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Immigrant Visas
 

FEES:  Changes in Visa and Citizens’ Services

Effective September 12, 2014, the Department of State will adjust processing fees for some services.  (Please note that the document printed in the Federal Register today listed an incorrect effective date that the new fees will go into effect.  Based on the effective date of 15 days after publication, the correct date is September 12, 2014.  Consular Affairs is in the process of issuing a Correction Notice in the Federal Register.)  The fees for most categories of immigrant visas will change, while fees for nonimmigrant visas largely remain the same.  The fee for processing an application for Renunciation of U.S. Citizenship is increasing to reflect the true cost of providing this service.

The Department seeks to recover, as far as possible, the cost of providing consular services through the collection of consular fees.  The Department regularly reviews these costs and adjusts fees as necessary to reflect the cost of service.

Although most categories of nonimmigrant visa processing fees will remain the same, the fee for E visas (treaty-traders and treaty-investors) will decrease and the fee for K visas (for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens) will increase.  The fee charged for Border Crossing Cards for Mexican citizen minor applicants under the age of 15 will increase by $1.

For immigrant visa processing, the fee for family-sponsored immigrant visas will increase, as will the fee for domestic review of an Affidavit of Support.  All other immigrant and special visa processing fees that are changing will decrease.

Documenting a U.S. citizen's renunciation of citizenship is extremely costly, requiring U.S. consular officers overseas to spend substantial amounts of time to accept, process, and adjudicate cases.  The fee for processing renunciation of citizenship, which had previously been subsidized, is now reflective of the true cost.

The proposed fees were published in the Federal Register today, and will take effect in 15 days.  To view the interim final rule, visit www.regulations.gov.  Comments will be accepted until 60 days after publication.  At that time, the Department will consider the public comments, and the published final rule will include the Department’s response to any comments received.

Fee information may also be found on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, travel.state.gov, and on the websites of U.S. embassies and consulates.

Q: What are the new Nonimmigrant Visa Processing fees?

  Nonimmigrant Visa Processing Fees

Type of Visa

Previous Fee

New Fee

Treaty Investor and Trader visas (E)

$270

$205

Fiancé(e) visas (K)

$240

$265

Border Crossing Card (under age 15)

$15

$16

 Q: What are the new Immigrant Visa Processing fees?

Immigrant Visa Processing Fees

Type of Visa

Previous Fee

New Fee

Immediate Relative and Family Preference Applications

$230

$325

Employment-Based Applications

$405

$345

Special Immigrant Visa Applicants (except for Diversity Visa applicants)

$220

$205

Determining Returning Resident Status

$275

$180

Waiver of Two-Year Residency Requirement

$215

$120

Affidavit of Support Review (only when reviewed domestically)

$88

$120

 

Q: What are the new fees for administrative service fees, such as documenting renunciation of citizenship?

Citizens’ and Administrative Services

Type of Service

Previous Fee

New Fee

Administrative Processing of Formal Renunciation of Citizenship

$450

$2,350

Charge for Consular Time (for fee services performed outside of normal business hours or away from the office)

$231

$135

 

Q: When do the new processing fees go into effect?

  • The new fees will go into effect on September 12, 15 days after the day the interim final rule was published in the Federal Register.

Q: What if I already paid my fee for an appointment after September 12?

  • Applicants will be charged the fee in effect on the day of payment. 
  • Fees for American Citizens Services are paid directly to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the date the service is delivered.  Fees cannot be paid in advance.
  • For immigrant visa fees, the fee charged to an applicant will be the fee printed on the fee bill the applicant receives from the National Visa Center.  Receipts for Immigrant Visa application processing remain valid for one year. 
  • Nonimmigrant visa fees are generally paid in advance of the appointment through a bank contracted to provide fee collection services.  Applicants using such a service will pay the application fee valid on the date they make that payment, with receipts valid for one year.  For categories in which fees are increasing, receipts for payments made prior to the fee changes will be accepted for 90 days after the fee takes effect, or through December 11, 2014; after that date, applicants will pay the balance of the fee when they appear for their appointment. 
  • In those countries where nonimmigrant visa fees are paid directly to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, applicants will pay the fee valid on the date of their appointment.  Nonimmigrant visa application fee receipts remain valid for one year.
  • In categories where fees are declining, no refunds will be available for those who paid prior to the effective date; however, these receipts are valid for one year from the date of issuance.

Q: Why does the Department not issue refunds?  I overpaid, and want my money back.

  • Application fees are assessed based on the day of payment.  Therefore, no refunds will be given.  However, receipts for payments made before the fee change will continue to be valid for one year from the date of issuance.

Q: Can I comment on these fees?

  • The Department will accept public comments on the rule and the supporting data for 60 days after the date of publication.
  • The public may comment on the rule at www.regulations.gov.
  • At the close of the comment period, we will review and consider any comments received from the public and the published final rule will include our responses to the comments received.

Q: Why is the Department establishing new, higher fees for certain types of family-based immigrant visas and K (fiancé) visas?

  • The August 2013 cost-of-service model update costs showed that certain categories of family-based petitioned visas cost more to process than other categories of visas.
  • The new fees reflect the costs of each visa service.

Q: Why is the fee for processing renunciation of U.S. citizenship now $2,350?

