U.S. visa costs

What are the current visa application fees?

Anyone applying for a U.S. visa must pay application fees to the U.S. authorities. The costs for a U.S. visa vary depending on the visa category applied for. Now the payment methods for the U.S. consulates in Germany have been changed.

 

Basic information about visa USA costs

All U.S. visa applicants are required to pay a visa fee to the U.S. authorities. But how much does a visa for the USA cost? The answer is: it all depends. How much the application fee is and when it has to be paid always depends on the type of visa applied for.

For nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas the U.S. authorities charge different costs. Before you apply for a visa, you should therefore find out exactly which U.S. authority charges which processing fees.

Consular fee

The visa fee is also called the consular fee or application fee and is officialy known as the "MRV (Machine Readable Visa) Fee". The consular processing fee is obligatory with every visa application. Only after payment of the visa fee is it possible to arrange a consular interview appointment at the U.S. consulate.

Please note that visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. If the visa application is withdrawn or the U.S. visa is refused, the applicant will not get a refund. Furthermore, the visa fee is not transferable to other persons, such as family members or coworkers.

Image of the United States map with U.S. dollar

Different costs depending on the visa category

Amount of the consular fee

The amount of the visa fee depends on the visa category applied for. This means that depending on the visa category there are sometimes different visa fees.
Since June 4, 2010, the formerly uniform application fees for nonimmigrant visas have been staggered according to the respective visa category in order to take into account the varying effort and costs involved. This fee structure has since been applied at all U.S. consulates worldwide.

Although the visa fees are officially quoted in U.S. dollars, payment is made in the respective national currency. Visa fees are therefore subject to regular exchange rate fluctuations which means that fees are often reduced or increased.

The current Euro-Dollar exchange rate of the U.S. consulates (= consular exchange rate) is 1 Euro to 1 US-Dollar.

The current consular application fees for U.S. nonimmigrant visas are as follows:

Nonimmigrant visa categories
(in alphabetical order)
U.S. visa fee
in U.S. dollars
B visa (Business Visitor / Tourist) $ 160
C-1D visa (Crew Members / Transit) $ 160
E visa (Trader / Investor) $ 205
F visa (Students) $ 160
H visa (Specialised Professionals) $ 190
I visa (Journalists / Media Representatives) $ 160
J visa (Exchange Visitors) $ 160
K visa (Fiancée) $ 265
L visa (Intra-company Transfer) $ 190
M visa (Vocational Training) $ 160
O visa (Individuals with exceptional abilities) $ 190
P visa (Athletes) $ 190
TN / TD visa (NAFTA Professionals) $ 160


(July 2022)

Image of a cent in front of a USA flag

The current consular application fees for U.S. immigrant visas are as follows:

Immigrant visa categories
(in alphabetical order)
Fee
in U.S. dollars
EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4 and EB-5 visas (employment-based categories) $ 345
Family Preference visas (First Preference (F1), Second Preference (F2), Third Preference (F3), Fourth Preference (F4)) $ 325
Diversity visas (DV) $ 330


(October 2021)

Payment methods

The visa fee can be paid at U.S. consulates worldwide through various options. The following payment options are available:

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

Note: In some countries (such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland) payment cannot be made by credit card or girocard. In the U.S. consulates in Germany, instant bank transfer as a payment method was also abolished in September 2021. This removes the option of making the appointment directly after the payment process. It is not known whether this change is merely of a temporary nature.


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

We take care of the timely and correct payment of the visa fee.
Please feel free to contact us!

Validity of the consular fee

After paying the visa fee, you will receive a payment receipt that is valid for one year. The visa fee is therefore valid for one year from the date of payment. During this period, you should arrange an interview appointment at a U.S. consulate or embassy, as the visa fee would be due again after the twelve months.

Note: Due to temporary worldwide consulate closures and gradual resumption of limited consular services, the one-year expiration period has been exceptionally extended until September 30, 2022. Whether a Visa Fee Validity Extension has also been introduced in your country must be checked on a case-by-case basis.

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Other fees in consular processing

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

1. Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee

The Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee is payable within the scope of L-Blanket visa applications. This fee can only be paid by

  • credit card or
  • cash

during the interview appointment at the U.S. consulate. Currently, this fee is $ 500.

Practical tip: We strongly recommend the use of a credit card for payment of the Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee.

2. Reciprocity Fee

What does Reciprocity Fee mean?

The Reciprocity Fee is based on the system of state reciprocity. Whenever a foreign government charges fees to U.S. citizens for certain types of visas, the United States also charges a Reciprocity Fee to the citizens of that country for similar visa categories.
If, for example, U.S. citizens are required to pay an additional fee for a visitor visa to China, this also applies to Chinese citizens when applying for a B-1 / B-2 visitor visa.

The principle of reciprocity implies 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 the applicant and the type of visa applied for, the U.S. Department of State may

  • demand an additional fee from an applicant, or
  • issue a visa with a shorter period of validity than normally permitted.

The Reciprocity fee varies depending on the nationality of the applicant and the visa category and application. You can find out in advance whether a fee applies to you by visiting the U.S. State Department website.

