Your US travel plans are set to get a tad bit costlier. The country has increased its application fees for tourist, student visas and some other categories as well. This will be made effective from June 17. Furthermore, the US Embassy will increase visa appointments to accommodate more student applicants.
The US Department of State has announced that it is increasing some non-immigrant visa application processing costs by USD 25 (INR 2,066). So now, applicants will have to pay USD 185 (INR 15,291) as opposed to the earlier amount which was USD 160 (INR 13,225). The new fees will be applicable to those applying for visitor visas, for business, or tourism (B1/B2) and Border Crossing Cards (BCCs) for Mexicans, as well as other non-petition-based non-immigrant visas (NIVs), such as student and exchange visitor visas.
The statement added that the visa application fee paid on or after October 1, 2022, will be valid for 365 days from the date the payment receipt is issued. Applicants need to schedule their in-person/interview waiver appointment during this 365-day period. However, keeping in mind the waiting period for interview slots across embassies and consulates, it is mentioned that the interview need not occur during the 365-day period.
The embassy issued a record of 1,25,000 visas in 2022. Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy in New Delhi, Brendan Mullarkey, shared that they expect the demand to be high in 2023. In a conversation with The Print, he shared that, “Students should also note that it isn’t necessary to work with an agent to book a student visa appointment”. More student appointment slots will be made available soon to accommodate students, he added.
Categories of US Visa whose fees have been increased
Apart from the B1/B2, BCCs, student and exchange visas, the US Department of State said some other categories of petition-based NIVs will also see a fee hike. These are temporary worker categories — H, L, O, P, Q, and R — and the fees will be increased by USD 15 (INR 1,239). This means that applicants who had to pay USD 190 (INR 15,703) will now have to shell out USD 205 (INR 16,942). Further, the cost of an E-category visa, meant for treaty traders, investors, and applicants in speciality occupations, will be increased by USD 110 (INR 9,091). It will now cost them USD 315 (INR 26,034) instead of USD 205 (INR 16,942).
The US Department of State’s website reads that the visa fees are based on the actual cost of providing non-immigrant visa services and are determined after studying the cost of these services. The Department uses an Activity-Based Costing (ABC) methodology to calculate the cost of providing consular services, including visa services, annually, the statement adds.
The fees for most non-petition-based NIVs were earlier updated in 2012, while for certain other non-immigrant visas, it was updated in 2014.
Read more about the visa fees here.
(All INR conversions were done at the time of writing)
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