Labor Immigration Law

United States Labor Immigration Law News and Analysis

US Consular Visa Processing Fees to Change April 13, 2012

Effective April 13, 2012, the Department of State is changing the visa processing fees.   Some of the fees will increase, while some will decrease.  For example, the fees for most nonimmigrant visa applications and Border Crossing Cards will increase.  On the other hand, all immigrant visa processing fees will decrease (some by a substantial amount).

Nonimmigrant Visas — Fees Increase

The Department of State is required to recover, as must as possible, the cost of processing a visa application and a stamp through the collection of application fees.  According to the Department of State, for a number of reasons, the current fees no longer cover the actual cost of processing nonimmigrant visas. As a result, the nonimmigrant visa fee increase will support the addition and expansion of overseas facilities, as well as additional staffing required to meet increased visa demand.

Although most categories of nonimmigrant visa processing fees will increase, the fee for E visas (treaty-traders and treaty-investors) and K visas (for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens) will decrease.

Type of Visa Previous Fee New Fee
Tourist, Business, Transit, Crew Member, Student, Exchange Visitor, and Journalist visas $140 $160 ()
Petition-Based visas (H, L, O, P, Q, and R) $150 $190 ()
Treaty Investor and Trader visas (E) $390 $270 ()
Fiancé(e) visas (K) $350 $240 ()
Border Crossing Cards (age 15 and older) $140 $160 ()
Border Crossing Cards (under age 15) $14 $15 ()


Immigrant Visas – Fees Decrease

Because of a reallocation of costs associated with immigrant visas, all categories of immigrant visa processing fees will decrease as shown below.  Some of the fee decreases are fairly significant.

Type of Visa Previous Fee New Fee
Immediate Relative and Family Preference Applications $330 $230 ()
Employment-Based Applications $720 $405 ()
Other Immigrant Visa Applications $305 $220 ()
Diversity Visa Program Fee $440 $330 ()
Determining Returning Resident Status $380 $275 ()


Conclusion

We welcome the Department of State’s efforts to make its services more affordable and for its fees to reflect the actual cost of services provided.   It should be noted that it has been thought that some of the weaker demand in certain immigration visa categories, during the past few years, has been thought to be due to the high fees.    By lowering the immigrant visa fees, the Department of State may be addressing concerns that some of its services are pricing some applicants out.

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This article is presented by the Capitol Immigration Law Group PLLC, an immigration law firm serving individual and corporate clients in the Washington, D.C. area and nationwide. We specialize in U.S. labor immigration law and we have successfully represented individuals from more than 30 countries and Fortune 100 companies. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney. For more information, please contact us.