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H1B Visa Cost | US Proposes Fee Increase Affecting International Students

New proposed changes to US immigration fees would see the H1B visa cost significantly increase for applicants aiming to live and work in the country

Wed Dec 13 2023

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed controversial increases to immigration fees that would see an application for a H-1B visa cost significantly more in the near future. 

The plans would see an H-1B visa E-registration fee rise by 2050% from $10 to $215. Likewise, the H-1B petition fee, which currently stands at $460, would rise to $780—a 70% increase. 

The H-1B visa is a highly desirable route into employment in the US for international students. After gaining sponsorship from an employer who petitions the USCIS on their behalf, successful H-1B visa applicants can stay in the US and work for three years after completing a higher education degree. 

Many of the world’s largest companies—including the leading big tech firms—provide sponsorship for thousands of professionals looking to work in the US each year. 

After their visa expires, H-1B visa holders can extend for a further three years before then having the option to apply for permanent residency.

The majority of the H-1B visa cost is incurred by the employer, however applicants must also currently pay their E-registration fee and petition fee themselves, as well as a $500 fraud and protection fee. 

The new changes will likely be finalized shortly, either this month or in January 2024, and will come into effect within 60 to 90 days. They have been criticized by both individuals and organizations, according to reports. 

The USCIS said the changes would help with application backlogs and would ensure the agency could cover its running costs, which it hasn’t been able to do since 2016. 

The immigration fee changes will also affect applications for the green card, which allows a person to live and work in the US under permanent residency. Green card applications will increase by 19% from $640 to $760. 

Other recent changes to the H-1B visa process announced by the USCIS have included simplifying the renewal process for H-1B visa holders currently working in the US, and a number of wholesale changes that would streamline the entire H-1B visa process.