Wednesday, April 24, 2024

United States to increase cost of visas

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Washington – The United States Department of State on Tuesday published a Final Rule regarding increases to certain non-immigrant visa application (NIV) processing fees for Caribbean and other visitors.

The increases, published in the US Federal Register, will become effective on May 30, 2023.

The State Department said the fee for visitor visas for business or tourism (B1/B2s and BCCs), and other non-petition based NIVs, such as student and exchange visitor visas, will increase from US$160 to US$185.

The fee for certain petition-based non-immigrant visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will increase from US$190 to US$205, the State Department said, adding that the fee for a treaty trader, treaty investor and treaty applicants in a specialty occupation (E category) will increase from US$205 to US$315.

“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,” said the State Department, noting that it 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 said other consular fees are not affected by this rule, including the waiver of the two-year residency required fee for certain exchange visitors.

“Visas for work and tourism are essential to President Biden’s foreign policy, and we recognise the critical role international travel plays in the US economy,” it said, adding “the  Department of State is committed to facilitating legitimate travel to the United States for both immigrant and non-immigrant travelers.”

The State Department also said that the increased fees affect the Border Crossing Card (BCC) for Mexican citizens age 15 and over. (CMC)

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