H-1B visa update: USCIS hikes premium processing fee for visa application

  • The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has increased the visa application process fee across all categories including H-1B, advising employers to factor in the processing fees into their immigration budget planning from 2024.

Livemint
First Published30 Dec 2023
USCIS has increased the H-1B visa premium processing fee
USCIS has increased the H-1B visa premium processing fee

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has increased the visa application process fee across all categories including H-1B. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. As per the latest update in fees, the US attorneys have advised the employers to factor the processing fees into their immigration budget planning from 2024. Usually, the online registration for the H-1B visa applications begins in March, followed by a lottery and the final visa application for selected candidates.

USCIS new application fee details

According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website, the premium processing fees have increased for forms I-129, I-140, I-539, and I-765.

The fee for premium processing of I-129 (a petition for a nonimmigrant worker such as those on H-1B and L-1 visas) has been increased by 12% to $2,805. The current fee is $2,500.

US to open 4,000 H-1B application slots weekly for Indians, Canadians: Report

The premium processing charges for Form I-539, used by the international students, spouses, and dependents of the H-1B visa holders for upgrading their non-immigrant status have been increased to $1,965 from the current $1,750.

H-1B visa holders don't need to leave the US for visa renewal - here's why

Further, Form 1-765, which is for seeking employment authorisation, such as for F-1 students for their optional practical training (OPT) increased to $1,685 from the existing $1,500.

Premium processing fee

Under this category of visa application, the case is adjudicated with a shorter timeline. For instance, for Form I-439 and Form I-765, it is 30 calendar days but for H-1B premium processing is undertaken in 15 calendar days.

US visa: 5 big changes in rules that happened in 2023

Last week, a pilot programme to resume domestic visa renewal for qualified H-1B visa applicants cleared a review by a top regulatory body under the White House.

H1B visa cap reached for 2024. What's next for ‘non-selected’ candidates

Under the pilot cleared by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) review on December 15, the qualified H-1B visa applicants will not have to travel abroad to renew their work visa.

Over three months, beginning in December, the State Department will be issuing 20,000 visas to foreign nationals who are already inside the country.

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