Consular Fee to Increase May 30, 2023
The U.S. Department of State has published a final rule confirming fee changes that will go into effect May 30, 2023 for consular services such as the applying for and receiving nonimmigrant visas. This fee and process is not to be confused with the USCIS fee schedule proposal that is currently under review (that proposal includes steep increases for filing the Form I-129 to seek approval for O, P, and other visa classifications). Visa processing comprises multiple steps, beginning with USCIS approval, then consular processing abroad for everyone except Canadian citizens, and ending with arrival in the U.S. and passing through Customs.
Consular processing follows the successful procurement of an approval notice from USCIS. Initially, the State Department had proposed a steeper increase for this fee but after receiving public comment and reviewing application projections, decided to impose smaller increases. For O and P visas, the cost of consular processing will go from $190 to $205.
In February 2022, many U.S. arts organizations filed joint comments to raise concern about what would have been a 63% increase in consular processing. The final rule reflects adjustment due to a revised projection that anticipates greater demand for nonimmigrant visas. For O and P visa applicants, international guest artists will experience a 7.9% increase over the current fee. In its issuance of the final rule, the Department acknowledged hearing from commenters about concern over persistent consular delays and has stated its intention to focus on "reducing wait times for all consular services at our embassies and consulates overseas while also protecting the health and safety of our staff and applicants when they come to embassy or consular premises."