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How Much Does it Cost for a Visa
Applying for a visa in the US comes with a bunch of costs. And you should know what these costs are beforehand so that you know what to expect. To that end, if you’re asking how much does it cost for a visa, this article will answer this question. We will focus on different categories of visas, as the costs may differ in each individual case.
Non-Immigrant Visa Application Fees
Obviously, the visa application fees will depend on the law established by the country you intend to visit. Aside from this, your country of citizenship will also play a part in the equation. Most countries have agreements between them concerning the application of visa waivers.
Moving on to US non-immigrant visas – there are several subcategories. That is to say, there are different fees for every category. In order to understand the total cost of the visa application fees, you should note that non-immigrant visas can basically be divided into petition-based visas and non-petition based visas. We’ll get into more detail concerning each particular category throughout the following paragraphs.
Non-Petition Based Visa Fees (~$160USD)
First of all, there are non-petition based visas. In the case of such a visa, you don’t need an employer or someone based in the US to submit a petition on your behalf if you want to temporarily live in the US.
In this view, what you have to do is submit a form – the DS-160 form, which is basically the online non-immigrant visa application. From that point onward, you will be directed to paying the fees implied. In addition, you’ll have to schedule the interview, submit all the necessary documentation and, finally, attend the interview.
In regards to the cost of the non-petition based visa, it is of 160 USD. However, note that even if this is applicable to most nonimmigrant visas, there are some exceptions to the rule, as follows:
- B-1 visa and the B-2 visa
- C-1 visa
- F visa for academics and students
- I visa for journalists and media
- J visa designated for exchange visitors
- M visa for vocational students
- TN visa that is meant for NAFTA professionals
- T visa – for the unfortunate victims of human trafficking
- U visa, for victims of criminal activities
Petition Based Visa Fees (~$190USD)
Let’s move on to the next category, namely that of petition-based visas. Contrary to the first category, these require filing a petition from a US employer or someone living in the US. Thus, prior to submitting your form DS-160, you have to ensure that your employer has submitted the required petition to the USCIS.
Concurrently, note that, depending on the type of visa, the petitioner – namely the employer – will have to pay a fee.
As for the application fee for petition-based visas, it is of 190.00 USD. This fee is applicable for the following visa subcategories:
- H visas – designated for temporary workers in the US
- L-1 visa and L-2 visa – for intra-company transfers
- O-1 visa, O-2 visa, and O-3 visa – meant for persons with extraordinary capabilities
- P visa for entertainers, athletes, and artists
- Q visa – facilitating international cultural exchanges
- R visa – designated for religious workers
E-Visa and K Visa Fees
Aside from the categories mentioned beforehand, there are other fees that applicants must pay. More specifically, in the case of E-visa, which is meant for traders and investors, the fee one has to pay is of 205.00 USD. The E-visa is different from other business visas, such as the B-1 visa.
It is only for those that are basically involved in trading and investing. This type of visa is also based on the treaties the US has with other developed countries. To that end, in order to qualify for this type of visa, you have to be the citizen of a country with which the US has treaties of trade.
As for the K visa, which is also referred to as the fiancé visa, the applicable fee is of 265.00 USD. As a foreign fiancé, you cannot file a petition to become a permanent US resident, the same way in which a spouse could, but you need a visa to enter the country.
In addition, in view of the eligibility criteria, note that the sponsor fiancé must be a citizen of the US. The online form DS-160 has to be completed, which is basically the K visa application.
Non-Immigrant Visas without Fees
If you’re still wondering how much does it cost for a visa, you should note that there are some visas that don’t come with any fees. There are instances when one doesn’t have to worry about paying for any fees, such as in the following cases:
- When applying for A, G, C-2, C-3, NATO, as well as diplomatic visas.
- When applying for the J visa, when the applicant is sponsored by the US government
- If your original visa wasn’t stamped correctly, and this was due to no fault of your own, you can replace the visa free of charge.
- Applicants belonging to international agreements, such as the employees of the UN headquarters and their family can apply for a visa without any fees applicable.
- For applicants traveling for charitable purposes
- For the employees of the US government traveling for official business
- For the relatives of members of the US government, traveling for the funeral of the US government employee that was killed in the line of duty.
There are other fees that should be factored in when assessing the total cost of a visa – namely the reciprocity fees. Reciprocity fees usually cover the costs of issuing the visa, as well as the border crossing cards. Note that non-immigrant visas are the only ones that have reciprocity fees. These don’t apply in the case of immigrant visas.
