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How Much Does a US Visa Cost?

How Much Does a US Visa Cost?

When making an application for an American visa, you’ll be required to pay certain fees. The amount you need to pay will be determined by the visa classification you are applying for, among other factors such as your nationality in some cases.

 

US visa fees increase in April 2024

USCIS processing fees have most recently been substantially increased with affect from April 1, 2024:

  • Form I-129 for H-1B beneficiaries will go from $460 to $780 (70% increase)
  • Form I-129 for H-B small employers and nonprofits will remain at $460
  • Form I-129 H-2A Named Beneficiaries will go from $460 to $1,090 (137% increase)
  • Form I-129 H-2A Named Beneficiaries (small employers and nonprofits) will go from $460 to $545 (18% increase)
  • Form I-129 H-2A Unnamed Beneficiaries will go from $460 to $530 (15% increase)
  • Form I-129 H-2A Unnamed Beneficiaries (small employers and nonprofits) will remain at $460
  • Form I-129 H-2B Named Beneficiaries will go from $460 to $1,080 (135% increase)
  • Form I-129 H-2B Named Beneficiaries (small employers and nonprofits) will go from $460 to $540 (17% increase)
  • Form I-129 H-2B Unnamed Beneficiaries will go from $460 to $580 (26% increase)
  • Form I-129 H-2B Unnamed Beneficiaries (small employers and nonprofits) will remain at $460
  • Form I-129 Petition for L Nonimmigrant workers will go from $460 to $1,385 (201% increase)
  • Form I-129 Petition for L Nonimmigrant workers (small employers and nonprofits) will go from $460 to $695 (51% increase)
  • Form I-129 Petition for O Nonimmigrant workers will go from $460 to $1,055 (129% increase)
  • Form I-129 Petition for O Nonimmigrant workers (small employers and nonprofits) will go from $460 to $530 (15% increase)
  • Form I-129CW CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker and I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker in E, H-3, P, Q, R, or TN Classifications will go from $460 to $1,015 (121% increase)
  • Form I-129CW CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker and I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker in E, H-3, P, Q, R, or TN Classifications (with biometric services) will go from $545 to $1,015 (85% increase)
  • Form I-129CW Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker and I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker in E, H-3, P, Q, R, or TN Classifications (small employers and nonprofits) will go from $460 to $510 (11% increase)
  • Form I-129CW Petition for a CNMI-Only Nonimmigrant Transitional Worker and I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker in E, H-3, P, Q, R, or TN Classifications (small employers and nonprofits) (with biometric services) will reduce from $545 to $510 (6% decrease)
  • Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers will go from $700 to $715 (2% increase)

Importantly, as of 1 April 2024, form instructions will no longer include filing fees, where these can instead be found on Form G-1055 (Fee Schedule) on the USCIS website. Each petition must be accompanied by the correct fee(s) unless exempt from paying the fee(s) or is eligible for a fee waiver. If the fee is incorrect, the petition will be rejected.

US visa costs remain subject to change, as such you are advised to check before making your application how much the full application costs will be.

 

Temporary US visa costs

Temporary US visas, also known as ‘nonimmigrant visas‘, are categories that allow permission for a temporary stay in the US for a specific purpose. For example, this could include tourism under the B visa, or transferring to a US branch of your company to work under the L-1 visa.

 

Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee

Applicants for US nonimmigrant visas have to pay a visa processing fee called the MRV. The level of MRV will depend on the visa being applied for:

  • Non-petition based applications (includes B,C, D, F, I, J, M): $185
  • Petition-based applicants (includes H, L, O, P, Q, R): $205
  • E-1, E-2 & E-3 visa applicants: $315
  • K visa: $265

The MRV is paid on the Applicant Service Center (ASC) website when scheduling your visa interview. The MRV must be paid for by debit card in your local currency.

The MRV is non-refundable and non-transferable. If your application is refused, you will lose this fee.

You are also not permitted to transfer the MRV fee for use in another application or for another applicant.

There will also be no refund of the MRV fee if you cancel your visa appointment and do not reschedule within 12 months.

