How Much Does it Cost to Sponsor an O-1 Visa?- Overview

How much does it cost to sponsor an O-1 visa? is the second most important question that people ask themselves when they start their research. The most important question is about eligibility and qualification. The costs for an O-1 visa are not due all at once and are paid to different U.S. government agencies.

Employer Petition and Filing Fees

To begin the petition process, the U.S. employer or U.S. agent must first identify a candidate who meets the definition of “extraordinary ability.” An O-1 beneficiary who has risen to the very top of his or field in the sciences, education, business, the arts, athletics, motion picture/TV production is eligible for an O-1 visa. Once the terms of employment are agreed upon between the employer or U.S. agent and the O-1 beneficiary, the employer may begin the petition process.

Regular Processing: The filing fee for the I-129 Petition for Nonimmgrant Worker is $460. This is paid at the time of filing the petition. It may be paid with a money order, personal check, cashier’s check or by credit card using form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. The $460 fee covers regular processing. The wait time for regular processing for an O-1 visa is relatively short, compared to other visa categories. It takes about two months, according to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) current processing times. This fee is paid by the employer.

Premium Processing: Current processing time changes each month according to the volume of cases that USCIS receives. Sometimes, it may take longer than two months to receive a decision. This can be detrimental to your business if you are trying to fill a vacancy quickly. The government offers “premium processing” to cut the wait time. In addition to the $460 filing fee, if you pay for “premium processing” USCIS promises to make a decision on your application within 15 calendar days. If USCIS cannot process your application within 15 days, it will refund the premium processing fee and process your application regularly. The premium processing fee for a O-1 petition is $2,500. You may request premium processing at the time of filing the I-129 petition or later, while the application is pending. You submit your request by using form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service. This fee may be paid by the employer or the O-1 beneficiary.

Visa Application Fee: If USCIS approves the O-1 petition, the O-1 beneficiary is eligible to apply for change of status if he or she is in the U.S. or consular processing if he or she is abroad. For a change of status, the O-1 beneficiary will not incur a visa application fee. If the O-1 beneficiary is outside the U.S. he or she must complete a DS-160 visa application, online and pay $190. The fee is paid to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where the O-1 beneficiary intends to apply for a visa. This fee may be paid by the employer or the O-1 beneficiary.

Attorney’s Fees: A qualified immigration attorney may improve your chances of getting approved for an O-1 visa. Attorney’s fees start at $3,500 for this service. This includes providing legal advice, filing the petition, responding to any requests for evidence, filing the visa application, preparing the O-1 beneficiary for the interview and providing case updates.

How a Qualified Immigration Attorney Can Help

After reading this article you should have gained a basic understanding of the fees involved in applying for a O-1 visa. This is good information but it is not legal advice. Immigration law is highly complex and a qualified immigration attorney can help you avoid costly mistakes. Attorney Fletcher has helped hundreds of O-1 beneficiaries get approved for a O-1 visa.

IMG_1597 How Much Does it Cost to Sponsor an O-1 Visa?

Attorney, Cheryl Fletcher