As for the amount you will have to pay in the form of reciprocity fees, it will also depend on the country you’re from. This is something you should note if you’re asking how much does it cost for a visa. You will be required to pay the reciprocity fees before you receive your passport from the US embassy.
However, there are some exceptions, when the applicant isn’t required by the law the pay the reciprocity fees. Here they are:
- If you are flying for charitable purposes, you don’t have to pay these fees
- If you are part of important international agreements such as the UN Headquarters, this doesn’t apply to you, or your family.
- If you are transiting to the UN Headquarters
- If you belong to a US government-sponsored program, these fees don’t apply to you or your family
What are the border crossing card fees? For the border crossing card – age 15 and over – the fee is 160.00 USD. This is valid for 10 years. As for the border crossing card for those under the age of 15, the price is 16.00 USD. This is applicable for Mexican citizens whose parent or guardian has applied for a border crossing card already. The card for the child is valid for 10 years, or until the child reaches age 15.
There are also other fees – namely the L visa fraud and detection fee, which is worth 500.00 USD. This may be applicable to visa applicants belonging to the L blanket petition.
On a different note, according to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-113), the fees for given H-1B and L-1 petitioners are increased. Consular selections are responsible for collecting this fee in the case of L-1 blanket visa applications, filed by petitioners that intend to hire 50 or more individuals in the US.
If more than 50 percent out of the total number of individuals belonging to the H-1B or the L-1 nonimmigrant status, one has to pay 4,500.00 USD.
US Immigrant Visa Fees
The next category of fees – namely the US immigrant fees – are to be paid by individuals whose intention is to stay permanently in the US. To that end, if you want to change your residence and work in the US, there are several fees you should add up to your budget.
These are basically petition fees, as well as processing fees. Firstly, the petition fees are divided into two categories, depending on the type of form completed by the applicant.
In the case of the immigrant petition for a relative, you will have to fill the form I-130. In this case, the petition fee will be of 535.00 USD. There is also the Orphan Immediate Relative Petition, which entails filling out the form I-600 or the form I-800. The cost for this is of 775.00 USD.
In relation to the processing fees, the amount of money you will have to pay will vary by the type of visa you are applying for. Here are the most popular scenarios:
- For the Immediate Relative or Family Preference Immigration Application, aside from the cost of the petition, you will have to pay 325.00 USD.
- The processing fees for Employment-Based Immigration Applications are of 345.00 USD.
- Self-petitioning, as well as other immigration applications, costs 205.00 USD.
- For other immigrant visa applications (this includes special immigrant visa applicants, I-360 self-petitioners, returning resident applicants, with the exception of DV program selectees) – the processing fee is of 205.00 USD.
- For the K visa or the spouse of a US citizen, the processing fee is of 265.00 USD.
- There are given Iraqi and Afghan immigrant visas that don’t come with any fees
There is another category of applicable fees, namely that of the Affidavit of Support, whose price is of 120.00 USD. According to the law, this fee is to be paid by the US sponsor of the applicant. Basically, the sponsor offers the guarantee that he/she will support the applicant financially during his/her stay in the US.
US Diversity Visa Fees
And finally, the last category included in this guide on how much does it cost for a visa is represented by the US diversity visa fees. These are applicable to those that want to apply for a visa through a lottery program and to see if they’re selected by chance.
Basically, the US institutions establish the number of winners to be selected on an annual basis. Typically, the timeframe for applying for the lottery visa is November. Afterward, the applications are reviewed throughout the duration of the year.
Notwithstanding, there aren’t many fees that apply in the case of a US diversity visa. There is the fee for the application or the sign-up fee. This fee is to be paid prior to the submission of the application online, and it is worth 330.00 USD.
Special Visa Services – What Fees Apply in These Cases?
There are also several services that fit into the category of special visa services. The fees one has to pay for them is expressed in USD. We’ll enumerate them below:
- Applying for determining returning resident status – form DS-117; the price for this is of 180.00 USD.
- Transportation letter for permanent residents of the US, which costs 575.00 USD.
- Applying for waiver of the two-year residency period – filling out the form DS-3035. The price for this special visa service is of 120.00 USD.
- Applying for waiver of visa ineligibility – 930.00 USD.
We hope that our article has answered the very trivial question: how much does it cost for a visa? As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all type of answer to this question, as there are several elements that go into the equation. Depending on the type of visa you are applying for, the costs will be higher or lower.
However, it’s best to do some research prior to starting the application process per se. This way, you will avoid being caught off guard. Also, make sure you consider the many resources we have available for you on our website. Whether you want to find out more about certain visa programs, such as the H4 visa or the F1 visa, we’ve got you covered.