The Department of State (DOS) recently started charging increased fees for certain visa applications. The prior fee was $131 for all nonimmigrant visas. The affected visas include:
- Petition-based Nonimmigrant visas (H, L, O, P, Q, and R) – fee raised to $150
- K (fiancé / spouse of U.S. Citizen) visa – fee raised to $350
- E (investors/traders) visas – fee raised to $390
- Non-petition based nonimmigrant visas (B1/B2, F, M and J) – fee raised to $140
DOS indicated that the fee increase is to ensure sufficient resources to cover the rising cost of processing nonimmigrant visas. The increase applies to nonimmigrant visas placed in passports and to border crossing cards issued to certain applicants in Mexico. The new fee structure is intended to cover the higher costs for processing certain categories of nonimmigrant visas that are more complicated and require more in-depth analysis. The DOS will examine the possibility of offering expedited service for visas with the increased fees.
This change has been criticized, especially with regards to the increase for the K category visas (used by fiancés and spouses of U.S. Citizens). The DOS indicated that the K visa fee increase was needed because the K visa requires an in depth interview process, extensive documentation and presents with a higher incident of fraud.
If you are applying for one of the affected visa categories, be sure to check with the consular post for more information regarding the applicable fee schedule.