The L1 visa allows foreign companies to transfer a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker to an affiliated US company. In this guide, I will explain each of the L1 visa fees that you need to know about before applying for an L1 visa. If you have any questions, or you need help with getting an L1 visa, email me at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.
There are 8 Main L1 Visa Fees:
- USCIS Filing Fee
- Premium Processing Fee (Optional)
- USCIS Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee
- Visa Application Fee
- Immigration Lawyer Legal Fee
- Public Law 114-113 Fee
- Business Plan
- Business Entity Formation
1. USCIS Filing Fee (Form I-129)
Applying for an L1 visa is a 2-step process. First you are required to file a Form I-129 with USCIS. Once your I-129 is approved, you can then apply for your L1 visa. In order to file a Form I-129, USCIS charges a filing fee of $460.
The USCIS filing fee must be submitted along with the Form I-129. This fee is required if you are applying for an L1 visa for this first time, if you are applying for a change of status to L1, or if you are applying for an extension of your L1 status.
The USCIS filing fee must be paid by the petitioner (the US company).
If you have dependents (spouse/children) that will be applying for a change of status to L2 status or an extension of L2 status through USCIS, then they will also need to file a Form I-539. The filing fee for the form I-539 is $370. You do not need to file a Form I-539 if your dependents will be applying for an L2 visa at a US consulate or embassy abroad.
Important Note For Canadian Citizens:
- If you are a citizen of Canada, then you can apply for L1 status directly at a Port of Entry, so you do not pay the usual USCIS filing fee for the Form I-129. Instead, you pay a fee of $825 which includes your I-129 processing fee and the USCIS Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee.
2. Premium Processing Fee (Optional)
The L1 visa is eligible for premium processing. This means that for an additional fee of $1,225, USCIS offers an optional service where they will review your Form I-129 and give you an answer within 15 days.
This does not necessarily mean that USCIS will approve your case within 15 days. USCIS may issue a request for additional evidence within the 15-day span. If USCIS issues a request for additional evidence (RFE) then they are no longer bound by the 15-day response time. This means that once you respond to the RFE, USCIS can take longer than 15 days to answer your application. Oftentimes responses from USCIS can take 3 months or longer.
If you do not select premium processing, the current average processing time for a Form I-129 (standard processing) is about 3 months.
The petitioner (US employer) or the L1 beneficiary (the L1 employee) are allowed to pay the premium processing fee.
3. USCIS Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee
For L1 petitions, USCIS charges an additional fee to investigate fraudulent L1 filings. This USCIS Fraud Prevention and Detection fee is $500.
The USCIS Fraud Prevention and Detection fee is required if you are doing an initial L1 Form I-129 filing or if you are filing for a change of employer. This fee is not required if you are applying for an extension of your L1 status.
The petitioner (US employer) is required to pay this fee.
4. Visa Application Fee
Once your Form I-129 is approved, the next step is to apply for an L1 visa at the US consulate or embassy of your home country (this is called visa processing). To apply for your L1 visa, you are required to File a Form DS-160 with the Department of State. The filing fee for a DS-160 for an L1 visa is $190 per applicant.
The L1 beneficiary is responsible for paying this fee (L1 worker).
- If you are doing a change of status from another non-immigrant status to L1 status, then you will not be applying for an L1 visa and will not be responsible for this fee.
- If you are a citizen of Canada, then you can apply for L1 directly at a port of entry so you do not have to pay this fee.
5. Immigration Lawyer Legal Fee
The immigration lawyer legal fee is the fee your immigration lawyer will charge you to prepare and file your L1 visa application. The fee your immigration lawyer will charge you depends on many factors including their level of experience and the exact services they will be providing you.
- Work with an immigration lawyer that charges on a flat-fee basis. A flat-fee is a one-time fee that your immigration lawyer will charge to handle your case.
- Immigration lawyers either charge on a flat-fee or on an hourly rate. With hourly billing, there is a strong chance that your legal fees will be much higher than expected.
6. Public Law 114-113 Fee
Certain L1 petitioners are required to pay a special fee of $4,500, called the Public Law 114-113 fee.
An L1 petitioner is only required to pay the Public Law 114-113 fee if:
- They employ 50 or more employees in the US;
- Over half of their US employees are in H-1B or L1 status;
- The L1 petition is being filed on or after December 18, 2015; and
- They are filing an initial L1 petition or an L1 change of employer
- L1 extension requests by the same employer for the same employee do not require this fee.
- If required, this fee must be paid by the L1 petitioner (US company).
7. Business Entity Formation
Many L1 visa petitions fall under the category of an L1 “new office.” This means that the US company has been doing business for less than a year. If you are applying for an L1 visa as a new office, you may need to form a new company such as an LLC or a corporation. To do this, you may need to work with a lawyer or a company to set-up your company for you. This fee will vary depending on the lawyer or company you work with. The L1 petitioner (US company) is responsible for this fee.
8. Business Plan
For L1 “new office” petitions, you may need to submit a business plan with your case. Your L1 business plan should be prepared by a company that specializes in immigration business plans. The fee for your L1 business plan will depend on the company you work with. The L1 petitioner (US company) is responsible for this fee.
If you have any questions about the L1 visa fees, or if you need help getting an L1 visa, email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.