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Anyone applying for a visa for the USA must pay application fees to the US authorities. The costs for a USA visa vary depending on the visa category applied for. Below you will find some of the most important visa fees that can currently be incurred when applying for the various visas.

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Basic information about visa costs

All US visa applicants are required to pay a visa fee to the US authorities. But how much does a visa for the USA cost? The answer is: it all depends!
How high the application fees are and when they have to be paid always depends on which visa category is applied for.

Depending on whether you are applying for a nonimmigrant visa or an immigrant visa, you will incur different costs. Before applying for a visa, you should therefore find out exactly which US authority charges which processing fees.

Consular fee

The visa fee is also called consular fee or application fee and is known in technical jargon as MRV (Machine Readable Visa) fee. The consular processing fee is mandatory for every visa application. Only after payment of the visa fee is it possible to schedule a consular interview appointment at the US consulate.

Please note that visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. If the visa application is canceled or the US visa is denied, the applicant will not be refunded the fee. In addition, the visa fee cannot be transferred to other persons, such as family members or colleagues.

Amount of the consular fee

The amount of the visa fee depends on the visa category applied for. I.e. depending on the visa category there are partly different visa fees.
The formerly uniform application fees for nonimmigrant visas are graduated according to the respective visa category in order to take into account the different levels of effort and associated costs. This fee structure has since been applied at all U.S. consulates worldwide.

Although visa fees are officially quoted in US dollars, payment is made in the respective national currency. Visa fees are therefore subject to regular exchange rate fluctuations. Therefore, there are often fee reductions or increases.

The current euro-dollar exchange rate of the US consulates (= consular exchange rate) is 0.95 euro to 1 US dollar (as of February 2024).

NOTE: In June, 2023, fees have increased for almost all visa categories.

 

Consular application fees for US nonimmigrant visas

185 $ | 175,75 €

  • B visa (business travelers / tourists)
  • C-1/D visa (crew members / transit)
  • F visa (students)
  • I visa (journalists / media representatives)
  • J visa (exchange visitors)
  • M visa (vocational training)
  • TN / TD visa (USMCA professionals)


205 $ | 194,75 €

  • H visa (specialized professionals)
  • L visa (intracompany employee transfer)
  • O visa (persons with exceptional abilities)
  • P visa (sportsmen)


265 $ | 251,75 €

  • K visa (fiancée)


315 $ | 299,25 €

  • E visa (trade / investment)

 

(as of February 2024)

Consular application fees for US immigrant visas

345 $

  • EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, and EB-5 visas (employment-based categories)

325 $

  • Family Preference Visa (First Preference (F1), Second Preference (F2), Third Preference (F3), Fourth Preference (F4)

330 $

  • Diversity Visa (DV)

(as of February 2024)

Payment method

The visa fee can be paid at US consulates worldwide through a variety of options. The following payment options are available:

  • online bank transfer
  • debit card
  • credit card
  • cash deposit at a bank

When paying, all instructions should be followed carefully so that the payment is registered quickly. In particular, the subject should always include the reference number otherwise there may be delays in processing. In the worst case, the visa fee must be paid again.

After paying the visa fee you will receive a payment receipt, which is valid for one year. Consequently, the visa fee is valid for one year from the date of payment. During this period, you should make an interview appointment at a US consulate or embassy, as the visa fee would be due again after the twelve months have expired. The appointment must be made within 365 days, but not also within this time.

Bild von einer USA Kreditkarte für Visa-Gebühren

Other fees in the consular procedure

In addition to the consular application fee described above, there are other visa fees that are incurred in the consular process.

1. Premium Delivery Fee

Once your visa has been approved, there are two delivery options for your passport:

  1. Collection (free of charge)
  2. Premium home delivery (subject to a charge)

Applicants who wish to have their passport delivered by post to a delivery address must pay a premium service fee. For more information on costs and delivery options, please contact the US consulate or US embassy in your home country or visit our website.

2. SEVIS Fee

The SEVIS fee is charged when applying for an F, J or M visa and varies depending on the category. Applicants must pay the SEVIS fee before attending their consular interview appointment. Payment is made online by credit card.

The proof of payment must be enclosed with the consular application, otherwise it will not be processed. Read more about the so-called I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Fee.

3. Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee

The Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee, as the name suggests, is used for fraud prevention and detection. It is payable as part of L-Blanket visa applications. This fee can only be paid

  • by credit card or
  • in cash

during the interview appointment at the US consulate. Currently, this fee is 500 US dollars.

4. Reciprocity Fee

What is the Reciprocity Fee?

The Reciprocity Fee is an additional fee based on the principle of government reciprocity. Once a foreign government charges US citizens for certain types of visas, the United States also charges that country's citizens a reciprocity fee for similar visa categories.
For example, if American citizens have to pay an additional fee for a visitor visa in China, this also applies to Chinese citizens applying for a B-1 / B-2 visitor visa.

The principle of reciprocity involves either additional fees or a shorter validity period (or both) for visa applicants from certain countries and for certain visa categories. Thus, based on the nationality of applicants and the type of visa applied for, the U.S. Department of State may

  • charge a person an additional fee or
  • issue a visa with a shorter period of validity than normally permitted.

The amount of the reciprocity fee varies depending on the nationality of the applicant and the visa category applied for. You can find out whether you also have to pay a Reciprocity Fee on the website of the U.S. State Department.

This fee must also be paid by credit card or in cash in person at the US consulate.

USCIS fees

Many US visas require a prior application process with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This means that, depending on the category, a petition may have to be submitted to the USCIS in advance. This affects, for example, almost all applications for US work visas (L, H, O etc.).

Unlike many other US federal agencies, the USCIS is almost entirely fee-funded. As of April 1, 2024, the fee structures were comprehensively changed and they are now much more differentiated. While some fees are mandatory for all applicants (e.g. USCIS Standard Fee), other fees remain optional (e.g. Premium Processing Fee).

1. Fees depending on company size / type and nonimmigrant category

Since April 1, 2024, the US immigration authorities differentiates between nonimmigrant classifications and thus introduce separate fees for specific nonimmigrant categories. US employers are particularly affected by this in I-129 application procedures (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker), i.e. applications for temporary work stays in the USA (e.g. H-1B, L-1, O-1).

In addition, I-129 applications will be differentiated according to the size or profit / non-profit status of the US company. This means that there is a standard I-129 fee for companies and a reduced fee for charitable organizations / non-profit companies and small employers.
US companies that have 25 or fewer full-time employees in the USA are defined as small employers. In this calculation of full-time employees, all full-time employees at all US locations are taken into account, regardless of visa status.

2. Extension of the online filing option and fee reductions

Since April 1, 2024 there has been a discount for online application procedures, i.e. the paperless submission form. Applicants who use the online option will receive a fee reduction of 50 US dollars as standard. The lower fees for using the online services are intended to promote their attractiveness and make processing more efficient.

In addition, online filing is being expanded and made available for other USCIS application procedures.

Below you will find an overview of the adjustments to selected USCIS fees.

US WORK VISAS
I-129
Petition for A Nonimmigrant Worker
FEES
(from 04/01/2024)
I-129 for H-1B $780
I-129 for H-1B; small employers and nonprofits $460
I-129 for L $1,385
I-129 for L; small employers and nonprofits $695
I-129 for O $1,055
I-129 for O; small employers and nonprofits $530

Please note: In addition, the fee schedule includes a new Asylum Program Fee, which is due for every I-129 and I-140 petition, including extension applications. The regular fee is $600 (small employers pay $300, nonprofit organizations are exempt).

Incidentally, the H-1B Registration Process Fee of 10 US dollars will only be increased to 215 $ in the coming year 2025 (for H-1B Fiscal Year 2026 applications).

EXTENSION OF STAY / CHANGE OF STATUS
I-539
Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status
FEES
(from 04/01/2024)
I-539 paper filing (with or without biometrics services) $470
I-539 online filing (with or without biometrics services) $420

 

GENERAL WORK PERMIT
I-765 Employment Authorization FEES
(from 04/01/2024)
I-765 paper filing (with or without biometrics services) $520
I-765 online filing (with or without biometrics services) $470


The complete overview of all new fees can be found on the USCIS website.

Bild von Visa-Gebühren in US-Dollar

3. New USCIS forms

As part of the fee adjustments, the US immigration authority USCIS has issued new application forms.

