H-1B and EB-5 Visa Fees to Hike Sharply: Biden Administration


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Jan 05, 2023 01:34 PM IST

As part of the Biden administration's immigration reform initiatives, H1B visas and L visas (for intracompany transfers) will be subject to markedly higher fees shortly. H-1B e-registration fees are now proposed to be unbeatably hiked by 2050% (USD 215), while application or filing fees are set to be increased by 70% (USD 780).

H-1B and EB-5 Visa Fees to Hike Sharply: Biden Administration

Many non-immigrant employment-based visa fees, including H-1B and L visas (for intra-company transfers), will be increased as proposed by the Biden administration. As a result, the cost of employing immigrants will rise up due to the increment in visa fees, which are covered by the US employer. Now, the initial application fee for those applying for investment-related green cards would be USD 11,160 from USD 3,675, attesting to a 204% increase. 

The entire process leading up to the actual enactment of the new US visa fees could take a few months owing to the administrative procedural requirement that there be a 60-day period for soliciting public perception.

Also Read: H-1B Visa Status Continues for Indians Despite Losing Jobs in US

The following table highlights the difference between the current and proposed US visa application fee hike based on varied categories as per the data fetched by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):


Current Fee (in USD)

Proposed Fee (in USD)

% Increased Hike

Application for citizenship (online or paper filing)




Application for Employment Authorisation (online) - Online




Application for Employment Authorization (paper filing)




Application to adjust to green card status (with biometric services)




H-1B E-registration fee




Petition (application) for an H-1B visa




Petition by an EB-5 investor (investment-linked green card)




Petition by EB-5 investor to remove conditions on permanent resident status (with biometric services)




Petition for an L visa (intra-company transfer)




These application/filing costs provide USCIS with about 96% of its funding. Due to staff shortages, the pandemic significantly impacted the immigration agency's revenue stream while processing backlogs had grown significantly. The USCIS conducted a thorough fee review, which led to the proposed charge rule.

According to a release, this evaluation found that the agency's current fees, which have remained consistent since 2016, fell far short of covering the entire cost of agency operations. For the first time in six years, this new regulation will enable USCIS to more completely recoup operational expenses, supporting the Administration's efforts to reform the legal immigration system, according to USCIS Director Ur Jaddou. 

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If the proposed fee is approved, it will result in higher costs for US firms which sponsor immigrants. Since 2019, employers who intend to hire workers under the H-1B route must electronically register the beneficiaries.

Then, only for those beneficiaries chosen through the lottery procedure, are H-1B cap applications required to be submitted. It is now proposed that the USD 10 e-registration cost be increased to USD 215 by 205% to stop misconduct. The proposed second stage would see an increase in the H-1B application filing fee of USD 780 from the current USD 460 level.

Immigration lawyer Kripa Upadhyay reported that there was a rush on the employer e-registrations submitted in the year 2022. Many of these were speculative in nature because there was no employment to be had, but with registrations only costing USD 10, there was little to deter an unethical company from submitting 20 to 50 applications in the hopes that even half of them would be accepted. She expects that increasing the registration price will end the problem of numerous pointless applications that harm deserving applicants and employers.

Also Read: Int’l Students in the UK Can Now Switch to Skilled Workers Visa During Studies

In addition to other fee increases, USCIS proposes to add a USD 600 fee to all new employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant petitions (i.e., Form I-129 and Form 1-140 applications) to support the asylum programme, as per Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, policy director at the advocacy think tank American Immigration Council.

In numerous cases, the proposed US visa fees are structured differently for filing electronically versus filing in paper form. It is anticipated that USCIS will broaden the range of applications that can be filed online.

As an example, submitting an application for an employment authorisation document online will cost USD 555 (35% more), whilst doing so in person will cost USD 650 (59% more). The projected fee for a citizenship application is USD 760 (a 19% increase), and it is the same regardless of the type of filing.

The investors in the EB-5 programme—which grants green cards in exchange for investments—will now pay USD 11,160 for their first I-526 applications and USD 9,535 for their I-829 petitions to abolish restrictions on their status as permanent residents.

Upadhyay draws attention to the fact that applications submitted in 2018 are still pending, but the immigration agency now wants USD 11,160 for each application without providing any assurances about the timeline for adjudication and without giving applicants the choice to request premium processing. Applications to lift the conditions are subject to the same problem.

Also Read: Sharp Rise Witnessed in Student Visa Applications for US, UK, Canada, and Australia

According to her, the fees are rising even as adjudications have slowed down to the point where certain investors have had to pay additional fees to initiate mandamus actions to get the service to act on their claims.

Immigration lawyers also draw attention to USCIS's plan to shift the premium processing adjudication time from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, which will inadvertently add one week to the adjudication procedure.

Need Expert-Recommended Information on US Visa Applications? 

Source: The Times of India

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