The final approval stage has been reached for a revamp of H-1B fees that were announced by USCIS last year, following a comprehensive White House review.
The proposed alterations introduce significant adjustments to fees linked with both temporary and permanent work visas. Particularly, the registration fees for H-1B specialty occupation visas are anticipated to climb to $215, constituting a 40% increase for applicants across diverse categories. The primary impact of these fee adjustments is expected to fall on petitioners seeking employment-based visas.
The original proposal, unveiled in January 2023 as the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), recommended substantial fee hikes for various visa-related applications.
Should the final rule align with the proposed changes from January 2023, it could lead to a considerable rise in costs for US employers sponsoring immigrant employees. For sponsors filing H-1B visa applications, the suggested fees signaled substantial increases, including a noteworthy surge in E-registration costs for the annual H-1B cap lottery, escalating from $10 to $215, seemingly aimed at discouraging misuse of the lottery system. Additionally, fees for applications of selected beneficiaries were anticipated to surge by 70% to $780.
The potential impact of these fee adjustments on the commencement of the FY 2025 H-1B cap season in March 2024 remains uncertain.
The US immigration agency has already communicated an upcoming hike in premium processing fees for H-1B applications, slated to increase by 12% to $2,805 starting February 26. Employers sponsoring H-1B applications will need to account for these additional costs.
The NPRM also outlined fee hikes for citizenship (naturalization), with costs set to climb from $640 to $760, representing a 19% increase. Notably, substantial proposed increases were outlined for EB-5 investors participating in the investment-linked green card program.
According to the NPRM, initial I-526 petition fees for investors were proposed to surge by 204% to $11,160, while I-829 petition fees for the removal of conditions on permanent resident status were slated to increase by 148% to $9,535. The final impact of these proposed changes will be disclosed upon the official publication of the rule.