US Visa Fee Increase On Various Non-Immigrant Visas

US Visa Fee Increase On Various Non-Immigrant Visas

The United States has recently announced a substantial hike in fees for various non-immigrant visas, such as the H-1B, L-1, and EB-5, set to take effect from April 1, 2024.

Among these, the H-1B visa stands out as a crucial non-immigrant category that enables US companies to engage foreign workers in specialised occupations requiring theoretical or technical expertise. 

The technology sector relies on the H-1B visa to recruit thousands of skilled professionals annually from countries like India and China.

The EB-5 program, initiated by the U.S. government in 1990, facilitates high-net-worth foreign investors in obtaining US visas for themselves and their families by investing a minimum of $500,000 in a US business, creating a minimum of 10 jobs for American workers.

Effective April 1, the new H-1B application visa fee (Form I-129) will increase from $460 to $780. Additionally, the H-1B registration fee will surge from $10 to $215, beginning next year. 

The fee for L-1 visas will see a notable increase from $460 to $1,385, and EB-5 visa fees, commonly referred to as investor visas, will skyrocket from $3,675 to $11,160, according to a federal notification issued on January 31.

The L-1 visa is designed for intracompany transferees, allowing multinational companies to temporarily transfer certain employees from foreign offices to work in the US.

The Department of Homeland Security emphasises that the fee adjustments, along with modifications to forms and fee structures used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will result in net costs, benefits, and transfer payments.

Over the 10 years from FY 2024 through FY 2033, the DHS estimates annualised net costs to the public at $157,005,952, discounted at 3% and 7%. The total net costs over a decade are projected to be $1,339,292,617 (discounted at 3%) and $1,102,744,106 (discounted at 7%).

The DHS justifies the changes in the final rule by pointing out various benefits to both the government and applicants/petitioners seeking immigration benefits. For the government, benefits include reduced administrative burdens, fewer fee processing errors, increased efficiency in the adjudicative process, and a more accurate assessment of the cost of providing services, leading to better-aligned fees in future regulations.

Applicants/petitioners, on the other hand, can expect reduced fee processing errors, increased efficiency in the adjudicative process, simplified fee payment processes for certain forms, elimination of the $30 returned check fee, and, for many applicants, limited fee increases and additional fee exemptions to alleviate financial burdens. It is worth noting that the federal notification has also made minor reductions in visa application fees in several categories.

Are you ready to submit your Schengen Visa application? Talk to us in the comment section below. Or if you need more advice on the above, contact us for further travel & immigration advice.

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