Who Has To Pay H-1B Fees? Does an Employer Have to Pay H-1B Fees?

Who Has To Pay H-1B Fees? Does an Employer Have to Pay H-1B Fees?

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits a company to hire workers in specialty occupations. This visa category requires that the foreign worker have at least a Bachelor’s degree, and the U.S. employer can employ the worker for up to six years. While the bar for this visa is relatively low (the job must require a bachelor’s degree) the visa does have a cap such that only 85,000 visas are issued every year. In the last two years, the cap was reached right when the H-1B filing season opened in April and this is expected again in 2015. This is a very popular visa because unlike many other non-immigrant visas that make applying for a green card very difficult and require foreign workers to maintain a residence in their home country, the H-1B visa permits for “dual intent.” This dual intent allows one to apply for a green card while in the U.S. without running into problems.

One key thing to keep in mind with this Visa is that the entity filing the petition is the U.S. company and not the U.S. worker. In fact, the U.S. worker does not even sign the petition and is only listed as the beneficiary on the petition. We receive numerous calls regarding H-1B visas and some questions are always the same. Does the Employer have to pay H1B fees? Can an employee pay the H-1B fees? Can an Employer Seek Reimbursement of H1-B fees when the Employee is terminated? The answer to these questions depends upon the expense but generally speaking, costs must be paid by the employer and reimbursement contracts with an employee upon the employee’s termination can be tricky.

Who has to Pay H-1B Filing and Legal Fees?

For legal fees, the short answer is that the H-1B employer cannot require that an employee pay for or reimburse the employer for attorney fees associated with an H-1B Visa. The rules here are clear and this means that the employer is not permitted to enter in to a side arrangement with the employee to pay back fees and an employer cannot take the amount out of their pay. Employers may however get an employee to pay the legal fees associated with filing an application for the H-1B’s dependent spouse or child. You should keep in mind that the employer is required to sign an attestation in the labor condition application that they paid the fees and that they will not seek reimbursement from the employee.

The same rule applies to most filing fees. The H-1B visa has quite extensive filing fees that can amount to over $3,000 depending on the size of the company. Most of these fees cannot be paid by the employee. There is one exception though. If 15-day premium processing is desired, ($1225), this optional fee may generally be paid by either party.

Can an Employer Get an H-1B Employee to Reimburse them for Fees Upon Termination?

Employers should be cautious when drafting contracts that require an H-1B employee to reimburse them for H-1B expenses when they leave the company. The law in this area (and the payment of H-1B fees) stems from the prevailing wage determination associated with H-1B petitions which mandates that the employer must pay the employee a wage that is set by the Department of Labor so that lower paid H-1B workers are not displacing U.S. workers. If the reimbursement is a “penalty for ceasing employment with the employer prior to a date agreed to by the nonimmigrant and the employer” then the employer will not be able to recover. In some circumstances though, an employer may receive “liquidated damages” from an H-1B nonimmigrant who leaves the company so that the payment is viewed as a true reimbursement for the time and money spent by the company. These circumstances depend on how the damages are classified in the immigration context (e.g. legal fees or filing fees) and also on the facts and circumstances and whether state law deems the damages permissible. This is a very tricky areas and you should always have any reimbursement clauses reviewed by an immigration attorney.

For more practical or legal advice contact Scott Legal, P.C.. We offer services in a number of business areas including, Immigration, New Business set up, Contract review and development and entrepreneurial support. Call 212-223-2964 or email iscott@legalservicesincorporated.com for a consultation.

To find out more about our immigration and business services, contact Scott Legal, P.C.


Ian E. Scott, Esq. is the Founder of Scott Legal, P.C. He can be reached at 212-223-2964 or by email at info@legalservicesincorporated.com.

This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising.  Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed.  Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results.  Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

Ian E. Scott is a Harvard Law School Graduate, lawyer and author of Law School Lowdown: Secrets of Success from the Application Process to Landing Your First Job.  Mr. Scott worked as a corporate litigator in the law firm Cleary Gottlieb and currently runs his own law firm Scott Legal, P.C. specializing in Immigration Law & New Business set-up. 

February 12th, 2015|27 Comments


  1. Maria July 21, 2017 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Hi, my employer renewed my H1b visa and now they have me sign a contract to stay for 3 because they renew it and pay for it. If i leave earlier than 3 yrs then i have to pay $2000. Is this even possible?

    • IanScott July 21, 2017 at 11:40 pm - Reply

      Thank you for contacting us. Please contact us if you would like to set up a one hour consultation. Kind regards,

  2. Sam July 12, 2017 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Hi, I joined the company ABC back in Apr, and started getting paychecks, after 3 months my h1 transfer it got denied by USCIS due to invalid employer-employee relationship, now they company is asking me for h1 transfer fee which they never mentioned to me before, now what do I do? I am in deep trouble and cannot afford to pay them h1 transfer cost all of a sudden. Is this even legal for them to ask me for h1 transfer fee? What are my options here? They are also with holding my last 2 weeks pay to cover up the h1 transfer fee please advise.