  • The 2012 cost-of-service model update demonstrated that documenting a U.S. citizen’s renunciation of citizenship requires U.S. consular officers to spend substantial amounts of time to accept, process, and adjudicate cases.  In addition to the work done at the embassy or consulate, the case comes back to the Department for a final review and decision, which involves additional resources.
  •  A renunciation is a serious decision, and we need to be certain that the person renouncing fully understands the consequences.  This process sometimes takes multiple appointments to complete.
  • For example, consular officers must confirm that the potential renunciant fully understands and intends the consequences of renunciation, including losing the right to reside in the United States without documentation as an alien. 
  • The fee of $450 was initially set below cost, representing less than a quarter of the Department’s processing costs.  The new fee now reflects the service’s full cost. 

Q: I have already booked an interview appointment to take the Oath of Renunciation after the September fee increase.  Can I pay the lower fee?

  • Applicants will be charged the fee in effect on the day of payment.  Fees for American Citizens Services are paid directly to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the date the service is delivered. 
  • Fees cannot be paid in advance.

Q:  If it costs the Department of State $2,350 to process a renunciation, why is a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN) free if you commit an expatriating act other than renunciation?

  • This fee change applies to documenting renunciation only. 

Q: Why is the fee for the minor Border Crossing Card increasing to $16?

  • The increase to the Border Crossing Card fee for minors under the age of 15 reflects a temporary $1 surcharge on the fees for Machine Readable Visas and BCC application processing, as required by law. 
  • The addition of this new $1 special immigrant program surcharge does not affect most nonimmigrant visa fees, as the Department rounded these fees to the nearest $5 for the ease of converting foreign currencies. 
  • Because the fee for BCC applications by minors under the age of 15 is statutorily set at $13, the addition of the $1 special immigrant program surcharge in addition to the existing $2 HIV/AIDS/TB/Malaria surcharge will increase the total fee for this service from $15 to $16.

Q: Why are you changing the fees only two years after the previous increase?

  • The 2012 cost-of-service study demonstrated that the new fees provide a more accurate picture of the net costs to the Department for processing visas.
  • Our 2011 cost-of-service study resulting in adjustments to certain visa application fees in April 2012.  Our 2012 cost-of-service study in did not necessitate any fee changes. 
  • The Department conducts a cost of service study annually.

Q: How many visas does the Department process each year?

  • In Fiscal Year 2014, the Department of State estimates it will process more than 11 million nonimmigrant visa applications and approximately 600,000 immigrant visa applications. 

Q: Any other changes that the public should be aware of?

  • We revised the hourly rate for the time that consular officers work after hours or away from the office in conjunction with other fees for services performed.

USCIS Immigrant Fee

As of February 1, 2013, all individuals issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a $165.00 USCIS Immigrant Fee before traveling to the United States. Only prospective adoptive parents whose child(ren) is/are entering the United States under either the Orphan or Hague Process, Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants who were employed by the U.S. government, returning residents, and those issued K visas are exempt from the fee. The below USCIS website has more details on the fee, including contact information for USCIS, if there are further questions: www.USCIS.gov/immigrantfee

Questions and Answers

1.    When must I pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?

You must pay the fee prior to departing for the United States. USCIS will not issue your green card until USCIS receives payment. However, even if you have not paid the fee, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers will admit you, as long as you are otherwise eligible to enter.  Admission to the U.S. without payment of this fee will result in additional problems in the United States.

2.    Who has to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee?

All applicants issued immigrant visas (including Diversity Visas), except children adopted under the Orphan (IR-3/IR-4) or Hague Processes (IH-3/IH-4), Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants who were employed by the U.S. Government, returning residents (SB-1s), and K visas, must pay this new fee.

3.    How do I pay the USCIS fee?

  1. Go to www.USCIS.gov/ImmigrantFee
  2. Click on the link to the USCIS intake page on Pay.gov
  3. Answer the questions on the USCIS intake page
  4. Provide your checking account, debit, or credit card information.

Because checking payments must be drawn on a U.S. bank, someone else may pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee on your behalf.

Immigration Visa Information

Any foreign national who wishes to reside in the United States permanently must apply for an immigrant visa, whether or not that person plans to seek employment in the United States. U.S. immigration law provides for the issuance of immigrant visas in four general categories: immediate relatives, family based, employment based, and the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the "green card lottery.”

For information about the different types of immigrant visas to go to http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1326.html.

The consular section processes immigrant visas for Moldovan residents. With few exceptions, immigrant visa petitions must be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States. Approved petitions are forwarded to the National Visa Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The National Visa Center collects fees and documents and schedules the visa interview.

Applicants must come to the Embassy for an interview. To learn how to make an appointment for an interview and pay the application fee,  go to http://moldova.usembassy.gov/immigrant-visa-application-process.html. All fees are payable in Moldovan lei or U.S. dollars by either cash or credit card (Visa, Master Card, Discover, Diners Club, or American Express).

Visa cases may be processed at different speeds depending on many factors (such as additional administrative processing, missing documents, or incomplete applications). Applicants should not make any final travel arrangements, dispose of their property, or give up their jobs until they receive their visas.

Every applicant must fill out an application packet. For a list of the standard forms required, visit the Immigrant Visa Forms page at http://moldova.usembassy.gov/immigrant-visa-forms.html. Once an immigrant petition is approved, the National Visa Center will advise the applicant what forms and documents to prepare.