Applying for a US visa is not a free process. On the contrary, you will have to pay various US visa fees and US visa application fees. The cost of a US visa depends on the type of visa you wish to obtain and your country of origin.
You will need to pay a fee for a US nonimmigrant visa, a US immigrant visa, and a US diversity visa. These are application fees and there are other fees that are reciprocal. Reciprocal fees are fees that other countries must pay based on their relationship with the U.S. and reciprocal fees that someone must pay to apply for a visa.
US Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fees
There are many different types of U.S. nonimmigrant visas, and the fees vary accordingly. To understand what the fees are for applying for a visa, they can be divided into two categories: non-petition-based visas and petition-based visas.
The costs associated with non-immigrant visas are as follows:
Fees for non-petition and petition based visas
A non-petition-based visa is for individuals who wish to stay temporarily in the United States and do not require a petition from an employer or U.S. person. Applicants simply need to submit a DS-160 online nonimmigrant visa application and follow the usual steps of paying the fee, scheduling an interview, submitting the appropriate documents, and attending the interview.
A petition-based visa is a visa that requires an employer or U.S. person to file a petition on behalf of an applicant who wishes to temporarily reside and work in the United States. Before an applicant can file a Form DS-160, the employer must first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. Department of State, or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. You must also pay a fee to file the petition, which varies by visa.
Here are the petition fees for each nonimmigrant visa in the United States:
In addition to the petition-based nonimmigrant visa and the non-petition-based nonimmigrant visa, the following categories and fees are also required.
- The Border Crossing Card application fee for Mexican nationals is $160.00 USD for applicants 15 years of age or older and $16.00 USD for applicants under 15 years of age.
- L visa applicants must pay a fraud prevention fee of $500.00 USD.
- H visa applicants must pay a $4,500.00 USD fee when petitioning a U.S. agency to bring a temporary foreign worker to the United States.
When are fees not necessary for US nonimmigrant visas?
There are some instances when you do not have to pay a fee, and they are as follows.
- When you are applying for an A, G, C-2, C-3, NATO, or diplomatic visa.
- If you are applying for a J visa sponsored by the U.S. government.
- To replace an original visa with a machine-readable visa if the original visa does not have enough stamps and the applicant is not at fault.
- For applicants who are part of an international agreement, such as UN Headquarters staff and their families.
- For applicants whose purpose is charitable.
- For U.S. government employees traveling in an official capacity.
- For parents, siblings, spouses, or children of U.S. government employees who died in the line of duty and whose family members are traveling to attend the funeral or burial.
US Nonimmigrant Visa Reciprocity Fees
Another factor that determines the fee for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa is the reciprocity fee. These fees are for the issuance of the visa and for the border crossing card. However, there are no reciprocal fees for immigrant visas, but there are reciprocal fees for nonimmigrant visas.
The reciprocity fee depends on the country you are currently in, the country you are applying for, and the passport you have. This fee must be paid before you receive your passport from the U.S. Embassy.
There are some situations in which an applicant does not have to pay the reciprocity fee, and these are when the applicant is
For being part of an international arrangement, such as an employee or family member at UN
- Headquarters or the UN General Assembly.
- For travel to UN headquarters.
- Members of U.S. government-sponsored programs and their spouses and children.
- Travel for the purpose of charitable activities.
US Immigrant Visa Fees
A U.S. immigrant visa allows a person to live and work permanently in the United States. To apply for an immigrant visa, you must pay a petition fee and a processing fee.
The fees for petitions are as follows.
- Form I-130 (Immigrant Petition for a Relative) costs $535.00 USD.
- The fee for Form I-600 or Form I-800 (Orphan Immediate Relative Petition) is $775.00 USD.
Processing fees vary depending on the type of visa requested, but are as follows.
- Relative or family-based immigration petitions are charged $325.00 in addition to the petition.
- Employment-based immigrant petitions cost $345.00 in addition to the petition fee.
- Other immigrant petitions (e.g., self-petitions) cost US$205.00.
- A K visa for a fiancé or spouse of a U.S. citizen costs US$265.00.
- Certain immigration applications for Afghanistan and Iraq are free.
Another fee that is common for most immigrant visas is the Affidavit of Support, which costs $120.00 USD. This fee is paid by a U.S. citizen sponsor who can guarantee to financially support the applicant until he or she is able to settle and work in the United States.
US Diversity Visa Fees
The U.S. Diversity Visa (lottery) is for those who want to try their luck at being selected by chance for a U.S. immigrant visa. Applicants register for each period and the U.S. agency determines the number of visa winners for the year. The normal application period is in November and applications are then reviewed throughout the year.
The cost of the Diversity Visa is not very high, except for the application and registration fees. This fee is $330.00 USD and must be paid before applying online.
Note: These fees are current as of January 2018 and are subject to change. For more detailed renewal information, contact the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Also, review any instructions you received from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to which you are applying.