In a move to align visa fees with the cost of providing consular services, the United States government has announced a 15 percent increase in work and student visa fees. The increased fees is for specific non-immigrant visa (NIV) applications.
The fee adjustment, effective from June 17, 2023, applies to categories including student visas, exchange visitor visas, and petition-based non-immigrant visas for temporary workers and treaty applicants.
According to the statement released on the Bureau of consular affairs website, the fee for visitor visas for business or tourism (B1/B2s and BCCs) and other non-petition-based NIVs such as student and exchange visitor visas will rise from $160 to $185.
Likewise, certain petition-based non-immigrant visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will increase from $190 to $205.
Additionally, the fee for treaty traders, treaty investors, and treaty applicants in a specialty occupation (E category) will rise from $205 to $315.
The adjustment in NIV fees is based on activity-based costing (ABC) methodology. This ensures that the fees correspond to the actual expenses involved in providing consular services, including visa services.
While most non-petition-based NIV fees were last updated in 2012 and certain other fees in 2014, the recent increase aims to keep up with the current costs.
It is important to note that this fee adjustment does not impact other consular fees, including the fee for applying for a waiver of the two-year residency requirement for certain exchange visitors, which remains at $120.
The Bureau of consular affairs advises individuals to refer to the official website, travel.state.gov, and the websites of U.S. embassies and consulates for detailed fee information and updates.
The fee increase signals the government’s commitment to ensuring the sustainability and quality of consular services, while also reflecting the evolving financial landscape of visa processing.
As the new fee structure takes effect, applicants and stakeholders are encouraged to stay informed about the latest updates and fee requirements to facilitate smooth visa applications.