 

US nonimmigrant visas MRV fees:

Visa Type

Description

MRV Fee Amount from June 17, 2023 (USD)

B Business/Tourist $185
C-1 Transit $185
D Ship/Airline Crew $185
E Treaty Trader/Investor, Australian Professional Specialty $315
F Student (academic) $185
H Temporary/Seasonal Workers and Employment, Trainees $205
I Journalist and Media $185
J Exchange Visitor $185
K Fiancé(e) or Spouse of U.S. Citizen $265
L Intracompany Transferees $205
M Student (vocational) $185
O Persons with Extraordinary Ability $205
P Athletes. Artists & Entertainers $205
Q International Cultural Exchange $205
R Religious Worker $205
T Victim of Human Trafficking $185
U Victim of Criminal Activity $185
TN/TD NAFTA Professionals $185

 

 

Temporary work visa filing fees

Effective April 1, 20424, the following filing fees will apply, with discounts for small employers (with 25 or fewer employees) and non-profits:

  • H-1B visas for specialty occupations: $780*
  • L-1 visas for intracompany transfers: $1,385 or $695 for small employers & non-profits
  • E visas for treaty trader/investors: $1,015 or $510 for small employers & non-profits
  • O visas for individuals with extraordinary ability: $1,055 or $530 for small employers & non-profits

* Note that the H-1B registration fee will increase to $215 in March 2025; the fee remains $10 for the March 2024 registration window.

 

Form / Visa Category

Filing by

Current Fee

Fee from April 1, 2024

I-129 H-1 visa Small employers and nonprofits
All other employers
US$460
US$460
US$460
US$780
I-129 L visa Small employers and nonprofits
All other employers
US$460
US$460
US$695
US$1,385
I-129 O, Nonimmigrant Workers Small employers and nonprofits
All other employers
US$460
US$460
US$530
US$1,055
I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker: E, H-3, P, Q, R, or TN Small employers and nonprofits
All other employers
US$460
US$460
US$510
US$1,015
I-140, Immigrant Petition All employers US$700 US$715
I-539, Application to Extend/ Change Nonimmigrant Status Online
Paper
US$370
US$370
US$420
US$470
I-765, Application for Employment Authorization Online
Paper
US$410
US$410
US$470
US$520

 

Small employers are those that have 25 or fewer full-time employees in the USA.

 

Additional fees for employment visas

The changes in US processing fees in 2024 also saw the introduction of a new Asylum Program Fee. For applications filed on or after April 1, 2024, a one-off fee of $600 is payable by the US employer for each Form I-129 and I-140 they file. A reduced Asylum Program fee is charged to small employers of US$300. Non-profit organizations are exempt.

The H-1B route for sponsored skilled workers entails a lengthy petitioning process and several additional processing costs. Most of the fees are payable by the employer/sponsor, such as the initial electronic registration charge, the ACWIA Fee, Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee and Fee relating to Public Law 114-113, which we detail in full our H1-B costs article.

First-time principal applicants who are covered under a blanket petition for L status must pay a Fraud Prevention and Detection fee of US $500. This fee should be paid on the day of the visa interview. If a subsequent L-1 visa application is based on a new Form I-129S, the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee will be due again. A Border Security Act fee of $4,500 may also apply; your employer will advise if this is the case.

 

Visa Issuance ‘Reciprocity’ Fees

Reciprocity fees require nationals of certain countries to pay a fee before their approved visa will be issued.

As the name suggests, these fees are reciprocal and exist where another country requires a fee from US citizens for an equivalent visa class or similar service.

Not all visas will require a reciprocity fee to be paid. If you are applying in person through a pre-arranged appointment, you will be advised whether or not an issuance fee is required. If applying through the Courier Service and your application is successful, the Embassy will notify you by mail that an issuance fee is due.

For British passport holders, the only reciprocity issue fees relate to the L-2 and E-2 visas.

In any of the following circumstances, the reciprocity fee will not apply:

  • Part of international agreements such as members of staff of the UN Headquarters or the UN General Assembly, and their families
  • Transiting to the UN Headquarters
  • Part of a US government-sponsored program and their spouse and children
  • Travelling for charity purposes

 

SEVIS Fees

The Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) tracks F, M, and J visa participants and their family members until they graduate or conclude their studies.

