Volume 6, Number 6

November 1, 2010

The Communiqué is an on-going series of messages to departments who sponsor international scholars at Boston University. With the Communiqué, we offer information that helps in the processing of scholar immigration-related documents and petitions. We hope you find the Communiqué a useful tool in working with the ISSO and in successfully hiring and sponsoring scholars from around the world. Past Communiqués are archived on our web site. Click here to go to the archive page.

USCIS to Adjust Processing Fees in November

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently announced that immigration processing fees will change for all immigration petitions submitted on or after 11/23/2010.

For Boston University departments hosting international visitors and employees, this announcement primarily affects the following fees:

Fee Type Current Fee New Fee Effective 11/23/2010 Fee Paid By
Application Fee for H-1B petitions $320 $325 Paid by ISSO for all H-1B petitions, including extensions
(Additional) H-1B Anti-Fraud Fee $500 $500 (no change) Paid by ISSO for all new H-1B petitions, including change of status, change of employer and concurrent employment
Premium Processing fee to Expedite USCIS Processing on H-1B Petition $1,000 $1,225 Generally paid by hiring department when expedited USCIS processing is required
I-539 Application for Extension or Change of Status $300 $290 (note fee decrease!) Paid by applicant, in various scenarios including:

  • Change to a J-1 status.
  • Dependents applying for change to or extension of H-1B, O-1 or other status.
  • Employees ending H-1B or O-1 sponsorship, changing to F, J, B, or other status.

Standard H-1B Processing Fees

Most immigration processing fees are centrally funded by the Office of the Provost and paid for by the ISSO. This includes a total of $825 in processing fees for each H-1B petition for initial employment, change of status, change of employer and concurrent employment, and a total of $325 in processing fees for each H-1B extension and amendment>

H-1B Premium Processing Fee

H-1B sponsorship is a multi-step processing with several agencies, as described in detail at: http://www.bu.edu/isso/administrators/h1/index.html

H-1B processing can take about six months time, from the point a case is submitted to the ISSO until we receive notification of USCIS adjudication on the case. In certain cases, a USCIS decision is required for the employee to commence or continue employment or for the employee to travel abroad and apply for an H-1B visa. While the USCIS step in processing can take 2-4 months, it is possible to request expedited “Premium Processing” from the USCIS, which guarantees adjudication within 15 days time.

BU hiring departments or employees who wish to expedite USCIS processing for an H-1B case, are responsible for covering the Premium Processing fee. This fee will jump significantly from $1,000 to $1,225 for any expedite requests received at USCIS on or after 11/23/2010. Departments who have H-1B petitions pending with the ISSO or USCIS may wish to inquire whether Premium Processing will become necessary.

In order to move a case from regular USCIS Processing to Premium Processing a check payable to “US Department of Homeland Security” should be forwarded to Andre a Popa at the ISSO, along with the name of the employee for whom expedited processing is being requested.

Application for Change of Status

The processing fee for the Form I-539 Application for Change or Extension of Status Applications will decrease from $300 to $290.

This application is used in several situations, including:

  • F-1 students on Optional Practical Training or others applying for change to a J-1 scholar status.
  • Dependents of BU employees in H-1B or O-1 statuswho are applying for change of status to or extension of H-4 or other status.
  • H-1B employees ending their BU employmentand changing to a status such as F-1 student, J-1 exchange visitor, H-4 dependent or B-2 visitor.
  • Certain other applications for change of immigration status in the US.

The I-539 fee is generally paid by the applicant directly.

The Form I-539 is notused for persons wishing to change to H-1B status as there is another form used for this purpose.

If the ISSO will be working a case in November that requires an I-539 or Premium Processing fee, please make certain that a check or money order for correct amount is submitted with the case.

Further information about the USCIS fee modifications can be found at: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/

Your Scholar Services team,

Olivia K. Whitman
International Scholar Advisor

Mari Kim
International Scholar Advisor

M. Andrea Popa
Assistant Director for Scholar Services

Jeanne E. Kelley

International Students & Scholars Office
Boston University
888 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02215

Tel: (617) 353-3565
Fax: (617) 358-1170


Are you a new BU department contact or new host to an international scholar? Are you a BU affiliate who wants to receive the ISSO Communiqué? To update your department’s contact information or to sign up for the ISSO Communiqué, please complete a Department Contact/Host Update Form on-line at: http://www.bu.edu/isso/administrators/contacts/index.html