A new schedule of fees for a number of consular services will go into effect on September 12, 2014. Every year the Department of State (DOS) reviews the cost of services and the new fees more accurately reflect the costs to the Department for providing these services.
Immigrant processing fee for employment-based visa application will decrease by $60 from $405 to $345 while the fee for family-based visa application will increase by $95 from $230 to $325. The increase in processing fee for family-based immigrant visa is based on the August 2013 cost-of-service model update which shows that visa processing for this category costs more than other categories. All other immigrant visa applications will decrease from $220 to $205.
The nonimmigrant visa processing fee for Treaty Investors (E-1) and Trade (E-2) visas will decrease by $65 from $270 down to $205. The fee for Fiancé(e) (K) visas will increase by $25 from $240 to $265. The fee for Border Crossing Card for Mexican citizen minor applicants under the age of 15 will increase by $1 from $15 to $16. Fees for all other categories of nonimmigrant visa processing will remain the same.
The fee for determining returning resident status will decrease from $275 to $180. The fee for waiver of the two-year residence requirement for J-1 visa holders will also drop from $215 to $120. The affidavit of support fee, on the other hand, will increase by $32 from $88 to $120.
The fee for administrative processing of formal renunciation of U.S. citizenship will increase to $2,350 which is five times more the current fee of $450. The increase is largely due to the substantial amount of time consular officers spend to accept, process, and adjudicate these requests.
The charge for consular time or fee for services performed outside normal business hours will be lowered from $231 to $135.
The proposed fees were published in the Federal Register on August 28, 2014 and will take effect September 12 or 15 days from publication. Applicants will have to pay the fee in effect on the day of payment. Individuals availing of American Citizen Services at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate are required to pay the fees on the date the services are delivered. They cannot pay the fees in advance.
For immigrant visa applicants, they will pay the fee printed on the fee bill they receive from the National Visa Center. Immigrant visa receipts are valid for one year.
For nonimmigrant visa applicants, they will be charged the processing fee in effect on the date of payment. Payment of nonimmigrant fees is generally made in advance of the appointment. Where there is an increase in the processing fee, receipts for payments made 90 days prior to September 12 or through December 11, 2014 will still be accepted and the applicant does not need to pay for the difference. After that date, however, the applicant will have to pay the balance when he appears for his appointment.
If the processing fee for the visa category declines and the applicant paid prior to September 12, he will not be entitled to a refund.
The last time the processing fees were increased was two years ago. The fee changes are based on the Department of State’s latest cost-of-service study. The DOS estimates that it will process more than 11 million nonimmigrant visa applications and around 600,000 immigrant visa applications for fiscal year 2014.