New visa fees go into effect June 4

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The Department of State is raising visa application fees as of June 4. The new fees are as follows:

Most non-immigrant (temporary) visas and adult border crossing cards: $140

Petition-based non-immigrant visas (H,L,O,P,Q,R): $150

K (fiance(e)) category: $350

E (investor/trader) category: $390

Note that these are visa application fees only. In addition to the application fees, “reciprocity fees” are imposed for national of certain countries. As the name implies, reciprocity fees are based on the fees that those countries charge U.S. citizens for visas. A visa applicant must pay the application fee plus any applicable reciprocity fees. Neither fee is refundable if the visa is not issued.

As a reminder, most consular posts are now using the new electronic application form DS-160. This form is completed on-line and the applicant takes only a receipt to the appointment. This form has proved challenging, but we have successfully assisted several clients in completing it since roll-out.

This effort is part of the “paperless” visa goal. When we file a visa petition (such an H-1B), we send a duplicate copy that is transmitted by CIS (the adjudicating agency) to the Kentucky Consular Center to be scanned into an electronic system for consular access. For this reason, consulates are not supposed to require an original approval notice or a copy of the petition for a visa to be issued (although we sometimes send a copy just in case). Note that if for any reason CIS has not sent the petition to KCC, visa issuance will be delayed while the consulate contacts KCC to request the copy and scan it. This usually takes about two days. Note that we have no way to confirm that KCC has received the petition before your consular appointment.

Also as a reminder, those traveling without a visa on the visa waiver program (which is only for certain countries) must register in ESTA before using the visa waiver program. Go to http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/esta/ for information and to register.

This “paperless” world offers many benefits, but also can be frustrating when it does not work well. Fortunately, many posts will now correspond via email with attorneys, which is a great improvement over the old days of midnight calls in hopes that someone at the consulate would answer (although we are available for midnight calls when needed!).

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