DHS Proposes Biometric Fee for H-1B and L-1 Visa Extensions

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to amend regulations for the 9-11 Biometric Fee, expanding its application to all H-1B and L-1 extension-of-stay petitions. This move clarifies fee obligations and supports the enhancement of biometric data systems.
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Travellers with H-1B Visa or L-1 visas seeking extensions may face additional fees under a proposed rule change by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). These amendments aim to clarify and broaden the application of the fee, ensuring it encompasses all extension-of-stay petitions for these visa categories.

What’s changing?

The DHS is proposing to expand the application of the 9-11 Response and Biometric Entry-Exit Fee (9-11 Biometric Fee) to all H-1B and L-1 visa extension petitions. Currently, the fee only applies to certain petitions, such as those involving a change of employer.

Who is affected?

This change would impact companies with more than 50 employees in the US, where over half hold H-1B or L-1 visas (covered employers).

If the proposal passes, these employers will need to pay the 9-11 Biometric Fee for all H-1B and L-1 visa extension requests, even if there’s no change in employer.

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Also Read: Skip the Long Wait! Apply for a US Visa from These Countries Instead

What are H-1B and L-1 visas?

H-1B visas are for foreign workers with speciality skills or knowledge in fields like technology, engineering, and healthcare.

L-1 visas allow companies to transfer certain foreign employees with specialized knowledge or managerial roles to their US branches.

What is the 9-11 Biometric Fee?

Established in 2015, this fee helps fund biometric entry-exit programs. These programs use fingerprints and other biometric data to track visa holders entering and leaving the US. These programs are designed to enhance security, combat visa fraud, and protect against terrorism.

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The fee, set at $4,000 for H-1B petitions and $4,500 for L-1 petitions, contributes 50 per cent of its collected funds to the 9-11 Biometric Account, up to a cap of $1 billion.

  • $4,000 for H-1B petitions
  • $4,500 for L-1 petitions

Must Read: Major Fee Hike for H-1B, L-1, and EB-5 US Visas Goes into Effect April 01

Why the change?

The DHS says the proposed rule clarifies existing regulations and ensures they can collect the fee from all covered employers as intended by Congress. This will help fund the mandated biometric entry-exit system, enhancing border security and combating visa fraud.

What happens next?

The DHS proposal is currently open for public comment until July 8, 2024. This allows stakeholders to voice their opinions before the final rule is implemented.

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Conclusion

These regulatory changes proposed by DHS seek to ensure comprehensive fee application across all extension-of-stay petitions for H-1B and L-1 visas. This adjustment will support the department’s efforts to enhance national security and maintain compliance with congressional mandates for biometric data systems.

For more details on the proposed changes and how they might affect your visa petitions, visit the DHS website or consult with an immigration attorney.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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