Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

What Is the Total Cost to the Employer and the Employee in Case of a H-1B Transfer? Is It Same as Filing a New H-1B Visa?

First, you need to know that the sponsoring company is required to pay the H-1B fees.

Second, there are some important changes in 2016. Most significantly, if you’re an employer with 50 or more employees, and more than half of those employees are H-1B, L-1A or L-1B visas, your fees went up as of December 18, 2015, and you will be paying a $4,000 ‘special’ fee for new H-1Bs and transfers.

As an H-1B worker, you’re required to have a sponsoring employer. The transfer allows you (the worker) to have a new employer-sponsor. The new employer files an I-129 petition with U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting that the H1B employee be transferred to the new company.

Here’s a breakdown of the fees:

  • Standard/Base Filing Fee (also applicable to transfers, amendments and renewals): $325 (this is the I-129 petition).
  • ACWIA (American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act) / Training Fee: Employers up to 25 full-time employees: $750; Employers with 26+ employees: $1,500 (some exemptions apply - e.g., educational and nonprofit entities).
  • Fraud Prevention & Detection Fee (new & transfers): $500 (not applicable to extensions with same employer).
  • ‘Special Fee’ Up to 50 Employees: If more than half are H-1B or L1 visa holders, there’s an additional fee of $2,000.
  • Premium (Expedited) Processing: If you complete an I-907 plus submit a fee of $1,225 for expedited processing, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guarantees a 15-day turnaround.
  • Attorneys’ Fees: Can range anywhere between roughly $1,500 to $10,000.

Employers are legally obligated to pay for all fees except the optional premium fee for expedited processing - unless it is for the employer’s benefit, in which case the company must pay the fee.

As you can see, an employer’s total cost can range wildly anywhere between $5,500 and $17,000 depending on the size of the company and other variables listed above. The cost to the employee should never be much more than $1,225 if they are paying for expedited processing.

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