US Considers a Staggering 2000% Hike in H-1B Visa Fees

United States
#workvisa #visafee

The immigrant and employer communities are in for a shock as the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is considering a 2000% rise in costs for H-1B visas—a move that would be unprecedented.

Postponed Ruling Amid Criticism

Due to budgetary constraints brought on by the epidemic, the USCIS first suggested a thorough fee review that would have an impact on a number of immigration procedures, including the issuance of H-1B visas

During the two-month comment period, the 469-page document detailing fee increases across all categories was met with a great deal of criticism. Following the submission of more than 600 individual and organisation comments, the USCIS made the significant decision to postpone the final ruling's anticipated January 2023 release.

If implemented, the suggested fee adjustments would have a big impact on a number of immigrant categories. The astounding 2050% increase in the H-1B E-registration fee—which went from $10 to $215—is especially concerning. 

In addition, a startling 70% increase—from $460 to $780—is planned for the petition fee for H-1B visa petitions. The USCIS argues that these adjustments are essential to match agency capacity to anticipated workloads and avoid backlogs in the future.

Implications of the Proposed Hikes

There could be a significant effect from these fee increases. The cost of sending talented workers to the US would be greatly impacted by the much higher E-registration and filing fees for employers sponsoring H-1B visas. 

The USCIS argues that these fee adjustments are essential to maintaining agency operations, particularly after the pandemic caused a large reduction in revenue.

The planned fee increases apply to all visa types, not only H-1Bs. There will be significant cost increases for the EB-5 investor programme, which offers a route to a green card through investment. 

I-829 petitions, which seek to remove constraints on permanent resident status, may see a 148% hike to $9,525 while initial I-526 petitions might see a startling 204% increase to $11,160.

Immigration attorneys are already advising clients to make calculated investments in the EB5 programme before any hikes go into effect. These fee modifications are expected to be finalised in December or January 2024, with an implementation date 60-90 days afterward. 

Furthermore, to lessen the effects of increased expenses, those applying for US citizenship or a green card are advised to look into early filing alternatives.

Employers and the immigrant community alike are eagerly awaiting the final verdict and its possible impact on the immigration landscape, as the USCIS struggles with the need for greater income to align capacity with predicted workloads and solve funding gaps.


Are there any changes that would be suggested for visa categories other than H-1B?

Yes, there would be significant increases to the initial I-526 and I-829 petition fees. These fee increases would apply to a number of immigration categories, including the EB-5 investor programme.

How has the pandemic affected the USCIS financially and contributed to the need for fee adjustments?

The pandemic significantly reduced the USCIS's revenue, which resulted in budget shortages, a staffing crisis, and backlogs in processing. These budgetary issues are intended to be addressed by the suggested charge adjustments.


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