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H-1B Filing Fees // The Straight Dope

January 31st, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Ask three different people about H-1B filing fees and you will get three different answers. Here are the straight facts about the fees required when applying for an H-1B visa petition.

“Premium Processing adds dignity to what can otherwise be a vulgar brawl.”

Base Filing Fee

The standard H-1B filing fee is $320 for the 1-129 petition. This fee is also payable for renewals, transfers, and amendments. Almost everyone has to pay this. There can also be additional fees at the consulate when applying from abroad.

ACWIA (Training) Fee

The employer must pay a fee of $1,500 towards a training fee meant to fund the training of U.S. workers. But if the employer has less than 25 full-time employees, they must pay only one-half of the required fee which is $750 [see Section §214(c)(9) of the Immigration & Nationality Act].

The training fee is paid one time to initially grant the H-1B petition and to extend H-1B status. But if this is the second or subsequent extension with the same employer, then the training fee is not required.

The following are exempt from the training fee: primary or secondary educational institutions, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations related to or affiliated with any institutions of higher education, a nonprofit organization that engages in established curriculum-related clinical training of students registered at any institutions of higher education, nonprofit research organizations or a governmental research organizations [see Section 214(c)(9)(A) of the Immigration & Nationality Act and 8 C.F.R. §2l4.2(h)(19)(iii)-(iv).

Fraud Fee

A $500 fraud prevention and detection fee is required for the initial H-1B petition or to switch employers. The fraud fee is not required for extensions with the same employer [see Section 214(c)(12) of the Immigration & Nationality Act].

Optional H-1B Fees

Premium Processing adds dignity to what can otherwise be a vulgar brawl. The $1,000 fee is almost always worth every penny. Decisions are made within 15 business days. Your lawyer is provided a direct telephone number and email address for the office, and the specific officer, handling your matter (should any issue arise that needs attention). And if applicable, your family’s H4 applications will be processed along with the primary H-1B petition at no additional cost.

Family members can apply as dependents of the primary H-1B applicant. The fee is $300. See Form I-539.

Questions?

Determining H-1B filing fees can be very complicated business. The fee overview above is a good starting point. But there are always unanswered questions. Drop any more questions about H-1B fees in the comments below.

  1. Sam
    January 31st, 2008 at 06:02 | #1

    Is the employer required to pay all of the fees? Which ones?

  2. January 31st, 2008 at 06:27 | #2

    I was afraid someone would ask that question..

    Employers are generally required to pay all H-1B filing fees. There is a regulation that explicitly states the employer must pay the ACWIA training fee ($1,500/$750). And there is more indirect guidance that the employer should pay all fees. There are also prevailing wage issues that make it impossible for an employer to comply with its Labor Department obligations without paying all fees associated with H-1B employment.

    But I can tell you from first hand experience that USCIS will accept personal checks on filing fees from an H-1B applicant (except for the ACWIA training fee). The training fee must be paid directly by the employer.

  3. Haney
    February 27th, 2008 at 23:05 | #3

    I am currently on my 7th year of H1-B visa and we have filed the I-485 last July when all visa numbers became current with a priority date of June 1st, 2006. I now have my employment Authorization Card and advance Parole. My attorney had sent a letter to my company asking whether they should file for an H1-B extension claiming that this is something to fall back on in case my I485 gets rejected or there are some hurdles in the road! what do you think I should do? Is this just another way for the attorney to make money? do you think it is necessary?
    I opted to not extend my H1-B visa and just rely on the employment authorization card, I am just looking for a second opinion from you! Thanks

  4. March 2nd, 2008 at 00:56 | #4

    @Haney: I almost always advise staying in H-1B status until the green card is in your hand. It’s not only a fall back if anything goes wrong with the I-485, H-1B status facilitates foreign travel and you have more rights because you are officially in a nonimmigrant status (instead of being a parolee).

