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May 26, 2005

USCIS filing fees for H-1B visas to any non-exempt petitions filed with USCIS after December 8, 2004

December 15, 2004, NSC Flash #5-2005, Changes in Certain USCIS Fees as a result of the approval of the FY05 Omnibus Appropriations Act, NSC Provides Information on Filing under H/L Amendments

The H-1B and L non-immigrant provisions of the Omnibus Appropriations Act reinstate the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) fees first put in place after the approval of the ACWIA in 1998; the requirements under the original ACWIA sunset on October 1, 2003.

For H-1B petitioners; the new fee for petitioners who employ 25 or more Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees is $1,500. Petitioners who employ no more than 25 FTE employees (including any affiliate or subsidiary) may submit a reduced fee of $750. The new $1,500 and $750 fees apply to any non-exempt petitions filed with USCIS after December 8, 2004. Certain types of petitions that were previously exempt from the fees remain exempt from the new $1,500 and $750 fees.

Furthermore, The Act creates a new Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee of $500 which must be paid by petitioners seeking a beneficiary's initial grant of H-1B or L nonimmigrant classification or those petitioners seeking to change a beneficiary's employer within those classifications. The only petitions exempt from paying this fee are those that seek to amend or extend the stay of the beneficiary. This new $500 fee applies to petitions filed with the USCIS on or after March 8, 2005.

Each of these fees is in addition to the base processing fee of $185 to file a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) and any premium processing fees, if applicable. Finally, although implementing regulations have not yet been promulgated, it is expected that the USCIS will require that all petitions for the additional 20,000 H-1B visas established by the Omnibus Act be filed at the Vermont Service Center.

Posted by VisaLawyer at May 26, 2005 08:13 AM

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