For some USCIS forms, there is a grace period during which the old forms may still be used. For other USCIS forms, for example I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) or I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers), there is no transition period. As of April 1, 2024, it is mandatory to use the new application forms in combination with the new application fees. Otherwise, these applications will be returned unprocessed.

4. Expansion of Premium Processing and changed processing times

The fee-based Premium Processing express procedure can be booked as an option for an increasing number of application procedures.

The Premium Processing Service previously enabled accelerated processing within 15 to 45 calendar days (depending on the application procedure), including weekends and public holidays. However, since April 1, 2024, the time frame for accelerated processing has been changed from calendar days to business days. By not including weekends and holidays, Premium Processing processing times will be extended.

As reported by us, the Fees for the Premium Processing Service increased as of February 26, 2024.

FORM PROCESSING FEE
Form I-129

Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
15 working days

1,685 $

(H-2B or R-1 nonimmigrant status)
2,805 $

all other available categories of the I-129 form
(E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-3, L, LZ, O, P, Q, TN)
Form I-140

Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers
45 working days 2,805 $
Employment-based (EB)
Categories E11, E12, E21 (non-NIW), E31, E32, EW3, E13 and E21 (NIW)
Form I-539

Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status

30 working days

1,965 $

Form I-539
Classifications F-1, F-2, M-1, M-2, J-1, J-2

Form I-765

Application for Employment Authorization
30 working days 1,685 $

Certain OPT or STEM OPT F-1 students in categories C03A, C03B, C03C

What types of USCIS fees exist?

USCIS Standard Fees

The most important fees charged by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are listed below:

  • I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
  • I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers
  • I-539 Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status
  • I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
  • USCIS Immigrant Fee

Premium Processing Fee

Depending on the application category, booking the accelerated procedure "I-907 Request for Premium Processing Service" ensures that the petition will be processed within 15 to 45 business days.

Unfortunately, this does not automatically mean that the USCIS will make a decision on the application within 15 to 45 days. The USCIS can ask questions about the application (Request for Evidence) at any time within this period, which can significantly extend the processing time.

Border Security Fee

The Border Security Fee is an additional fee for certain H-1B and L-1 applications. It applies to US companies with an extraordinary number of foreign workers with an H-1B or L-1 visa and is valid until September 30, 2025.

  • H-1B Border Security Fee: 4,000 $
  • L-1 Border Security Fee: 4,500 $

(as of February 2024)

The criteria for so-called "50 / 50" employers are as follows:

  1. Employment of more than 50 employees in the USA and
  2. More than 50% of the workforce in the USA consists of foreign employees with H-1B, L-1A or L-1B status

How do I pay the USCIS fees?

Payment of USCIS fees is usually made in the form of a check or money order, which must then be enclosed with the respective application. Only very few fees (not including those mentioned above) can be paid online by credit card. We provide you with more detailed information on the USCIS payment options on our website.

Practical tip: Pay close attention to the USCIS instructions for issuing checks or money orders. Incorrectly submitted checks or money orders will result in the application not being accepted. These petitions will be returned to the applicant unprocessed.

Fees US Visa Service

In addition to the application fees of the US authorities, translation costs, etc., there is a consulting and processing fee when you hire our US visa agency.

Depending on the visa category we estimate a fixed service fee. In doing so, we take into account the different processing efforts. The simpler the processing of a visa category, the more favorable is the support by our US visa consultants – regardless of whether it is an international order or from Germany.

Upon request, we offer consultation and processing on an hourly basis. For particularly urgent visa cases, we can provide express processing on request for an additional fee.

Bidl von einem Videocall mit mehreren Teilnehmenden
Our services

We advise you on the choice of the appropriate visa category and take over the complete processing for you or your company.

  1. First contact: We clarify which visa or which visa types are applicable in your case.
  2. Worldwide support: We will assist you with your request, no matter where you are located.
  3. Assignment: We send your HR department and the respective employees all the necessary documents and checklists.
  4. Visa processing: We take care of checking, correcting and compiling the application documents.
  5. Visa Interview Preparation: We will disburse the visa application fee for you and arrange the visa interview appointment. In addition, each applicant will be prepared by telephone for the formalities and procedures at the US Consulate.
  6. Visa issuance: We check your visa for accuracy and prepare your employees for entry into the USA by telephone.
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