    The attorney was not trying to take your money, although I can appreciate your concern. 🙂

  5. Haney
    March 3rd, 2008 at 18:12 | #5

    Funny you said that because now I have more flexibility traveling with the advance parole than when I was on my H1-B status. I first entered the US on a J1 Visa, which was then switched to H1B and the attorney advised that if I want to travel abroad, I’ll have to stop by the US Embassy and obtain a visa to get back in the country. Processing times for these visas are almost over 21 days minimum and can take up to 2 months. I don’t think my employer would like to see me abscent that long! Now that I have the advance Parole, I don’t need to stop by the Embassy and obtain a visa to enter the US. I really appreciate your feedback.. thanks for your time

  6. Juan
    March 4th, 2008 at 04:17 | #6

    Hi John,

    I overstayed my visa when I was a child. I have been in the US since 1983. I went to school and formed my family here.

    I have a family 3rd preference petition PD October 2007 when my mom became a citizen.

    I also recently was able to find a work sponsor who wants me to work for him ASAP. My lawyer told me because I am out of status, the only way is through an EB3 which you know is only for future employment.

    The employer and I wanted to apply for the H1 coming up. Is there any way I can start working soon with this employer?

    Thanks for your advice,

  7. March 6th, 2008 at 08:04 | #7

    @Haney: Renewing visas can be a pain depending where you’re doing it. Sounds like you’re happy as a parolee.

    @Juan: Hi. An H-1B might not be an option for someone in a situation like yours. I wish I could help, but you might want to consider getting a more detailed (meaning paid) evaluation from an immigration lawyer. Your options will depend on many facts specific to your situation. If you need any help, feel free to drop a private comment in this contact form.

  8. KC
    April 11th, 2008 at 17:12 | #8

    I am on My 9th year H1 visa extension and my employer is asking fees of $750 + $320+ 2 H4 of $300 is all to gehter $1370 is this true or i am paying too much please advise

  9. sutungoc
    April 25th, 2008 at 23:20 | #9

    If you’re on your 9th year H1 visa extension, and it is the third time the current employer file an extension on behalf you, you just pay $320.00 for H-1B and $300 for each H4.

    The reason for the difference of paying extra $750.00 or not depends on how long you work for the current employer, and it does not depend on how long you stay under H-1b status.

  10. Dan
    May 2nd, 2008 at 19:38 | #10

    Good blog.

    Is the training fee required for the first extension? I am about to renew my h1 for the first time (after initial 3 years), will my employer be required to pay the $1500 this time around? thanks!

  11. SK
    June 24th, 2008 at 11:55 | #11

    Base filing fees must be paid by employer, then who pays fraud fee?

  12. san
    April 21st, 2009 at 17:59 | #12

    my first H1 JULY/03 to JULY/06 from my current Employer X ( they paid that training fee)
    I quit in April 2006 TO TAKE ANOTHER OFFER

    -applied H1 in April through another employer Y ( they paid that training fee)
    H1 approved – worked for Y from MAY/06 to SEP/06
    QUIT THEM in SEP 06

    Applied H1 in August again through my same PREVIOUS employer X ( they paid that training fee)
    H1 approved valid from 11/01/06 to 7/14/09 – EMPLOYER X
    SO joined my PREVIOUS employer FROM SEP/06 working till date

    so now my current employeer X will be applying for my 7th year extension( 3 yr extension as my i-140 approved)
    so will the employer have to pay the training fee of 1500 again. Please advise.

  13. Adil
    November 3rd, 2009 at 18:01 | #13

    Hello all,

    Can anyone tell me if the USCIS refunds the H1b filing fees ( in my case $1570) if it is denied.If yes , is it a partial reimbursement or a complete one.

  14. ladkiababu
    April 5th, 2010 at 07:06 | #14

    Adil :Hello all,
    hi my parents applied for my immigration 5 years back at that time i was in india now i am in usa on h4 can i get EAD on the basis that my parents applied for my immigration,,,plz suggest is there any way to work on my filed immigration.

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