US Visa Fee To Go Up From June 1

Mumbai, May 23: | Updated: May 24 2002, 05:30am hrs
The US State Department has decided to increase the visa and passport fees effective from June 1, 2002 and August 19, 2002, respectively. The increased cost is the result of the various new technological initiatives adopted to beef up the security systems in the US, post September 11 incident.

The non-immigrant visa application fee will be increased from $45 to $65. This increased fee will recover the actual cost of the service including the machine readable visa and processing through sophisticated name check technology. On the other hand, the immigrant visa fees will rise to $335 from $325. Adjustments to fees of services for American citizens overseas, which include the Consular Report of Birth Abroad documentation fee will also be raised from $40 to $65. However, the fee for performance of notarial services will be lowered to a two-tiered schedule costing $20 to $30, depending on the service rendered, which was earlier $55.

The last major revision of the fee schedule was in 1998. The new schedule is based on a cost-of-service study conducted which reflects the cost of providing consular services in 2002.

Indo-American Society vice-president Dr Arun C Vakil said, The new fees are essential in maintaining and improving high-quality customer service while taking advantage of advances in information technology and enhancing the security features of the country. This would mean an increased cost for non-immigrants, and for students it is all the more since the additional burden of $95 will be levied from July 1.

From July 1, 2002, the Immigration and Naturalisation Services (INS) will also be introducing a Web-based system to track all the foreign students in the US. The system will link every US consulate with every INS port of entry and all 74,000 educational institutions eligible to host foreign students.

When the new system is operational, foreign students whose applications have been accepted by US institution will be sent an INS form I-20. The institution will enter the students information into INS tracking system. The student will then have to pay $95.