 

 

SEVIS Fee Description

Amount (USD)

I-901 SEVIS Fee F or M visa applicants (full payment) $350
I-901 SEVIS Fee J visa applicants (full payment) $220
I-901 SEVIS Fee special J-visa categories (subsidized payment) $35
I-901 SEVIS Fee government visitor (no payment) $0

 

F, M and J visa principal applicants should check with their US school to ensure their information has been entered into SEVIS. This will require a separate SEVIS fee to be paid in addition to the visa application fee.

Applicants whose program codes begin with G-1, G-2, G-3, G-7 are not required to pay the SEVIS fee.

 

Professional advisers

Given what is at stake when making a US visa application, you may be looking to engage professional support to take care of your petition, which will incur fees. This could be a US immigration attorney, or if you are applying for the E-2 visa you may be looking for help writing your business case.

While some petitions may be straightforward, others require considerable effort and expertise in light of specific circumstances. For example, if you are applying for a work visa and also require a criminal waiver of inadmissibility to overcome a past criminal conviction. Criminal waivers are highly involved applications that demand detailed insight and understanding of US immigration rules to build a compelling case.

 

Exemptions to US visa costs

The following applications are exempt from processing fees:

  • When you apply for A, G, C-2, C-3, NATO, and diplomatic visas
  • For a J visa applicant sponsored by the US government
  • To replace a machine-readable visa when the original visa was not well stamped and it was not the applicant’s fault
  • For applicants who are part of international agreements such as members of staff of the UN Headquarters and their families
  • For applicants traveling for charity purposes
  • For US government employees traveling for official business
  • For parents, siblings, spouse, and children of a US government employee killed in the line of duty, and the family is traveling to attend the funeral or burial

 

Immigrant visa costs

Immigrant visas are those which allow non-US nationals to live permanently in the United States. This could include non-US spouses applying to live with their husband or wife, or workers being sponsored by their employer to remain in the US as a lawful permanent resident.

The following processing fees for immigrant visas apply:

 

Service

Cost

Immediate Relative and Family Preference applicants: Immigrant Visa interview and processing fee (forms I-130, I-600 or I-800) $325
Employment-based applicants: Immigrant Visa interview and processing fee (form I-140 petition) $345
Special immigrants: Immigrant Visa interview and processing fee (forms I-360, DS-117 or DS-1884) $205
Diversity Immigrants: Visa Lottery $330
Applicants for Returning Resident Status (form DS-117) $180

Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation (form I-131A)

$575
Filling I-130 Immigrant Visa Petition $535
Filling I-360 application $435
K visa applicants for a fiancé or spouse of a U.S citizen MRV fee  $265

 

Affidavit of Support

An affidavit of support costs $120. The fee is paid by US citizen sponsors who can guarantee that they will support the applicant financially until they are permitted to work in the US.

 

Medical examinations

In some circumstances, you may need to have a medical examination as part of your immigrant visa application. The costs of immigration medical examinations vary. You could expect to pay around $200, although this can go as low as $100 and as high as $500.

DNA testing can help to evidence genetic relationships that are being relied on as the basis of an immigrant visa application. It is voluntary and the applicant will be responsible for the costs, which vary by provider. Vaccinations and lab test fees also vary, depending on the specific requirement.

 

Need assistance?

NNU Immigration are dedicated US immigration attorneys. We support employers, entrepreneurs and key personnel with all aspects of US immigration applications, including eligibility requirements, petitioning procedures and costs of US work visa applications. If you require support or guidance on a visa application, contact us.

Fees are correct at the time of publication and are subject to change. This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. 

 

Author

Founder & Principal Attorney Nita Nicole Upadhye is a recognized leader in the field of US business immigration law (AILA) and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with both US and UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

Nita successfully acts for corporations and professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, actors, and athletes from across the globe, providing expert guidance on all aspects of US visa and nationality applications, and talent mobility to the USA.

Nita is an active public speaker, thought leader, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

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