Tag Archives: h1b filing

H1B Visa FY2012 Season – Costs, Quota & Application Tips

For the last 2 years we did Quota Predictions for H1B Visa FY2011 & H1B Visa FY2010 seasons. Given how popular that post was through 2009, especially with the long H1B visa season we have decided again to do it this year.

On April 1, 2011 it will be the first day the USCIS will accept new H1B visa petitions for the FY2012 H1B Visa season and regardless of the fact that we have been inaccurate for the last 2 years as to how quickly the H1B visa quota has been filled, an early and proper application is always the best recipe for success. (official USCIS H1B site)

As with last year we are also documenting the H1B visa costs so you can have all the information in one post. Now while it is unlikely the H1B visa lottery for both the Advanced Degree Exemption quota of 20,000 and the main H1B visa quota of 65,000 will be necessary, it has been seen that there has been a rush to towards the end of the FY2011 H1B season and with the unemployment rate down to 9%, there is a possibility that this season will be more like 2007 & 2008.

Ensure you also read H1B visa Season Tips and have all your H1B supporting documents ready to file immediately to file via your employer or attorney on April 1, 2011 for the FY2012 season.

It also worth noting that given we are no longer in an election year and with President Obama intending to make further moves on Immigration that there is already legislation submitted to the US congress to limit the scope of the H1B visa and even the quota further so again the sooner the better!

H1B Visa Costs

To Apply for the Visa; (all USD)
1. USCIS Filing Fee with USCIS $325 – Form I-129 (Spouse optional H4 Fee is $300)
2. Fraud Detection Fee with USCIS $500

3. LCA Filing Fee with Department of Labor FREE – Form ETA 9035/9035e (a small win here…although am sure will change one day)
Also have to ensure prevailing wages are met as well in this part so you are paid the same or more as a US worker in same position)

4. Premium Filing Fee $1,225 (optional – Form I-901) – excessive designed to help process where your legal representative has access to case officer phone number and decisions are made fast in 15 days and can also aid spouse partner H4 visa process

5. ACWIA Fee $750 or $1,500 – if your petition is successful this goes to a training fund for US workers and is $1,500 unless you have less than 25 full time employees. Some government, education and non-profit institutions are exempt from this fee

6. Public Law 111-230 $2,000 – (dependent) to be submitted by a petitioner which employs 50 or more employees in the United States where more than 50 percent of its employees in the United States are in H-1B or L-1 nonimmigrant status.
7. Consular Application Fee $131 (x2 for spouse)
8. Visa Issuance Fee $100 (x2 for spouse) (but varies by country so check the Visa Reciprocity Section of the USCIS

(NB: If able to transfer to H1B visa status within US without needing to leave the country if you current non-immigrant visa status expires after October 1, then you can file form I-539 with the USCIS along with I-129. If filing these forms together there is no additional fee)

Total If Visa Issued Outside US: $1,706 to $3,456 (plus $1,225 Premium Filing Fee if Opted)

Total If Visa Status Change within US (if eligible):
$1,476 to $3,226 (plus $1,225 Premium Filing Fee if Opted)

NB: If you change your status to H1B within the US and then later travel outside the US for whatever reason, then to re-enter the US you will need to get an H1B visa stamp in your passport anyway so have to attend as US Consulate or Embassy interview in a foreign country.

It is important to realize that none of the above costs include any legal costs at all so if you are deciding whether you need a layer for your H1B visa process if you are paying for one yourself, that you realize what the actual H1B visa application costs are as listed above and thus what your lawyer is charging you for their time. You should note it is NOT mandatory at all to have an attorney

Technically all the H1B visa costs including legal costs are meant to be paid by your employer and most good employers will do all this for you but a few try to pass this cost in various devious ways back to the employee.

If you are paying for a lawyer itself it can be good to get a fixed legal quote for the entire H1B visa process and to shop around but also know that you often get what you pay for and additional work will no doubt cost extra.

Finally is you are trying to decide whether any of the many H1B visa help sites like H1Base or H1visajobs are worth the fees they charge to help in your search then definitely read our reviews and others before making up your mind.

Good Luck,


H-1B Visa Tips For FY2011 Application Filing on April 1, 2010

Now that the Fiscal Year 2010 H-1B cap subject visa quota has been filled (as of December 21, 2009), it is time to focus on H-1B cap-subject visa filings for Fiscal Year 2011, which will start being accepted by USCIS on April 1, 2010. If you are thinking of filing an H-1b visa application on April 1, 2010, now is the time to get started with the process. Please see below for some common tips in preparing to file an H-1b visa application.

Tip #1 – You must have a job offer: If you do not already have a job offer for a position that meets the H-1b visa requirements, you must find one before filing your application. You cannot submit an H-1b visa application without the sponsorship of an employer who wants to employ you in an H-1b caliber position. There is no way around this rule.

Tip #2 – Make sure your job offer meets the H-1b specialty occupation requirements: The position you are seeking to fill must require at a minimum either a bachelor’s degree in a specific field or the equivalent.

Tip #3 – You must have the right background: You must meet the minimum requirements for the H-1b position being offered to you. This means you must have the right bachelor’s degree or the equivalent through work experience or a combination of work experience and education. Likewise, if the position requires a certain credential or licensing, you must have this as well.

Tip #4 – Find an immigration lawyer well-versed in the H-1b visa process to work with: This is one of the most important tips! Filing an H-1b visa is highly complicated and nuanced. The slightest error or oversight can result in a rejection or denial. Furthermore, with increased scrutiny being applied by USCIS, the application process has become even technical.

Tip #5 – Work Closely with your immigration lawyer: It is important to understand that your immigration lawyer is your advocate and that he/she has the same desired goal as you, which is the approval of your application. With that said, it is important for you to provide your immigration lawyer with all requested information and details concerning all aspects of your application.

Tip #6 – Understand that your start date cannot be any earlier than October 1, 2010: If you’re applying for a cap-subject H-1b visa on April 1, 2010, you cannot request a start date earlier than October 1, 2010. This means that you must figure out what you’re going to do until that time. If you will remain in the U.S. it is imperative that you maintain lawful nonimmigrant status.

Tip #7 – Understand that you may not apply for a cap-subject H-1b visa until April 1, 2010: The 85,000 H-1b visa quota (65,000 regular cap and 20,000 master’s cap) for Fiscal Year 2011 does not start until April 1, 2010.

Tip #8 – Understand that there are a limited number of H-1b cap-subject visas available: Every year there are only 65,000 regular cap and 20,000 master’s cap H-1b visas available. Last year the cap remained open for the regular cap from April 1, 2009, to December 21, 2009 (about 7.5 months). In the years’ prior to last year, the quota remained open for a day or two with lotteries being conducted right away because of the large number applications received. It is anyone’s guess as to what the situation will be like on April 1, 2010; however, the demand is expected to be higher than what it was on April 1, 2009. As such, you should plan on being prepared to file your H-1b visa application by April 1, 2010.

Guest Author

Douglas Lightman