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

Image of a handshake

The principle of reciprocity applies to U.S. visas

Changes to the visa reciprocity schedule

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) made a number of important changes to the Reciprocity Fees at the end of 2019 and consequently updated its so-called Visa Reciprocity Schedule, taking into account new visa fees and new visa validity periods for visa applicants of certain nationalities.

Changes in Europe

Several European countries are affected by the worldwide Visa Reciprocity Review by the U.S. authorities. The following are excerpts of changes to nonimmigrant visa categories:

Country Visa category Changes
Austria E-1 and E-2 work visas
  • Reciprocity fee: 31 $
  L-1 / L-2 work visas
  • Reciprocity fee: 46 $
France E-1 and E-2 work visas
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 25 months (formerly 5 years)
  H-1B / H-4 visas for specialists
  • Reciprocity fee: 480 $
  L-1 / L-2 work visas
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 17 months (formerly 5 years)
Netherlands E-1 and E-2 wirk visas
  • Reciprocity fee: 2.228 $ (vormals 0 $)
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 36 months (formerly 5 years)
  F-1 / F-2 student visas
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 50 months (formerly 60 months)
  L-1 work visas
  • Reciprocity fee: 73 $ (formerly 0 $)
  R visas for religious workers
  • Reciprocity fee: 73 $ (formerly 0 $)
Switzerland E-1 and E-2 work visas
  • Reciprocity fee: 235 $
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 48 months
  F-1 / F-2 student visas
  • Reciprocity fee: 375 $ for stays in the U.S. over 12 months (under 12 months no additional fee)
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 60 months
  I visas for journalists
  • Reciprocity fee: 375 $
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 60 months
  H-1B / H-4 visas for specialists
  • Reciprocity fee: 155 $
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 48 months
  L-1 / L-2 work visas
  • Reciprocity fee: 345 $
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 48 months
  R visas for religious workers
  • Reciprocity fee: 108 $
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 36 months


(October 2021)

Changes outside Europe

Also in third countries there is always movement regarding Visa Reciprocity. While Australian citizens and their family members had to prepare themselves for drastic fee increases in some cases, the Visa Reciprocity Schedule for Mexicans in the categories E, L and H-1B (and dependents) has recently been changed.

Country Visa category Changes
Australia B-1 and B-2 visitor visas
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 60 months
  E-1 and E-2 work visas
  • Reciprocity fee: 3,574 $ (formerly 105 $)
  F-1 and F-2 student visas
  • Reciprocity fee: 305 $ for F-1 applicants or 185 $ for F-2 applicants respectively (formerly 0 $)
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 60 months
  H-1B / H-4 visas for specialists
  • Reciprocity fee: 1,295 $ (formerly 105 $)
  L-1 / L-2 work visas
  • Reciprocity fee: 1,790 $ (formerly 105 $)
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 48 months (formerly 60 months)
  R visas for religious workers
  • Reciprocity fee: 45 $ (formerly 0 $)
  • Maximum validity: reduced to 24 months
Mexico E-1 and E-2 work visas
  • Reciprocity fee of 42 $ = maximum validity of 12 months
  • Reciprocity fee of 296 $ = maximum validity of 48 months
  H-1B / H-4 visas for specialists
  • Reciprocity fee of 57 $ = maximum validity of 12 months
  • Reciprocity fee of 252 $ = maximum validity of 36 months
  L-1 / L-2 work visas
  • Reciprocity fee of 57 $ = maximum validity of 12 months
  • Reciprocity fee of 311 $ = maximum validity of 48 months


(October 2021)

In addition, other countries were and are affected by Visa Reciprocity changes:

  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Chile
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Liechtenstein
  • Madagascar
  • Malta
  • Mauritania
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • St. Kitts and Nevis

Background on the Visa Reciprocity changes

The visa reciprocity schedule adjustments are believed to be the result of Executive Order 13780 Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States issued by former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2017, which, in Section 10 of the Presidential Decree, calls for a global review of existing nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements and arrangements to reduce any discrepancies.

3. SEVIS fee

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

The payment receipt must be enclosed with the consular application, otherwise the application will not be processed.

USCIS fees

Many U.S. visas require a prior application procedure with the USCIS. This means that, depending on the category, a petition may have to be submitted there in advance. This applies, for example, to almost all U.S. work visa applications (L, H, O etc.).

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services charges different application fees depending on the petition. Some fees are mandatory for every applicant (e.g. USCIS Standard Fee), while other fees are optional (e.g. Premium Processing Fee).

USCIS Standard Fees

The most important USCIS fees are listed below:

Category USCIS fees in U.S. dollars
(valid until further notice)
I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) $ 460
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker $ 700
I-539 Application to Extend / Change Nonimmigrant Status $ 370
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization $ 410
USCIS Immigrant Fee $ 220


(October 2021)

Planned fee adjustments

Due to a nationwide injunction of September 29, 2020 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the fee reform announced by the U.S. authorities did not go into effect as planned on October 2, 2020. It is unlikely at this time that the new fee regulations will be implemented. Thus, for the time being, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will accept the previous forms and fee rates and will decide on applications and petitions in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations.

