U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a frequently asked questions (FAQ) sheet on October 7, 2010 that discusses the new additional fees of $2,000 for certain H-1B petitions and $2,250 for certain L-1A and L-1B petitions. The additional fee applies to H-1B or L-1 petitioners that employ 50 or more employees in the United States with more than 50 percent of their employees in the U.S. in H-1B, L-1A, or L-1B nonimmigrant status. USCIS noted that all employees in the U.S., regardless of whether they are paid through a U.S. or foreign payroll, will count toward the percentage calculation.

Among other things, the FAQ notes that until USCIS revises the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) and the Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition (Form I-129S), the agency recommends that all H-1B, L-1A, and L-1B petitioners include, as part of the filing packet, either the new fee or a statement or other evidence outlining why the new fee does not apply. Where the fee or documentation is not submitted with the filing, or where questions remain, USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) to determine whether the additional fee applies to the petition. Because USCIS will issue an RFE for the fee, rather than a rejection for the omission of the fee, USCIS will maintain the original filing date as the receipt date. Petitioners should wait to respond to the RFE before sending in the additional fee or an explanation of why the new fee does not apply. Once the revised I-129 and 1-129S are in place, USCIS will reject affected petitions submitted without the new fee. USCIS said it will release those revised forms “as soon as possible.”

The FAQ is available here.