The United States has announced hike in the visa processing fee across several categories including fee for tourist and student visa. The new fee applicable from May 30 will mean that applicants including Indian citizens will have to shell out more money to get a US visa.
Sharing more details in notice, the US Embassy & Consulate in India said that the application fee for visitor and certain other non-immigrant visa categories will increase by USD 25 (Roughly INR 200 according to current exchange rate) from USD 160 to USD 185, effective May 30.
Similarly, the application fee for certain petition-based non-immigrant visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will increase from USD 190 to USD 205. However, applicants who paid for their visa application before May 30, 2023, will not be charged any additional fees.
The fee for a treaty trader, treaty investor, and treaty applicants in a specialty occupation (E category) will increase from USD 205 to USD 315.
The visa fee hikes range from INR 1,200 to INR 9,000 for various categories. Indian citizens will have to pay roughly INR 2,000 more while applying for the US visa. As per current exchange rates those applying for US visa under the given categories (tourist and student visa) will have to pay around INR 15,00 now instead of earlier estimated INR 13,000.
Explaining the reason behind the fee hike, the US Department of State in a communication said 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.
“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. Other consular fees are not affected by this rule, including the waiver of the two-year residency required fee for certain exchange visitors,” the US State Department said.
Visa categories that are affected by the hike are:
B1: Business; Domestic employee or nanny – must be accompanying a foreign national employer
B2: Tourism, vacation, pleasure visitor
H: Work visas
L: Intra-company transferee
O: Foreign national with extraordinary ability in Sciences, Arts, Education, Business or Athletics
P: Performing athlete, artist, entertainer
Q: International cultural exchange visitor
R: Religious worker
E: Treaty trader/treaty investor