On December 18, 2015, President Obama formally signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, which introduced fee increases for certain H-1B and L-1 visa applications.
Following the implementation of the new Act, certain H-1B petitioners are required to submit an additional fee of $4,000 with their applications, and certain L-1 petitioners are required to submit an additional fee of $4,500 with their applications.
Specifically, the new law requires:
- An additional $4,000 fee for H-1B petitioners who employ more than 50 workers and whose workforce consists of more than 50% of employees with H-1B, L-1A, and L-1B nonimmigrant status.
- An additional $4,500 fee for L-1A and L-1B petitioners who employ more than 50 workers and whose workforce consists of more than 50% of employees with H-1B, L-1A, and L-1B nonimmigrant status.
The new law is required of all applications submitted after December 18, 2015. The additional fees are required in addition to the following fees:
- Base processing fee;
- Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee;
- American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 fee (when required); and
- Premium processing fee (if applicable).
The new H-1B and L-1 visa fee increase is expected to severely affect Indian IT companies in the United States, estimated to hit them with $400 million in additional fees each year as a result of the Act. In total, the fee increase is anticipated to raise over $1 billion each year, which will be used to finance a biometric tracking system and healthcare treatment for 9/11 victims, workers, and survivors. The new fees will remain in effect until September 30, 2025.
USCIS is currently revising Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition to reflect the new changes resulting from the Act. Until further notice regarding revised petitions, petitioners should continue filling out Item Numbers 1.d. and 1.d.1 of Section 1 of the H-1B and H-1B Data Collection and Filing Fee Exemption Supplement and Item Numbers 4.a and 4.b of the L Classification Supplement.
For those who have previously submitted a petition with the additional fee and believe the fee was not required, USCIS suggests to contact the National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 to discuss your situation.