    • IanScott July 21, 2017 at 11:43 pm - Reply

      Thank you for contacting us. Please call to setup a consultation at your convenience. Kind regards,

  3. Sara April 26, 2017 at 4:32 am - Reply


    What if employee leave the employer during H-1B visa process? Does employee have to pay back to employer for the attorney and application fee or company’s loss?

    Please answer my questions! Thank you!

    • IanScott April 27, 2017 at 3:58 am - Reply

      The employer must pay the H-1B visa fee and should not seek reimbursement from employees. Please contact us if you would like to set up a one hour consultation if you have any further questions. Kind regards,

  4. JP Tummler January 14, 2017 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    My employer sponsored my H1B visa and they are not giving me any raises for three years as a way to compensate for the cost of the visa. Is this legal or just a very sneaky way to charge me for the visa without leaving any proof of it? Is there anything I can do?

    • IanScott January 15, 2017 at 1:20 am - Reply

      I would need more details. Please contact us if you would like to set up a one hour consultation.
      Kind regards,

  5. neil January 5, 2017 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    hello, i have been offered a job. the company have said they wont cover the cost of applying for h1b but can fill out the paperwork etc. Can i pay the fees myself? Thanks

    • IanScott January 6, 2017 at 12:39 am - Reply

      Thank you for contacting us. Please find attached our credit card link to make your $250 consultation payment for a one hour consultation. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Once we receive the payment, we can schedule and confirm your appointment. Please reach out if you have any questions.


      Kind regards,

    • likitha janga January 13, 2017 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      hi NEIL did you find any solution? I am having the same problem….
      Please do mail me if you find anything….

  6. David Andrews November 5, 2016 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    My employee is suing me for half of the legal fees paid for my H1b. I had some issues with my h1 and legal fees associated with my case came to $26000. I have left the company over two years ago but received a summons. Can they do this ?

    • IanScott November 5, 2016 at 6:09 pm - Reply

      Employers are required to pay for H-1b fees but if your fees were $26K, it appears there was something going on there. We would be happy to review your engagement letter and contract and would bill at $395 per hour to do this. After the review, we would be able to give you a more complete answer.
      Kind regards,

  7. Woodstock November 3, 2016 at 12:50 am - Reply

    Hi. I have a question.
    My employer sponsored a H1B visa for me. They made me sign a document stating that if I leave earlier than 3 years, then I have to pay for the expenses of the visa procedure. Is this legal?
    Thank you.

    • IanScott November 5, 2016 at 6:17 pm - Reply

      Please contact us to set up a consultation to discuss.

  8. Alex Verbi October 25, 2016 at 4:42 pm - Reply


    What about for L1-B visas ?
    I received a lump sum for relocation that I expect to have to pay back if I leave within the 1st year of employment, but could an employer also demand repayment of the visa filing and immigration lawyer fees ? (I was never notified of the total cost of this process)

    In the “Expense Recovery Agreement for relocation expenses” that my employer had me sign there is the following:

    “FOR VALUE RECEIVED, the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, I agree to the following agreement, terms and conditions:…”

    “Company XYZ, at its sole discretion, may demand reimbursement from me the total payment made to me or on my behalf by Company XYZ with respect to my relocation. This includes any lump sum payment made to cover relocation related expenses.”

    • IanScott October 26, 2016 at 2:53 am - Reply

      Please contact us if you would like to set up a one hour consultation. Kind regards,

  9. Toni September 21, 2016 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Hi, I understand that the company has to pay for H1b Fees. In my case, my application was denied and the firm is reluctant to appeal. Is it possible/allowed for me to pay for the appeal expense from a legal standpoint?

    • IanScott September 22, 2016 at 3:06 am - Reply

      Likely not but we would have to research to be sure. Kind regards,

  10. Sam July 14, 2016 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Is there any guideline as to who pays the consular fee? Can an employee claim the same from the employer post obtaining the visa and starting work in the USA?

    • IanScott July 14, 2016 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      Thank you for contacting us. I am not aware of any guidance on this but my general thought with out researching it is that either party could pay the DS-160 fee. Kind regards,

  11. Bill May 3, 2016 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this information. Quick question. Can an employer have the employee pay the subject fees IF the employer is paying the employee more than the prevailing wage so as to cover the amount of those fees?

    • IanScott May 3, 2016 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      The employer cannot pay fees for H-1B other than the premium processing fees.

      • alice April 25, 2017 at 10:48 pm - Reply

        Hi, did you miss writing? The employee cannot pay fees?

        • IanScott April 27, 2017 at 3:49 am - Reply

          The employer should pay the H-1B fees. Kind regards,

  12. Thak bahadur purja November 16, 2015 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    Hi can i get job in usa please one of my usa cityzen friend told me that he has got job for me but that employer can send me visa easily.

    • IanScott November 16, 2015 at 8:17 pm - Reply

      Please contact us if you would like to set up a consultation to discuss your case. Our $250 consult fee is applied towards your final bill should you decide to hire the firm.

      Thank you,

Leave A Comment


barronsnysbasuper lawyers

Contact Info

40 Worth Street, Floor 10, New York, NY, 10013

Phone: 212-223-2964

Web: Scott Legal, P.C.

Visa Services

Search Our Blog by Topic

Recent Posts