Working Visa in USA Cost: Understanding the Financial Aspects


When thinking about moving to the USA for work, one of the first things that come to mind is the visa process. A working visa is essential for anyone who wants to live and work in the United States legally. But what are the costs associated with obtaining a working visa? Let’s dive into the details to help you understand the financial aspects of this process.

Types of Working Visas in the USA

There are several types of working visas available, each catering to different job roles and qualifications. The most common ones include:

H-1B Visa

The H-1B visa is for professionals in specialty occupations that require a higher education degree or its equivalent.

L-1 Visa

The L-1 visa is for intra-company transferees who work in managerial positions or have specialized knowledge.

O-1 Visa

The O-1 visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement in fields such as science, arts, education, business, or athletics.

E-2 Visa

The E-2 visa is for investors and entrepreneurs who invest a significant amount of capital in a U.S. business.

General Costs Associated with a Working Visa

When applying for a working visa, several costs can add up. Here’s a general overview of what you can expect:

Application Fees

Each visa type has a specific application fee that must be paid to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Attorney Fees

Many applicants hire immigration attorneys to navigate the complex visa process, which adds legal fees to the overall cost.

Other Miscellaneous Costs

These can include costs for medical examinations, document translations, and travel expenses.

Detailed Cost Breakdown by Visa Type

Let’s break down the costs for each type of working visa:

H-1B Visa Costs

  • Filing Fees: Typically range from $460 to $2,500 depending on the specifics of the application.
  • Premium Processing Fees: An optional service for faster processing, costing an additional $2,500.

L-1 Visa Costs

  • Petition Fees: Generally around $460.
  • Fraud Prevention and Detection Fees: An additional $500 fee to help prevent visa fraud.

O-1 Visa Costs

  • Filing Fees: Around $460.
  • Additional Costs: These may include expenses related to proving extraordinary ability, such as documentation and expert opinion letters.

E-2 Visa Costs

  • Filing Fees: Typically $205.
  • Investment Requirements: This can vary widely, but generally, a substantial investment is required, often in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Employer Sponsorship and Its Costs

Responsibilities of the Employer

In many cases, employers are responsible for covering some or all of the visa application costs.

Costs Covered by Employers

Employers often cover filing fees, legal fees, and other necessary expenses related to the visa application process.

Hidden Costs to Consider

While the above are the primary costs, there are several hidden costs that you might encounter:

Travel Expenses

These include costs for traveling to and from the U.S. for interviews and final relocation.

Documentation and Translation Services

You might need professional translation services for your documents, which can add to the cost.

Medical Examination Fees

A medical examination is often required, and the cost can vary depending on the provider.

Cost-Saving Tips

Navigating the visa process can be expensive, but here are some tips to help manage the costs:

Applying Early

Early application can help avoid premium processing fees and give you time to gather necessary documents without rushing.

Choosing the Right Attorney

Select an attorney who specializes in immigration law and has a good track record to avoid unnecessary legal costs.

Utilizing Employer Resources

Take advantage of any resources or support your employer offers for the visa application process.


Understanding the costs associated with obtaining a working visa in the USA is crucial for planning your move. By knowing the various fees and potential hidden costs, you can better prepare financially and avoid any surprises. Remember, while the process can be expensive, thorough preparation and the right resources can help you manage these costs effectively.