According to the US State Department, the application processing fees for certain nonimmigrant visas (NIVs) have been increased, effective from May 30, 2023.
The fee for visitor visas for business or tourism (B1/B2s) and other non-petition-based NIVs, such as student and exchange visitor visas, has been raised from $160 to $185. Additionally, the application fee for petition-based nonimmigrant worker visas in categories H, L, O, P, Q, and R has been increased from $190 to $205.
The application fee for E category visas, which are for treaty traders, investors, and applicants in specialty occupations, has increased to $315 from $205. Other consular fees remain the same.
Those who have already paid a valid and non-expiring visa application fee will not be charged additional fees, even if they have not yet appeared for their visa interview or are waiting for their case processing. Any fee payment for a visa interview made on or after October 1, 2022, will be valid for 365 days from the date the fee payment invoice was issued.
The US State Department has announced that visa fees paid by applicants prior to October 1, 2022 will remain valid until September 30, 2023. Visa fees are based on an annual review of service costs, and most non-petition-based NIV costs have not been updated since 2012, with some additional NIV fees being updated in 2014.
The State Department acknowledges the importance of visas for work and tourism in President Biden’s foreign policy and the US economy. As a result, candidates must either schedule an interview in advance or apply for an interview waiver by September 30, 2023.
The US State Department hopes to grant one million visas to Indians this year, surpassing the figure of around 800,000 issued prior to the pandemic.
Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services, has stated that the number of officers going to India has increased, arrangements have been set up with other embassies such as Bangkok to handle Indian visa seekers, a new consulate has been opened in Hyderabad, and the focus is on reducing wait times in India.
The wait time for an Indian’s interview for a US visitor’s visa has reportedly been reduced by 60% this year, according to a top official in President Biden’s administration, as cited by Press Trust of India.