Visa Fees For H-1B, Other Non-Immigrant Categories Increased By US

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The United States has announced an increase in fees for several non-immigrant visa categories, including the widely utilised H-1B, L-1, and EB-5 visas. The changes, outlined in a federal notification, are scheduled to take effect from April 1, 2024. 

The H-1B visa is for skilled foreign workers in specialised roles, the L-1 facilitates temporary transfers within multinational companies, and the EB-5 is an immigrant investor program.

Fee hike structure:

H-1B Visa:

  • Previous Fee: $460 ( ₹ 38,174)
  • New Fee: $780 (₹ 64,731)
  • Registration Fee Increase: From $10 (Rs 829) to $215 ( ₹ 17,842) starting next year.

Companies, particularly in the technology sector, rely on the H-1B visa to recruit skilled workers, predominantly from nations such as India and China, often in fields such as technology, science, engineering, and mathematics.

L-1 Visa:

  • Previous Fee: $460 (Rs 38,174)
  • New Fee: $1,385 (Rs 1,14,939)

The L-1 visa permits multinational companies to temporarily transfer certain employees from foreign offices to work in the US, facilitating global business operations. The visa has two subcategories: L-1A for executives and managers, and L-1B for employees with specialised knowledge.

EB-5 Visa (Investors’ Visa):

  • Previous Fee: $3,675 (Rs 3,04,983)
  • New Fee: $11,160 (Rs 9,26,153)

It is designed for high-net-worth foreign investors who wish to obtain US visas for themselves and their families by making a significant investment in a US business.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has outlined that the adjustments to fees, along with modifications to forms and fee structures employed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will yield net costs, benefits, and transfer payments. 

Over the next 10 years, DHS estimates that the changes will cost the public around $157 million (Rs 1,302 Crore) annually. The total cost over a decade is projected to be about $1.34 billion (Rs 10,988 Crore). 

However, DHS argues that these changes will benefit both the government and visa applicants. 

For the government, benefits include reduced paperwork, fewer errors in fee processing, and improved efficiency in visa processing. 

Applicants will experience benefits such as simpler fee payments, no $30 (Rs 2,489) returned check fee, and, for many, reduced fee increases and exemptions. 

The DHS has also made some small reductions in visa application fees in certain categories.

Source: NDTV