With effect from 30 May 2023, the United States has increased some non-immigrant visa (NIV) application processing costs, making student and tourist visas more expensive, as per US State Department, reports Wion.
The application fee has gone up from USD 160 to USD 185 for visitor visas for business or tourism (B1/B2s), as well as other non-petition-based NIVs including student and exchange visitor visas.
For several petition-based non-immigrant worker visas, H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories, the application fee has increased from USD 190 to USD 205.
H, L, O, P, Q, and R visas are for temporary workers, those who wish to visit the United States for employment that will last a set amount of time. There are several categories exist within them based on the nature of employment.
Treaty traders, investors, and applicants in speciality occupations, E category, now have to pay a USD 315 application fee instead of the previous USD 205 amount.
All other consular fees remain unchanged. No further fees will be assessed to applicants who have previously paid a valid and non-expiring visa application fee but have not yet appeared for their visa interview or are awaiting their case processing.
Any fee payment for a visa interview made on or after October 1, 2022 is valid for 365 days from the day the fee payment invoice was issued.
The validity of fees paid by applicants prior to October 1, 2022 will last through 30 September, 2023.
As per State Department, visa fees are determined based on the findings of an annual review of service costs. The majority of non-petition-based NIV costs last underwent an upgrade in 2012, while certain additional NIV fees underwent an update in 2014.
“Visas for work and tourism are essential to President Biden’s foreign policy, and we recognize the critical role international travel plays in the U.S. economy,” the US State Department said in a statement. As a result, candidates must schedule an interview in advance or submit an application for an interview waiver by September 30, 2023.
As far as India is concerned, the US State Department hopes to grant 1 million visas to Indians this year, surpassing the figure of around 800,000 issued prior to the pandemic, according to Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services, who spoke to Press Trust of India earlier.
“We have increased the number of officers going to India. We have set up arrangements, which is unprecedented, with other embassies in the world like Bangkok to take Indians who are seeking visas. We are opening a new consulate in Hyderabad… and we’re just focused on making sure that we can bring the wait time down in India,” she said.
PTI citing a top official in the US President Joe Biden’s administration reported that the wait period for an Indian’s interview for a US visitor’s visa has been cut by 60% this year. (Source: Wion)