The Department of State has announced fee increases, effective June 17, 2023, for certain nonimmigrant visa application (NIV) processing fees and the Border Crossing Card (BCC) for Mexican citizens age 15 and over, based on recent cost analysis by the Cost of Service Model (CoSM) and public feedback. The B1/B2 and BCC visitor visas and other non-petition based NIV’s, such as student and exchange visitor visas, will increase by $15 to $185. Petition-based nonimmigrant visas for temporary workers, such as the H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories, will increase by $15 to $205. The largest increase is seen for treaty trader, treaty investor, and treaty applicants in a specialty occupation (E category), with a $110 increase to $315. Please see the new fees, as outlined below:
Why Is There a Fee Increase?
In order to fully recover costs for consular services, the Department of State utilizes a Cost of Service Model to calculate the direct and indirect costs associated with the program and to project the future demand for the visas. Initially, the Department proposed increasing the fee for non-petition-based nonimmigrant visas (except E category) to $245; the H, L, O, P, Q, and R category nonimmigrant visas to $310; E category nonimmigrant visas to $485; BCCs for Mexican citizens age 15 and over to $245; and waiver of the two-year resident requirement for exchange visitors to $510. However, after a 60-day period of public comments, in which the Department received 328 comments (94 being duplicates), the government reevaluated the calculations used, and adjusted the fees to be significantly less than its initial proposal.
At first, the CoSM analysis was calculated by dividing the 10-year average number of receipts for that service by the total cost of each service. The public comments highlighted a range of concerns, such as the possibility of large fee increases deterring international students from seeking education opportunities in the United States, to potential detrimental financial burdens on agricultural businesses.
The Department also considered the volatility of the demand for such visas, as evident from the recent COVID-19 pandemic, which substantially impacted the visa programs. As a result, the CoSM determined the 10-year average for workload volumes based on historical data from 2015-2019 and projected the FY 2020-2024 needs. The CoSM will be updated biennially to continue adjusting the fees in relation to the full cost recovery needed by the Department of State to continue administering the services.
The J-waiver fee increase was postponed at this time, so it will remain at $120 for the foreseeable future. However, other fee increases may be coming down the pipeline, so stay tuned for more updates.
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The Grady Firm works with dynamic employers and employees across the country to prepare successful employment-based visa and Green Card applications. In addition, we help individuals, families, employees, business owners, and investors obtain non-immigrant and immigrant visas (B-1/B2, H-1B, H-2B, L-1A, L-1B, O-1, TN, E-2, E-3), as well and Green Cards and citizenship based on family relationships, investment, or employment.
This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.