The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services have decided to start applying a new non-refundable fee to H-1B visa applicants for every registration submitted. A press release on the final rules explains that the USCIS will now ask employers submitting petitions for foreign workers to pay a $10 non-refundable fee for each H-1B registration.

The move has been taken in a bid to collect the means necessary to modernize and more efficiently process applications to live or work in the US, as a part of an agency-wide effort.

The electronic registration system is part of an agency-wide initiative to modernize out immigration system while deterring fraud, improving vetting procedures and strengthening program integrity,” the YSCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli says, further explaining that the effort will help implement a more efficient and effective H-1B cap selection process.

The fee is set to be implemented for the fiscal year 2021 H-1B cap selection process. The agency will, however, publish the implementation timeframe and initial registration period in the Federal Register once a formal decision has been made. The USCIS will also notify the public in advance of the implementing of the registration requirement.

Upon implementation of the electronic registration system, petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption, will first have to electronically register with USCIS during a designated period, unless the requirement is suspended,” the press release of the agency explains.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant US work visa that enables foreigners to work in the US in specific job positions such as professors, doctors, lawyers, engineers, IT specialists and similar.  The visa is also called Person in Specialty Occupation Visa because applicants are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree, and a job contract with an employer in the US.

In May this year, the United States Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta proposed in front of a Congressional committee the hike of the H-1B visa, as a way to raise funds for the expansion of the apprentice program that prepares the American youngsters in fields related to technology. So far, no changes but the new fee have been formally proposed.

Currently, employers with fewer than 25 employees pay a fee of $750 per person, while those with more employees need to pay a fee of $1,500 per H-1B visa applicant. These are not the only fees that need to be paid for an H-1B visa application.

If the applicant wants to benefit from the premium processing, another $1,225 has to be paid. In addition, if the employer or employee decides to use an attorney for application, the attorney fees are added to this. The total amount paid for an H-1B visa can reach as much as $15,000.

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