US looking to hike visa fees across categories


President Biden-led US administration is proposing to raise the fees companies must pay for employment-based visas to fund the agency that oversees legal immigration. Under the proposal, the primary fee for an H-1B visa would jump to $1,595 from $470.  

The fee for an L-1 visa, which allows companies to transfer executives from offices abroad to the US, would rise to $1,985 from $460. The cost of applying for an EB-5 visa, which allows foreign investors to become U.S. permanent residents if they invest at least $900,000 in a US-based project, would increase to $11,160 from $3,675. 

The agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will finally implement a new fee structure only after incorporating feedback and comments after a 60-day period. 

The fees are needed to fund the agency that processes applications for citizenship, green cards and visas along with evaluating applicants for asylum or refugee status. Congress provides about 4% of the agency’s funding, and the rest including services such as selecting refugees from abroad must come from application fees the agency collects. 

The agency is required by law to update its fee structure every two years, but hasn’t done so since 2016.