Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

USCIS Releases Q&A on H-1B and L-1 Fee Increases

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a frequently asked questions (FAQ) sheet on October 7, 2010, that discusses the new additional fees of $2,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $2,250 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions. The additional fee applies to H-1B or L-1 petitioners that employ 50 or more employees in the United States with more than 50 percent of their employees in the U.S. in H-1B, L-1A, or L-1B nonimmigrant status. USCIS noted that all employees in the U.S., regardless of whether they are paid through a U.S. or foreign payroll, will count toward the percentage calculation.

The fee increase applies to covered petitions postmarked August 14, 2010, or later. For petitions filed by courier service, the fee applies to packets picked up by the courier on August 14 or later.

Among other things, the FAQ notes that until the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) and the Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition (Form I-129S) are revised, the agency recommends that all H-1B, L-1A, and L-1B petitioners include, as part of the filing packet, the new fee or a statement or other evidence outlining why this new fee does not apply. USCIS requests that petitioners include a notation indicating whether or not the fee is required in bold capital letters at the top of the cover letter. The fee, statement, notation, or other evidence should be provided with each petition submitted.

Where the fee or documentation is not submitted with the filing, or where questions remain, USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) to determine whether the additional fee applies to the petition. Because an RFE will be issued for the fee, rather than a rejection for the omission of the fee, USCIS will maintain the original filing date as the receipt date. Petitioners should wait to respond to the RFE before sending in the additional fee or an explanation of why the new fee does not apply, USCIS said. Once the revised I-129 and 1-129S are in place, USCIS will reject covered petitions submitted without the new fee. USCIS said it will release those revised forms “as soon as possible.”

The FAQ is available here online.

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Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.