As if coronavirus hasn’t already made business travel complicated enough, the cost of many of the most common non-immigrant business visas to the US is about to increase significantly. The USCIS recently announced an increase in the filing fees for certain immigrant and non-immigrant visas which allow foreign citizens to live and work in the United States. A chart of the fee changes for some of the most important visas for businesses is above, but overall it appears that the agency has chosen to spare immigrant visa applications the bulk of the costs, since those forms actually decreased as much as 21%. Those reductions were made at the expense of non-immigrant visa petitioners. The I-129 L increased a whopping 75% to $805 per petition.
The fee increases become effective October 2, 2020, and are intended to cover the costs of the agency’s activities, since the USCIS is supposed to be self-funding.
Overall, this seems consistent with the current administration’s general trend towards discouraging temporary business assignments to the US in favor of longer-term stays (or simply not coming to the US at all). Whether this is good for foreign direct investment remains to be seen.