Applying for a US visa does not come for free. Instead, there are various US visa costs and US visa application fees that you must pay. How much is an American visa depends on the type of visa that you want to get and also the country you are from.
You must pay fees for US nonimmigrant visas, US immigrant visas, as well as for the US diversity visa. These are application fees, while other costs include reciprocity fees. Reciprocity fees are costs that other countries have to pay depending on the relationship they have with the US, and vice versa when someone applies for visas.
US Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fees
There are many types of US nonimmigrant visas and this means that there are also different fees for it. To have a better sense of how much these visa application fees are, they could be divided into non-petition based visas and petition based visas.
The costs for a non-immigrant visa are as follows:
|Non-petition Based Visas||$160|
|Petition Based Visas||$190|
Fees for non-petition and petition based visas
Non-petition based visas are those that do not require an employer or someone from the US to petition for a person who wants to temporarily live in the US. The applicant can simply submit Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application and follow the usual steps of paying the fees, scheduling the interview, submitting supporting documents, and attending their interview.
Petition-based visas are those that require an employer or someone from the US to petition for the applicant who wants to temporarily live and work in the US. Before the applicant can submit their Form DS-160, the employer must first submit a petition to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the US Department of State, or the US Homeland Department. The petitioner must also pay a fee for the petition, which can vary depending on the visa.
Here are the application fees for each US nonimmigrant visa:
|Visa Type||Fee in USD||Category|
|US Visitor Visas (B-1 visa and B-2 visa)||$160||Non-Petition Based|
|C-1 visa for transits to the US||$160||Non-Petition Based|
|D visa for airline or ship crewmembers||$160||Non-Petition Based|
|F visa for students and academics||$160||Non-Petition Based|
|I visa for media and journalists||$160||Non-Petition Based|
|J visa for exchange visitors (excluding those applicants sponsored by the US government)||$160||Non-Petition Based|
|M visa for vocational students||$160||Non-Petition Based|
|TN TD visa for NAFTA professionals||$160||Non-Petition Based|
|T visa for victims of human trafficking||$160||Non-Petition Based|
|U visa for victims of criminal activity||$160||Non-Petition Based|
|H visas for temporary workers (H-1B visa, H-1B1 visa, H-2A visa, H-2B visa, H-3 visa, H-4 visa)||$190||Petition Based|
|L visas for intracompany transfers (L-1 visa, L-2 visa)||$190||Petition Based|
|O visas for persons with extraordinary abilities (O-1 visa, O-2 visa, O-3 visa)||$190||Petition Based|
|P visa for athletes, entertainers, and artists||$190||Petition Based|
|Q visa for international cultural exchanges||$190||Petition Based|
|R visa for religious workers||$190||Petition Based|
|E visa for traders and investors (E-1 visa, E-2 visa, E-3 visa)||$205||Petition Based|
|K visa for a fiancé or spouse of a US citizen||$265.00||Petition Based|
Besides the petition and non-petition based non-immigrant visas, there also other categories and fees that must be paid such as:
- For the Border Crossing Card for Mexican Citizens, the application fee for applicants over 15 years old is 160.00 USD, while for those under 15 years old, it is 16.00 USD.
- For petitioners for the L visas, there is also a fee of 500.00 USD for fraud detection and prevention
- For petitioners for H visas, there is a fee of 4,500.00 USD for petitioning to the US institutions to bring a foreign temporary worker to the US.
When are fees not necessary for US nonimmigrant visas?
There are also instances where you do not have to pay a fee and that is in these situations:
- When you apply for A, G, C-2, C-3, NATO, and diplomatic visas.
- For a J visa applicant sponsored by the US government.
- To replace a machine-readable visa when the original visa was not well stamped and it was not the applicant’s fault.
- For applicants who are part of international agreements such as members of staff of the UN Headquarters and their families.
- For applicants traveling for charity purposes.
- For US government employees traveling for official business.
- For parents, siblings, spouse, and children of a US government employee who was killed in the line of duty, and the family is traveling to attend the funeral or burial.
US Nonimmigrant Visa Reciprocity Fees
Another factor which determines how much is a visa to the USA for the nonimmigrant category are the reciprocity fees. These fees are for issuing the visa and for border crossing cards. However, immigrant visas do not have reciprocity fees, but only non-immigrant visas do.
Reciprocity fees depend on the country you are currently residing and applying from, as well as the passport that you have. This fee must be paid before you get your passport back from the US Embassy.
There are situations when an applicant does not have to pay a reciprocity fee and that happens if the applicant is:
- Part of international agreements such as members of staff of the UN Headquarters or the UN General Assembly, and their families.
- Transiting to the UN Headquarters.
- Part of a US government sponsored program and their spouse and children.
- Traveling for charity purposes.
US Immigrant Visa Fees
The US immigrant visas are those that allow a person to stay permanently in the US where they can live and work. The fees for the immigrant visas are for petitions as well as processing fees.
The fees for the petitions are as follows:
- Form I-130, Immigrant Petition for Relative costs 535.00 USD
- Form I-600 or Form I-800, Orphan Immediate Relative Petition costs 775.00 USD
As for processing fees, they depend on the type of visa which you are applying for, and are as follows:
- Immediate Relative or Family Preference Immigration Applications cost 325.00 USD in addition to the petition
- Employment-Based Immigration Applications cost 345.00 USD in addition to the petition
- Other immigration applications (such as self-petitioning) cost 205.00 USD
- K visa for a fiancé or spouse of a US citizen costs 265.00 USD
- Certain Afghan or Iraqi special immigrant applications have no fee
Another common fee for most immigrant visas is the Affidavit of Support, which costs 120.00 USD. The fee is paid from US citizen sponsors who can guarantee that they will support the applicant financially until they settle down and can work within the US.
US Diversity Visa Fees
The US Diversity Visa or Lottery is for those who want to try out their luck and see if they can get selected for a US immigrant visa by chance. The applicants sign up each period and the US institutions decide on how many winners of the visa to select annually. The usual period for signing up is during November and applications are then reviewed during the year.
There are not many fees for the diversity visa except for the application or sign-up fee. This fee is 330.00 USD and must be paid before submitting the application online.
Note: These fees are as of January 2018 and are subject to change. For more accurate information on updated, please consult with the US Department of State, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, or the US Homeland Department. Additionally, please review any instructions you obtain from the US Embassy or Consulate you are applying from.