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US increases fees for visit and non-immigrant visas

F.P. Report

WASHINGTON: The American government has raised the fees for applicants of visit and non-immigrant visas.

The Department of State published a Final Rule regarding increases to certain nonimmigrant visa application (NIV) processing fees and the Border Crossing Card (BCC) for Mexican citizens age 15 and over. These increases were published in the Federal Register on March 28, 2023 and will be effective on May 30, 2023.

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 $160 to $185. The fee for certain petition-based nonimmigrant visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q, and R categories) will increase from $190 to $205. The fee for a treaty trader, treaty investor, and treaty applicants in a specialty occupation (E category) will increase from $205 to $315.

NIV fees are set based on the actual cost of providing NIV services and are determined after conducting a study of the cost of these services. The Department 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.

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

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 Nonimmigrant Visa Units of the US Embassy in Islamabad and Consulate General Karachi are responsible for providing visa services to those seeking to enter the United States for a temporary period as tourists, business people, students, or specialty workers.

Visa interview scheduling, information services, fee collection, and document delivery in Pakistan are facilitated by a third-party company, CGI. Please visit CGI Pakistan’s website for complete information on applying for a nonimmigrant U.S. visa, including a directory of nonimmigrant visa categories.

US Embassy Islamabad and Consulate General Karachi prioritize students/exchange visitors (F and J visas) and temporary employees (H, L, O, P, and C1D visas). Travelers with urgent (i.e., matter of life or death) travel needs should check the requirements and process for an expedited appointment here.

Please note that certain cases are eligible for interview waiver, including certain renewals and most applicants under 14 or over 79. Learn more about interview waiver eligibility criteria here.

All nonimmigrant visa application fee (also known as the MRV fee) payments made on or after October 1, 2022, are valid for 365 days from the date a receipt is issued for payment of the MRV fee. Applicants must schedule an interview appointment or submit an interview waiver application during this 365-day period. Please note applicants must only schedule their interview or submit their waiver application within the 365-day period. There is no requirement the interview must occur during the 365-day period. All receipts for payment of MRV fees issued before October 1, 2022, were extended until September 30, 2023, and remain valid until this date.

Starting May 12, noncitizen nonimmigrant air passengers will no longer need to show proof of being fully vaccinated with an accepted COVID-19 vaccine to board a flight to the United States.