United States increases fees for a range of non-immigrant visas including H-1B, EB-5, and others.

The United States has announced a significant rise in fees across various categories of non-immigrant visas such as H-1B, L-1, and EB-5, which are notably popular among Indians. This fee adjustment, the first since 2016, is set to take effect from April 1st.

The H-1B visa, utilized by US companies to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations requiring theoretical or technical expertise, is crucial for technology firms in hiring tens of thousands of employees annually from countries like India and China.

The EB-5 program, initiated by the US government in 1990, enables high-net-worth foreign investors to obtain US visas for themselves and their families by investing a minimum of $500,000 in a US business, thereby creating 10 jobs for American workers.

Starting April 1st, the new fee for the H-1B application visa (form I-129) has been raised from $460 to $780. Additionally, the fee for H-1B registration will increase from $10 to $215, effective next year.

The fee for L-1 visas has been elevated from $460 to $1,385, while that of EB-5 visas, commonly known as investor visas, has surged from $3,675 to $11,160, as outlined in a federal notification issued on Wednesday.

The L-1 visa, designed for intracompany transferees, permits multinational companies to temporarily transfer certain employees from their foreign offices to work in the US.

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

Over the 10-year analysis period of the rule (FY 2024 through FY 2033), the DHS estimates annualized net costs to the public at $157,005,952, discounted at three and seven percent. The total net costs over 10 years are projected to be $1,339,292,617 discounted at three percent and $1,102,744,106 discounted at seven percent.

The DHS argued that the changes in the final rule would provide several benefits, including reduced administrative burdens and fee processing errors, increased efficiency in the adjudicative process, and improved assessment of service costs for better-aligned fees in future regulations.

These changes also offer benefits to applicants/petitioners, such as reduced fee processing errors, enhanced efficiency in the adjudicative process, simplification of the fee payment process for some forms, elimination of the $30 returned check fee, and in many cases, minor reductions in visa application fees, as detailed in the federal notification.

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