US Raises Fees On H-1B, L-1, EB-5 Visas: Know About These Non-Immigrant Visas Popular Among Indians

The non-immigrant work visas are designed for individuals seeking employment in the U.S. for a specified period.

(AP Photo)
US Raises Fees On H-1B, L-1, EB-5 Non-Immigrant Visas (AP Photo)

The United States has announced a steep hike in fees for various non-immigrant visas, including the H-1B, L-1, and EB-5, which are popular among Indians. This fee increase, the first since 2016, is set to take effect on April 1, 2024.

Starting April 1, the new H-1B application visa fee will rise from $460 to $780. The H-1B registration fee will increase from $10 to $215, effective from the following year.

For L-1 visas, the fees will go up from $460 to $1,385, and for EB-5 visas (investor visas), the fee will jump from $3,675 to $11,160, as per a federal notification issued on Wednesday.

The Department of Homeland Security, in its federal notification, mentioned that these fee adjustments, along with changes to forms and fee structures used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will result in net costs, benefits, and transfer payments.

What are Non-Immigrant visas?

Non-immigrant visas play a crucial role in facilitating foreign workers' entry into the United States, contributing to the nation's largest economy. These non-immigrant work visas are designed for individuals seeking employment in the U.S. for a specified period.

Typically, the employer initiates the process by filing a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Prior to arrival, the employee must also apply for a visa. Some common non-immigrant work visas include H Visas, I Visas, L Visas, O Visas, and more.

Here's an overview of the visas that have experienced a fee hike and are particularly popular among Indians:

H-1B Visa:

H-1B visa enables U.S. employers to hire foreign workers for specialty occupations requiring specialised knowledge and a bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience. The duration of stay is initially three years, extendable up to six years, after which the visa holder can reapply. There are legal limits on the annual issuance of H-1B visas.

EB-5 Visa:

The EB-5 visa allows eligible immigrant investors to obtain lawful permanent residency, commonly known as "green card" status. To qualify, investors must make a substantial capital investment in a U.S. business, creating at least 10 new, full-time jobs for Americans and work-authorised immigrants. The EB-5 program aims to promote foreign investment and stimulate economic growth.

L-1 Visa:

An L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for individuals entering the U.S. for work purposes in L-1 status. Its validity ranges from three months (for Iran nationals) to up to five years (for nationals from countries like India, Japan, and Germany), determined by a reciprocity schedule. Extensions are possible, allowing a maximum stay of up to seven years.