Hike in US visa fee takes effect June 17
MANILA, Philippines — Securing a non-immigrant visa to the United States for some categories will be more expensive starting June 17, said the US Embassy in Manila.
Mark McGovern, Consul General of the US Embassy in Manila, said Thursday that the application fee for visitor visas for temporary business or tourism and other non-petition based non-immigrant visas, such as student and exchange visitor visas, will increase from $160 to $185.
The fee increase was initially to take effect May 30 but had since been deferred to June 17.
“The reality is there has been no increase in the visa fees since 2011. That was the last time an increase was done. And all of the fees that we do for the visas are based on a cost of service study,” McGovern said in a news conference at the US Embassy.
He noted, however, that the cost hike is not exclusive to the Philippines as it will likewise be implemented in US embassies across the globe.
“We have to bring American citizens. We pay for them to be here. We have increases in salaries for our local staff. The increase in operating our facilities. The increase in shipping over visa foils. All these prices have gone up. The cost of service study that we have done on a global scale for regular visas brings it to about $185 per visa,” he said.
Among their other considerations, according to McGovern, are the costs of building and maintaining their facilities, staffing their operations, and providing secure and reliable visa documents to the people.
But, he said, the “good news” is that the US visa is now worth 10 years, which means it will last longer despite being costlier.
Application fee hikes will also be felt for those seeking certain petition-based non-immigrant visas for temporary workers, which will increase from $190 (P10,685) to $205 (P11,527).
For a treaty trader or investor visa applicant, meanwhile, the processing cost will rise from $205 (P11,527) to $315 (P17,713).
Asked if there are more application fee increases expected moving forward, McGovern said, “I hope we don’t see any more hikes in the future.”
According to the US Embassy, it processed around 188,038 non-immigrant visa applications between October 2021 and September 2022.
McGovern also touted the drop in the waiting period for non-immigrant visa interview appointments — from almost two years to five months since October 2022.
“We’re trying to get that number even lower. We’re hoping to have it within two to three months by the end of 2023,” he said.