Law Offices of Stuart J. Reich, PLLC

Practice Limited to Immigration & Nationality Law

11 Broadway, Suite 615
New York, NY 10004

(212) 430-6582 phone
(212) 430-6583 facsimile

How Much Will It Cost, & Who Pays?

Q: How much will it cost to sponsor an employee?

A: Of, course, to some extent this depends on what you're sponsoring the employee for - whether you're sponsoring for a non-immigrant visa or permanent residence and the type of non-immigrant visa or permanent residence case all factor into the cost. While we suggest that you consult us for fees on a specific case, we'll try to provide a general idea here to assist you in determining feasibility.

Most non-immigrant visas cost $3,000 to $8,000 in legal fees through our office, with most (H-1Bs and L-1s, for instance) being at the low end of this. Most permanent residence cases range from $7,000 to $15,000 in legal fees over the course of the case, again with most cases clustered at the low end of the spectrum.

There will normally also be minor expenses associated with the case (postage and express mail, perhaps some photocopying), which generally run from $25 to $75. Where one employer seeks to process multiple cases, for various employees, legal fee discounts may often be negotiated depending upon volume.

In addition to legal fees, most filings with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of State require processing fees. With some exceptions (notably the H-1B non-immigrant visa and the Application to Adjust of Status to Permanent Residence, which each carry additional fees above the normal filing fees), most USCIS filings carry processing fees in the $300-$500 range.

For Department of State filings, fees generally range from $150 to $500.

The U.S. Department of Labor, the agency where Labor Condition Applications and Labor Certification Applications are filed, does not at this time require filing fees.

Q: Who pays legal fees, filing fees and expenses - the company or the employee?

A: For the most part, this is a subject for negotiation between employer and employee. With regard to legal fees, this is almost completely a matter between employer and employee. However, there are situations - both for non-immigrant [temporary] visas and for certain permanent residence processes, where the employer is required to pay.

For non-immigrant petitions where a prevailing or actual wage is required and monitored by the Department of Labor (cases requiring a Labor Condition Application, such as the H-1B and the E-3 non-immigrant visas): the Department of Labor, if auditing the employer to ensure compliance, would reduce the employee's salary by the amount the employee has paid in legal fees for the purposes of determining whether the employer is complying with the prevailing wage requirements of the Labor Condition Application. For an employee to pay these fees, that employee must be making a sufficient amount over the required wage to account for whatever he or she pays toward the process.

As far as government processing fees, the result is similar: this is primarily an issue for negotiation between employer and employee with the caveat that fees paid by an employee in cases requiring a Labor Condition Application will be considered by the Department of Labor in evaluating compliance (as discussed above for legal fees -again, the employee must be making enough over the required wage to account for anything paid).

Here though, there is an additional exception in H-1B cases where the ACWIA/Education fee is required. This ACWIA/Education fee, which is $1500 where the employer has 26 or more employees and $750 where the employer has 25 or fewer employees, must be paid by the employer in all cases. The employee may not pay the Education/ACWIA fee directly or through reimbursement to the employer

On the permanent side, all fees associated with PERM-based labor certification application - including legal fees and all advertising fees - must be paid by the employer, without exception. There can not legally be any agreement for the reimbursement of these fees by the foreign national to the employer.

Q: Are there any other, non-monetary costs?

A: Yes - the time of the manager or HR person responsible for the case. Primarily, this will simply be time spent reviewing, handling and signing documents and asking us any questions the company representative may have. Moistly, this will be negligible and will be spread out over the course of the case.

In the case of a labor certification-based permanent residence application, the responsible HR person or manager will likely spend significant additional time towards the beginning of the application process reviewing the resumes of applicants for the position and interviewing all potentially qualified applicants.

Contact us here to arrange a consultation, to inquire about retaining us to handle your immigration matter, or simply to suggest topics you would like to see covered on our site.

The above is presented for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship with our firm. The information provided should not be used as guidance in pursuing an immigration matter absent consultation with a qualified immigration attorney.