US visa fee hike: Take a look at the new H-1B, L-1 and EB-5 visa cost | Personal Finance


h1b visa

US H-1B visa: This year, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has introduced a fully online system for the registration process. Photo: Shutterstock

In a significant development that came into effect on April 1, 2024, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented a series of fee increases for various immigration processes. This change followed a decision by Judge Charlotte N Sweeney of the US District Court for the District of Colorado on March 29, who ruled against blocking the new fee structure. Bloomberg reported that the judge’s decision was based on the plaintiffs’ inability to demonstrate that the fee hikes would result in immediate, significant, and irreparable harm.

These adjustments in fees may have a considerable impact on Indian nationals seeking to work or invest in the United States, especially for those applying for H-1B, L-1, and EB-5 visas, which are among the most commonly pursued visa types by Indians.

Visa fee hike

USCIS has introduced a substantial hike in the costs associated with several key immigration forms and services. For example, employers sponsoring H-1B visa petitions will face a 70% increase in fees, while those filing for L-1 and O-1 visas will see their costs go up by 201% and 129%, respectively. Additionally, a new Asylum Programme fee of $600 will be charged for specific worker and immigrant petitions. Notably, the H-1B electronic registration fee will also soar from $10 to $215, according to USCIS.

Impact on Indian nationals

H-1B visa fee hike

The H-1B visa, crucial for many Indian IT professionals seeking employment in the US, will now cost significantly more. The application fee for the H-1B visa has been raised from $460 (over Rs 38,000) to $780 (over Rs 64,000), with the registration fee also jumping from $10 (Rs 829) to $215 (over Rs 17,000). This increase could affect the tech industry, which relies heavily on this visa category to fill specialised positions.

L-1 visa fee hike

The L-1 visa, enabling the transfer of employees from foreign offices to the US, has also seen a dramatic fee increase. The new cost for an L-1 visa application has risen from $460 (over Rs 38,000) to $1,385 (over Rs 110,000).

EB-5 visa changes

For the EB-5 investor visa, the fee has escalated from $3,675 (over Rs 300,000) to $11,160 (over Rs 900,000). This significant increase could influence the decisions of wealthy Indians looking to invest in the US for residency purposes.

First Published: Apr 02 2024 | 9:52 AM IST


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