Fee Increases for H-1B and L-1

If you are filing an H-1B, L-1A or L-1B petition soon, a new law (Public Law 111-230) may affect the fees you pay as well as the petition process. Be sure to follow USCIS guidelines to avoid delays.

President Barak Obama signed Public Law 111-230 into law on 13 August 2010. This law, among other things, has provisions which allow the petition fees for some H-1B and L-1 petitions to increase. Starting in August 2010, the H-1B visa petitions will face an added fee of $2000 while some L-1A and L-1B petitions will face an additional $2250 fee. The L-1A and L-1B petition fee increases will apply to all petitions postmarked on or after 14 August 2010. The fee increases will last until September 30, 2010.

Only those petitions who have at least 50 employees in the US and those have more than half of their employees in the US under L or H-1B status will be affected by the fee changes. This will include all petitioners applying for for L-1A, L-1B and L-2 status. The fee will affect those who are applying for an L-1 or H-1B petition in order to grant someone nonimmigrant status or in order to grant someone with such status authorization to change employers.

Advice from the USCIS for petitioners

The USCIS will soon be altering the process and instructions for Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) in order to better comply with the new Public Law 111-230. While the new process takes shape, there may be some initial confusion among applicants. The USCIS is suggesting that applicants filing for H-1B, L-1A and L-1B status include either proof of why the new fee does not apply or the new fee itself.

If you are submitting an H-1B, L-1A or L-1B petition, the USCIS recommends that you indicate whether a fee is require at the top of your cover letter. Use bold font for this information. If the USCIS does not receive this information with your petition, it may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE). This will help the USCIS determine whether your petition is affected by Public Law 111-230 or not. Even if you include evidence, the USCIS may file an RFE to get further clarification. The issuing of an RFE may delay your petition, which is why it is important to include as much evidence in as clear a manner as possible while filing an H-1B, L-1A or L-1B petition initially, while Public Law 111-230 is new.

If you are affected by new fees under the new law, keep in mind that the new fees for some H-1B, L-1A or L-1B petitions will be in addition to any fees — such as the Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, the processing fee, the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee, and any additional fees. If you are filing an H-1B, L-1A or L-1B petition, keep these fees and costs in mind.