U.S. employers will likely face significant fee increases when sponsoring foreign national workers via employment-based visas. This change comes after two recently published notices appeared in the Federal Register. According to the State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they intend to increase fees for certain nonimmigrant and immigrant services.
On January 4, 2023, the USCIS published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. This notice would raise the filing fees for many nonimmigrant and immigrant petitions. These increases will affect many of the most popular petitions filed by employers. These petitions include H-1B, L-1, O-1, TN visas, and more.
Currently, the base fee of $460 covers every type of temporary work visa petition that uses the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129). However, under the proposed fee increases, the filing fees would become the following:
Another notable fee increase includes the H-1B electronic registration system. Currently, the fee to use this system is only $10 per worker; however, the proposed increases would cost $215 for each worker. That change is an increase of over 2,000%. Many employers may think twice about how many workers they want to register with that increase.
In addition to the USCIS’s proposed increases, the U.S. Department of State recently received approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget for a final rule to increase its fees for certain visa services. This approval clears the way for the Department to publish the final rule. These fee increases, as provided in the proposed rule, include the following:
|Petition Type||Current Fee||Increased Fee|
|Non-petition-based nonimmigrant visa (except E category)||$160||$245|
|H, L, O, P, Q, and R category nonimmigrant visa||$190||$310|
|E nonimmigrant visa||$205||$485|
|J waiver of two-year residency requirement||$120||$510|
|Border Crossing Card–age fifteen and over (10-year validity)||$160||$245|
In itself, this represents a 63% increase in fees for H, L, O, P, Q, and R category visas which is a significant increase. Despite the percentages, the Department of State predicts these increases will have a relatively small impact on the cost of employing foreign national workers.
After considering both proposed increases, employers will likely see increased costs in upcoming fiscal years. However, neither proposed increase is guaranteed because the final rule must still undergo the 60-day public comment period. After this period, the USCIS can publish it, though it will not affect pre-registration for H-1B visas this year. Until then, the details of the final rule remain unknown.
However, one thing for sure is that employers should expect changes across the regulatory environment. For example, complying with the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process proves challenging. The best way for employers to remain compliant with these ever-shifting regulations is by incorporating an electronic I-9 tool. This tool can provide step-by-step guidance, reminders, and convenient storage of forms and documentation.
Make things less complicated for your business by automating your employment eligibility verification and ensuring compliance with I-9 Compliance.