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 costs are 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
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:
- For tourist, business, student & exchange visas – $160
- Petition-based applicants (H, L, O, P, Q, R) – $190
- E-1, E-2 & E-3 visa applicants – $205
- K visas – $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||Fee Amount (USD)|
|E||Treaty Trader/Investor, Australian Professional Specialty||$205|
|H||Temporary/Seasonal Workers and Employment, Trainees||$190|
|I||Journalist and Media||$160|
|K||Fiancé(e) or Spouse of U.S. Citizen||$265|
|O||Persons with Extraordinary Ability||$190|
|P||Athletes. Artists & Entertainers||$190|
|Q||International Cultural Exchange||$190|
|T||Victim of Human Trafficking||$160|
|U||Victim of Criminal Activity||$160|
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
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 stage charge of $10, 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.
Blanket L-1 Visas
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.
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.
- For nonimmigrant students with Form I-20, the SEVIS fee is $200.
- For most exchange visitors with Form DS-2019, the SEVIS fee is $180.
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.
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 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:
|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)
|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 affadavit 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.
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.
NNU Immigration are dedicated US immigration attorneys based in London. 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.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. All fees are as at August 2021 and are subject to change.