DOS on Visa Application Fee Changes27 Apr 2012
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently announced major changes to nonimmigrant and immigrant visa fees. These fees are charged to applicants who apply for visas (sometimes referred to as visa “stamping”) at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. These new fees became effective April 13, 2012. The changes apply only to visa applications made abroad; they do not affect applications or petitions filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Many Nonimmigrant Fees Increase
The DOS announcement shows that application fees for B-1/B-2, F, J, H, L, O, P, and R visas, among others, will increase $20 to $40 per application. Fees for fiancé/e (K-1) visas, as well as treaty investor and treaty trader (E) visas, will be reduced by $110 and $120, respectively. The exact changes to the fees by visa type are included in the DOS media note.
The DOS explains that these nonimmigrant fee increases are related to additional processing costs. Included in these costs are expansions of existing U.S. embassies and consulates, as growing demand for visa services has necessitated construction of new facilities and staffing expansions to handle the processing of visa applications.
Immigrant Visa Fees Decrease
All immigrant (permanent resident or green card) visa fees, on the other hand, are being reduced. This decrease is substantial for some immigrant visa types. For example, applicants for employment-based (EB) immigrant visas previously paid $720 per application; the new fee is $405. Other immigrant visa fees have been reduced between $85 and $110. As stated, these fees are for visas at the U.S. consulates, this does not change the cost of applying for adjustment of status or any other benefit from within the United States.
Procedure when Visa Application Fees are Paid
The DOS WebSite has been updated to address questions about the timing of payments and the effect of the fee changes.
If a visa application fee was paid before April 13, 2012 and the fee has now decreased, the DOS will not issue a refund for the difference in price. If a visa fee was paid before April 13, 2012 and will now increase, the applicant will be responsible to pay the difference in the price if the visa applicant’s interview occurs after July 12, 2012. The DOS website states that there will be no exceptions made for the requirement to pay the higher fees as described above.
The Murthy Law Firm understands that the DOS has been taking steps to decrease visa processing times, and make more DOS facilities available in locations with high visa demand. It is understood that accomplishing these efforts is costly. We will continue to monitor changes to visa procedures and provide updates to MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers.
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