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Cost rise for some US visas

Sean Douglas

THE US State Department on Wednesday announced hikes in several types of non-immigrant US visa, in a statement from the US Embassy in Port of Spain.

The statement said the Department of State was committed to facilitating legitimate travel to the US for both immigrant and non immigrant travellers.

In said that on Tuesday, the State Department published in the Federal Register a final rule on increases to certain non-immigrant visa application (NIV) processing fees and the Border Crossing Card (BCC) for Mexican citizens 15 and over, effective from May 30.

"The fee for visitor visas for business or tourism (B1/B2s and BCCs), and other non-petition based NIVs such as student and exchange visitor visas, will increase from US$160 to US$185.

"The fee for certain petition-based non immigrant visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will increase from US$190 to US$205.

"The fee for a treaty trader, treaty investor, and treaty applicants in a speciality occupation (E category) will increase from US$205 to US$315."

The statement said NIV fees were set based on the actual cost of providing NIV services as determined by doing a study of the costs of these services.

"The Department of State uses an activity-based costing 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.

"Other consular fees are not affected by this rule, including the waiver of the two-year residency required fee for certain exchange visitors."

All fee payments for visa interviews made on or after October 1, 2022 are valid for 365 days from the date a receipt is issued for payment of the fee.

"Applicants must schedule an interview appointment or submit an interview waiver application within 365 days of paying the fee. There is no requirement for the interview to occur during the 365-day period.

Receipts for fees paid before October 1, 2022 will continue to be valid until September 30, 2023, and applicants must schedule an interview or apply for an interview waiver before September 30, even as the interview need not occur before that date.

"Visas for work and tourism are essential to President Biden’s foreign policy, and the US Embassy recognises the critical role international travel plays in the US economy," the statement said.