Applying for an H-1B visa is an exciting endeavor. However, it’s full of complicated paperwork and costly filing and processing fees. You want to ensure you’re doing each step correctly to avoid paying more than you need to as you complete the forms. These expenses are federally regulated to be paid by the employer, with hefty fines for failure to follow the regulations.
The General H-1B Costs for Employers
When you extend a job offer to a worker who lives outside the United States, it’s not something to do lightly. There are extensive documentation forms to complete and significant costs to pay along the way. It can take months or longer for your potential new hire to receive their H-1B visa, with no guarantee of a successful petition.
However, this process is a business expense, a responsibility of the employer, not the employee. If you fail to adhere to federal regulations, you can be penalized. Before officially extending a job offer, check out these H-1 B-related fees. Then you can decide if the position is worth the expense.
The cost of hiring an employee from overseas includes, in USD:
● $742 processing fee to Office of International Affairs;
● $460 base filing fee to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS);
● $500 anti-fraud fee to USCIS;
● An optional $2,500 for premium processing to expedite the petition’s review
These charges are explained in depth next.
Office of International Affairs
The Office of International Affairs (OIA) is the department H-1B petitions are processed and filed. When you’re ready to process your H-1B petition, you’ll add the departmental account number for FIS to bill. When the request is received, OIA charges a $742 USD processing fee.
This amount is 50% refundable if you or the employee withdraw the employment offer prior to submitting the petition to the USCIS. Note: Once the USCIS receives the petition, this fee is no longer refundable. Per Contracts & Grants, the fee can’t be charged to a grant account.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Better known as USCIS, this organization is where all the base filing fees are applied. Every H-1B petition requires a USCIS filing fee of $460 USD. The employer covers this filing fee, but the employee may be asked to pay for any additional fees for their spouse and dependents. Employers can choose to pay this cost if they prefer.
In addition to the filing fee, there is a $500 USD anti-fraud fee. This applies to changes in visa status, initial visa petitions, and visa transfer requests. It does not apply to H-1B visa extension requests.
Should you request premium processing, you can elect to pay the $2500 fee and have your petition processed within 15 working days. If the USCIS does not review the petition in this time, your fee is refunded, although your petition continues to receive expedited status.
Employers pay this fee if the goal is to obtain authorization for the employee to begin working timely. If the employee wishes to receive faster approval for personal reasons, they can pay the fee instead of the employer. If the decision of who is responsible for the fee is in question, the OIA can review the reasons for the premium processing request and determine who should pay.
Please note: The normal preparation time for the submission of an H-1B petition is two to three months without complications or delays. However, processing time can take three months or longer. If the employee holds a valid H-1B status, they can begin working as soon as they are notified that the petition was received by USCIS. Otherwise, employment cannot begin until the petition is approved. These dates may help you decide whether premium processing is necessary or not.
After reviewing the fees, you’ve decided that the employee is worth the cost you’ll incur to hire them from overseas. Still, you don’t want to spend anything extra to fix mistakes or wait too long for the petition to be approved. To avoid these costly and unnecessary expenses, contact Visa2US. Our professional experts will work with you to file all the documents seamlessly and answer your questions through the H-1B petition process.