JG - US visa fees to increase January 1
US visa fees to increase January 1
Friday, December 28, 2007
THE application fee for a United States non-immigrant visa will be increased to US$131 effective January 1, the embassy in Kingston announced yesterday.
The embassy also announced that the fee for immigrant visas will move up by US$20 to $355.
According to the embassy, the increase for non-immigrant visa will allow the United States Department of State to recover increasing costs of security and other enhancements to the non-immigrant visa application process. The last visa fee increase occurred in 2002.
The embassy said Jamaican applicants who paid the prior $100 application fee before January 1 will be processed only if they are scheduled and appear for a visa interview before January 31.
"Applicants who paid the prior $100 application fee and appear for visa interviews after January 31, 2008, will have to pay the additional $31 before their interview," the embassy said in a release.
"The US Department of State is required by law to recover the cost of processing non-immigrant visas through the collection of the Machine-Readable Visa application fee. Because of new security-related costs, new information technology systems, and inflation, the current $100 fee does not cover the actual cost of processing a non-immigrant visa," it added.
The embassy said a cost-of-service study found that the $100 fee cannot cover the entire cost of processing non-immigrant visas since 2004 and that the State Department has been absorbing the additional cost since then.
"As an example of increased costs, the Consular Section at the US Embassy in Kingston now collects 10 fingerprints from each applicant which are sent to the FBI for analysis. The State Department is now being charged by the FBI for fingerprint checks," the embassy said.