A Potential Visa-Fee Hike for Students and Exchange Visitors

First Thought

Insights drawn weekly from Karin Fischer’s global-education newsletter, latitude(s). Subscribe here.

The U.S. Department of State is proposing substantial increases in processing fees for student and exchange-visitor visa applications, part of a raft of potential visa-fee hikes.

In a draft rule published in the Federal Register, the State Department said it plans to raise application fees for F, M, and J visas from $160 to $245, a 53-percent increase.

The department said the higher charges were based on an analysis of the costs of providing certain consular services. The U.S. government operates on a “full cost recovery” model for visas — that is, the individual receiving a good or service covers the total direct and indirect costs of providing it, from staff salaries to biometric services and rent. The State Department is currently “incurring additional costs” for the processing of visa applications, the Federal Register notice said.

Nonimmigrant-visa fees were last adjusted in 2014, according to the notice.

The government argues that, given the expense of air travel, the proposed fee increases will have a minimal effect on the overall costs of coming to the United States.

The public will have 60 days, until February 28, to comment on the proposed rule.

Read more from Karin on this and other visa developments in this week’s latitude(s).

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