade association, Indian IT companies paid between 70 and 80 million US dollars annually for the U.S. Treasury in the form various visa fees.

With the present hike in the visa fees, Indian IT companies are expected to pay between 1.4 billion and 1.6 billion US dollars annually till 2025.

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