If you are interested in filing for an L-1 visa in 2017, then you probably want to know how it will impact your finances. Fortunately, most of the L-1 visa fees are the employer’s responsibility, but there are some costs that will be up to you.
In this post, we’ll cover the answers to some of the more common questions our firm receives regarding the L-1 visa fees for 2017 including:
- How much are the USCIS filing fees? How much are the attorney fees?
- What changes have been made to the L-1 visa fees since last year?
- Which fees are my responsibility and which are my employer’s?
- Can I use premium processing? Will it help my case?
- How should the fee payments be made?
While we will be answering these questions in full, it is always advisable to consult an experienced L-1 attorney to make sure that you are paying the correct fees.
L-1 Visa Fees That Are Your Employer’s Responsibility
As we said earlier, most of the USCIS fees must be paid by your employer. In fact, the beneficiary is not even permitted to pay these fees by law. Doing so could result in serious consequences. Contact your immigration attorney if your employer asks you to pay these L-1 visa fees. Here is the breakdown:
- Basic Filing Fee: The standard fee for filing any I-129 petition is $460. This fee applies to new L-1 visas as well as L-1 transfers, extensions, or renewals.
- Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee: This charge of $500 has been put in place to allow the USCIS to determine who is attempting to use the L-1 visa to enter the U.S. through fraudulent means. It is applicable to all first time L-1 visa petitions but it is not required for an L-1 visa extension.
- Public Law 113-114 Fee: According to the Consolidated Appropriations Act, certain employers must pay the $4,500 Public Law fee. This fee only applies to employers that have more than 50 employees working in the United States. Also, half of those employees must be under H-1B or L-1 status.
- Nonimmigrant Visa Fee: The fee that is required when you, the beneficiary, apply for the visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy is $190
- Optional Fees: Some L-1 visa fees are not mandatory. This includes the fee for premium processing, which is a service that will expedite your L-1 visa process. Opting for premium processing will shorten the amount of time it takes to process your petition from several months to 15 calendar days for a fee of $1,225.
- L-1 Attorney Fee: While it is not recommended to work through an immigration case without an attorney, this is an optional fee. Your lawyer fee can vary wildly, but it is always best to choose an attorney you can trust. You can see our flat L-1 visa attorney fees here.
What Changes Have Been Made to the L-1 Visa Fees in 2017?
With a new presidential administration in place that has a keen interest in immigration policy, it is more important than ever to stay current with the most recent updates from the USCIS.
On December 23, 2016, the USCIS raised the I-129 basic filing fee from $325 to $460. There is plenty of content out there that still has the old filing fee. Be sure to double check with your immigration attorney about what the most recent fees are. If you file the incorrect fee, then your petition will be rejected, unnecessarily costing you both time and money.
Additionally, there is a new public law fee. In years past, the Consolidated Appropriations Act used Public Law 111-230 to demand a $2,500 fee from employers that qualify for this L-1 visa fee. However, since December of 2015, that fee has increased to $4,500.
Now that President Trump is in office, we may be able to expect a further increase in these L-1 visa fees. The purpose would be to discourage multinational companies from abusing the system and using the L-1 visa to displace U.S. workers. Whether or not this plan will take effect or if it will achieve its goal is still unclear.
Are Refunds Possible?
On the whole, it is unwise to expect a refund for your L-1 visa fees from the USCIS. Even if your petition is denied, you should not expect a refund. However, there are some situations in which a refund is warranted and granted. You may get a refund if:
- The USCIS asked you to submit a form and fee that was not required for your case.
- The USCIS asked you to pay an amount that was greater than the amount required by regulation.
- The USCIS did not process your I-129 petition in 15 calendar days if the premium processing fee had been paid.
It is important to note that the nonimmigrant visa fee is not refundable under any circumstances. Retaining an L-1 lawyer can keep you up-to-date on the fees and help you avoid costly mistakes.
Who Pays the L-1 Visa Fees?
Here is a clear breakdown of who is responsible for each of L-1 visa fees:
- Basic Filing Fee – this is your employer’s responsibility
- Public Law 113-114 Fee – this is your employer’s responsibility
- Anti-Fraud Fee – this is your employer’s responsibility
- Premium Processing Fee – this can be paid by either you or your employer. If you pay this fee, the USCIS will require proof from your employer that you were not strongarmed or otherwise coerced to do so for the employer’s benefit.
- Nonimmigrant Visa Fee – this is your responsibility. You must pay this when you travel to the consulate or embassy in your home country to obtain your visa for the first time. If you are already in the U.S. under a different visa status, then this fee does not apply to you.
How to Make Payments for your L-1 Visa Fees
The instructions for submitting these payments are detailed on your I-129 petition. All applicable L-1 visa fees should be filled out in different individual checks or money orders. Adding the fees and including them into one payment may result in a rejection of your petition. Working with an immigration attorney is a great way to avoid complications with your fees.
L-1 Visa Fees for Extensions
For L-1 extensions, your employer will need to file another I-129 on your behalf. While this does require your employer to pay the basic filing fee of $460, the Public Law fee and anti-fraud fees do not apply to L-1 extensions. Also, if you elect to use premium processing again, you or your employer will need to pay a new premium processing fee.
L-1 Blanket Petition Fees
Fortunately, the L-1 has the option for employers to file a blanket petition in order to allow multiple employees to transfer from the same company. This means that, through this method, an employer can avoid having to pay the L-1 visa fees for each employee that is transferred.
However, this option is only available to employers whose U.S. branch or affiliate generates at least $25 million in revenue or has at least 1,000 workers in the U.S.
L-1 Attorney Fees
Just like with any area of legal practice, different attorneys offer different fees. For our services, we charge a flat L-1 visa fee of $4,000. This includes a personal, one-on-one attorney to help you address any issues that may come up during your L-1 visa process.
How Our Immigration Attorneys Can Help
Small mistakes with your L-1 visa fees can quickly grow into time-consuming issues that can easily be avoided with the help of an immigration attorney. For all your L-1 visa needs in 2017, there is no better way to approach it than with the help of an expert.
Here at SGM Law Group, our L-1 attorneys have extensive history helping employers and their workers file and apply for L-1 visas. They will guide you through the L-1 process step by step and ensure that your fees are correct and properly filed, giving you the best possible chance of approval.
To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers about your L-1 visa fees, you can fill out this contact form and start your journey to the U.S. today.