US announces drastic fee hikes for H-1B visa applications, effective from April 1

The  H-1B visa registration fees have been increased by a whopping 2050%.

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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has finalized significant revisions to its visa application and registration fees, as disclosed in a statement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday. The revamped fee structure, set to take effect from April 1, brings substantial increases across various visa categories. The H-1B visa registration fees have been increased by a whopping 2050%.

New Fee Structure

The altered fee schedule impacts several popular visa types, particularly those sought after by Indian immigrants. The most noteworthy changes include the H-1B registration fees catapulting from the current $10 to an unprecedented $215, marking a staggering 2050% increase. Similarly, L-1B visa fees have surged from $460 to $1,385, while EB-5 visa fees have skyrocketed from $3,675 to $11,160.

Rationale behind H-1B fee hike

The DHS, in a detailed explanation of the revised rates and fee structure, cited updated USCIS volume forecasts for H–1B registration workload as the driving force behind the substantial fee increase. The agency indicated a revision of the workload forecast to 424,400, up from the originally proposed 273,990 H–1B registrations for the fiscal year 2023 cap year. The statement read,  "DHS also revises the USCIS volume forecasts for H–1B registration workload, to 424,400, based on more recent information than was available while drafting the proposed rule, such as the total registrations for the FY 2023 cap year."

The statement by DHS added, “DHS has updated the USCIS volume forecasts for the EB–5 workload based on more recent and reliable information than what was available while drafting the proposed rule. Increasing the fee-paying receipt forecasts for these workloads conversely increased the estimated revenue generated by EB–5 fees. DHS also revised the USCIS budget to reflect these changes,” as per the Federal Register website. This drastic fee hike in visa applications has sparked concerns among immigrants and employers, particularly those reliant on H-1B visas.