NAICU Washington Update

State Department Proposes Increases in Visa Fees

January 14, 2022

The Department of State recently issued a proposed rule that would increase fees for non-immigrant visas to offset the expense of the consular services required for their administration.  The proposed increases come after a study by the Bureau of Consular Affairs assessed the cost of providing these services. 

The proposal would increase fees for F, J and M visas, which are the most common international student visas, as well as other non-immigrant visas, from $160 to $245.  The proposal would also increase the fee for H visas, which are used by international faculty, researchers and scholars, among other professions, from $190 to $310.

These fee increase proposals differ from those proposed in the Build Back Better Act (BBB), which is currently stalled in Congress.  The BBB proposed a slew of even higher visa fee increases as part of a larger immigration portion of the bill that included a pathway to citizenship for certain non-citizens living in the U.S.  The so-called immigration parole provision that allows non-citizens to enter or remain in the U.S. for urgent humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons had been stripped from the bill by the Senate Parliamentarian for being extraneous to reconciliation rules.  It remains unclear whether BBB will be resurrected, and if so, what the fate of those visa increase proposals will be.

The proposed rule will move forward in a separate process outside of Congress, including a public comment period that is open and runs through February 28.  The next step following the public comment period could include public hearings prior to the Department issuing a final rule.  NAICU will be joining others in submitting community comments regarding the additional cost burdens this will put on institutions and international students, faculty and others, during a particularly difficult time maintaining international student populations.

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