Increased Visa Application Fees: A Deeper Look

silver and gold round coins in box
Photo by Kenny Eliason / Unsplash

In a follow-up to our previous blog post, the White House is currently reviewing a rule to update visa application fees for the first time since 2016. The implications of this increase, particularly for companies seeking to sponsor workers for employment-based visas, are significant and deserve a closer look.

Draft regulations released last year proposed an across-the-board fee increase of 40%. Notably, most of the new costs would be borne by companies sponsoring workers for employment-based visas. For instance, pre-registration fees for H-1B specialty occupation visas are set to rise to $215, the H-1B application fee from $460 to $780, the L-1A application fee to $1385, and the O-1 cost to $1085.

This proposal has received considerable attention. Nearly 8,000 public comments were submitted by businesses, individuals, and trade organizations. Many of these comments raised concerns about the significant new cost barriers that businesses and organizations, especially those in the arts, would face as a result of these increases.

The final rule has been sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services for clearance. This is the last regulatory hurdle before the rule can be published in the Federal Register. The Biden administration is targeting April for the final fee schedule’s release.

As we continue to monitor these developments, it's important to consider the potential impact on businesses and organizations that rely on foreign workers. The proposed increases could significantly affect their operations and bottom line. However it is possible that changes to the increases have been made in response to the comments - and hopefully at least some of the fees have been lowered. As always, we'll keep you updated as more information becomes available.

As always, remember to get specific legal advice about your case from a lawyer, not a blog.

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