Nevertheless, the planned (partly significant) fee increases are bad news for many applicants due to the already generally very expensive application procedures. It remains to be seen whether the reduction of the processing times and an increase in the efficiency of the application processes will contribute to an improvement of the application situation.

For example, splitting the I-129 forms according to visa categories (I-129L, I-129O, etc.) makes sense, as this is clearer for applicants and ultimately minimizes sources of error. Instead of the current general I-129 processing instructions, there would also be category specific instructions. The USCIS hopes that this will lead to fewer rejections when receiving applications. The new forms are supposed to be available on the USCIS website from the beginning of September 2020.

A more explicit request for L-1A managers, L-1A executives and L-1B specialized knowledge in I-129L form would also be useful to highlight this clear separation within the L-1A category.

Whether the new calculation after 15 working days (instead of calendar days) for Premium Processing will lead to fewer queries from the U.S. authorities is difficult to say. The significant increase in the RFE (Request for Evidence) rate in USCIS application procedures in recent years is not only due to a stricter interpretation of the law, but is also seen in connection with the high workload of USCIS officers.

Finally, the fact that the biometrics fee (which is charged, for example, for status renewal applications I-539) is to be included in the application fees can help to minimize sources of error.

Last fee adjustments

The last general fee increase of the USCIS took place in 2016. Since the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is primarily financed by application fees, severe losses are expected if the USCIS continues to operate in its current form. In addition, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have led to fewer applications and petitions. Fewer submissions automatically mean lower revenues.

Bild von US-Dollar für USCIS-Gebühren

Premium Processing Fee

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has again increased the fee for the use of the Premium Processing Service for accelerated processing. On October 19, 2020, the premium processing fee was increased to $ 2,500. Only I-129 applications (e.g. L, H-1B and O visas) and I-140 applications (Employment-Based Green Cards) are affected.
Previously, applicants only had to pay $ 1,440 for the Premium Processing Service. Accordingly, it is a cost increase of 73%.

Category USCIS fee in U.S. dollars
I-907 Request for Premium Processing Service $ 2,500


(October 2021)

The Premium Processing Service guarantees that the petition will be processed within 15 working days. Unfortunately, this does not automatically mean that the USCIS will make a decision on the petition within 15 days. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has the option of making Requests For Evidence (RFE) within this period, which can significantly increase the processing time.

The reason for the fee increase is the signing of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, Pub. L. No. 116-159. The higher premium processing fee will allow the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to generate additional revenue. In addition, USCIS has permission to expand the Premium Processing Service to additional categories as well as application processes, such as for extension or change of status applications or EAD (Employment Authorization Document) processes. However, the agency has not yet indicated to which petitions the expedited processing will ultimately be extended. This remains to be seen.

Practical tip: All applications or I-907 forms submitted after October 19, 2020 (Receipt Date) that show the incorrect fee will be returned to the applicants unprocessed.

Border Security Fee

The USCIS had suspended this additional fee for H-1B and L-1 applications on October 1, 2015, but reintroduced it by law on December 18, 2015 under the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2016. This additional H-1B and L-1 application fee for U.S. companies with an exceptional number of foreign employees with H-1B or L-1 status is valid until September 30, 2025.

The additional application fee does not apply to every H-1B or L-1 application, but must be paid exclusively by so-called "50/50" employers. The criteria are as follows:

  1. employment of more than 50 employees in the United States and
  2. more than 50% of the workforce in the United States consists of foreign employees with H-1B, L-1A or L-1B visas
Category USCIS fee in U.S. dollars
H-1B Border Security Fee $ 4,000
L-1 Border Security Fee $ 4,500


(October 2021)

In the course of the reintroduction, the additional fees were doubled: Since then, the Combined Filing Fee And Fraud Prevention And Detection Fee has resulted in massive additional costs for affected U.S. employers – even for renewal applications. Prior to the three-month abolition, the fees were only $ 2,000 (H-1B) or $ 2,250 (L-1) per application.

A complete list of all USCIS application fees can be found on the USCIS website.

If you hire our US Visa Service team, our visa consultants will take care of the payment of the application fees and the subsequent appointment.
We are looking forward to your request!

Payment methods

Payment of the USCIS fees is usually made by cheque or money order, which must then be enclosed with the respective application. Only very few fees (not including the fees mentioned above) can already be paid by credit card in the online procedure.

Practical tip: Pay attention to the instructions of the USCIS regarding the respective cheque or money order. Incorrectly submitted cheques or money orders will result in the application not being accepted. These petitions will be returned to the applicant unprocessed.

Handling fees US Visa Service

In addition to the application fees of the U.S. authorities, translation costs, etc., a consulting and processing fee is charged when you commission our U.S. visa agency.

Depending on the visa category, we charge a fixed service fee while taking into account the different processing costs. The simpler the processing of a visa category, the more affordable the support from our U.S. visa consultants – no matter whether it is an application from abroad or from Germany.

On request, we can offer you advice and processing on an hourly basis. In particularly urgent visa cases, we can also arrange express processing for you for an additional fee.

Request an individual quote now