U.S. State Department Increases Fees for Nonimmigrant Visa Applications
International students planning to apply for a nonimmigrant visa to study in the United States may want to take note of the recent announcement by the Department of State. Effective May 30, 2023, certain nonimmigrant visa application (NIV) processing fees and Border Crossing Card (BCC) fees for Mexican citizens age 15 and over will increase.
The Department of State published a Final Rule detailing the fee increases on March 28, 2023. The fee for business or tourism visitor visas, including B1/B2s and BCCs and other non-petition-based NIVs such as student and exchange visitor visas, will increase from $160 to $185.
For certain petition-based nonimmigrant visas for temporary workers, such as H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories, the fee will increase from $190 to $205. Meanwhile, the fee for a treaty trader, treaty investor, and treaty applicant in a specialty occupation (E category) will increase from $205 to $315.
It's important to note that NIV fees are set based on the actual cost of providing NIV services and are determined after conducting a study of the cost of these services. The Department uses an Activity-Based Costing (ABC) methodology to calculate annually the cost of providing consular services, including visa services. The fees for most non-petition-based NIVs were last updated in 2012, and certain other NIV fees were last updated in 2014.
The State Department recognizes international travel's critical role in the U.S. economy, and visa fees for work and tourism are essential to President Biden's foreign policy. However, the Department also understands that these fee increases may impact individuals planning to study in the U.S. Therefore, the Department encourages international students to plan accordingly and budget for the new fees.
It's also worth noting that this rule does not affect other consular fees, including the waiver of the two-year residency required fee for certain exchange visitors.
If you're an international student planning to apply for a nonimmigrant visa, you can find fee information on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, travel.state.gov, and on the websites of U.S. embassies and consulates. Be sure to check these resources regularly for updates and changes to visa fees and application processes.
In conclusion, while the Department of State is committed to facilitating legitimate travel to the United States, it's important for international students to be aware of the new fees for certain nonimmigrant visa applications. By planning ahead and budgeting accordingly, you can ensure a smoother visa application process and focus on achieving your academic goals in the U.S.
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