Review Underway for Proposed Increase in H-1B and Green Card Fees

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is advancing in the federal review process for a new regulation that could lead to heightened fees for various visa applications, with a particular focus on the widely used H-1B visa. Currently under examination at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) associated with the White House, the impending regulation is moving closer to publication and implementation. Originally proposed in January 2023 as the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), the regulation suggests substantial fee increases across multiple visa-related applications.

Mitch Wexler, a partner at Fragomen, a global immigration law firm, stated, “DHS accepted public comments on the proposed version of this fee rule from early January 2023 to early March 2023. The specific contents of the final regulation will only be known when the final rule is released for publication in the Federal Register. However, the proposed rule provides some indication of the changes likely to be included in the final version.”

If the final rule aligns with the proposed changes from January 2023, it could result in a significant cost increase for US employers sponsoring immigrant employees. For H-1B visa applications, which include E-registering and submitting detailed applications for selected beneficiaries, the proposed fees saw a substantial increase. E-registration costs for the annual H-1B cap lottery were set to surge from $10 to $215, aimed at deterring lottery misuse. Additionally, fees for selected beneficiaries’ applications were slated to jump by 70% to $780. The impact of these fee changes on the opening of the FY 2025 H-1B cap season in March 2024 remains uncertain.

The US immigration agency has also announced an increase in premium processing fees for H-1B applications, scheduled to rise by 12% to $2,805 from February 26. Employers sponsoring H-1B applications will need to consider these additional costs.

The NPRM also proposed fee increases for citizenship (naturalization), raising the cost from $640 to $760, reflecting a 19% increase. Among the most significant proposed hikes were for EB-5 investors participating in the investment-linked green card program. According to the NPRM, initial I-526 petition fees for investors were set to rise by 204% to $11,160, and I-829 petition fees for the removal of conditions on permanent resident status would increase by 148% to $9,535.


Source: MSN