Changes in Fees at U.S. Consulates02 Jul 2010
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued an interim final rule on June 28, 2010 amending the fee schedule for consular services. This rule is effective as of July 13, 2010. These changes are, with limited exception, different from the USCIS proposal to increase filing fees. The DOS fees involve various applications and services filed with the U.S. consulates abroad.
Reason for Fee Change
The DOS explains most of the fee changes as being necessary to recuperate the full cost of the particular service. The details related to the assessment of costs and other considerations in setting fees is in the Federal Register notice regarding this interim final rule. Additionally, to the extent that the consulates allow the filing of certain immigration forms, fees had to be adjusted due to USCIS filing fee increases.
Fees for U.S. Citizens
The fee changes at consular posts relate to a variety of cases. These include fees connected to passports, such as passport application fees, fees for passports with additional pages, and passport card fees. As part of the passport service, it is sometimes necessary to search government records for proof of an individual’s citizenship. In these cases, there is a fee for a records search that will be increasing under the interim rule. Fees that are not related to passports include applications for the report of birth abroad to a U.S. citizen, as well as citizenship renunciation documentation.
Fees for Foreign Nationals
Included in the changes are fees for immigrant visa applications. There will be additional related fees for a security check surcharge and, if applicable, an affidavit-of-support review. There was actually a reduction in the fee charged for returning resident visa applications.
Applicants traveling to the United States, or any person filing for documentation, should check the new fee schedule and be prepared to pay higher fees in most instances. The increases are all set forth in the notice, and correct fee information should be available on consular websites. Failure to send in the required fees will result the return or rejection of the entire package.