Applying for a U.S visa does not come for free. Instead, there are various U.S visa costs and U.S 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 U.S nonimmigrant visas, U.S immigrant visas, as well as for the U.S 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 U.S, and vice versa when someone applies for visas.
This article will go through how much does applying for a U.S visa cost in terms of nonimmigrant visas, immigrant visas, diversity visa, and reciprocity fees.
U.S Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fees
There are many types of U.S 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.
Non-petition based visas are those that do not require an employer or someone from the U.S to petition for a person who wants to temporarily live in the U.S. 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.
The cost for non-petition based visas is 160.00 USD. This fee is valid for several types of nonimmigrant visas, including, but not limited to:
- US Visitor Visa (B-1 visa and B-2 visa)
- C-1 visa for transits to the U.S
- D visa for airline or ship crewmembers
- F visa for students and academics
- I visa for media and journalists
- J visa for exchange visitors (excluding those applicants sponsored by the U.S government)
- M visa for vocational students
- TN/TD visa for NAFTA professionals
- T visa for victims of human trafficking
- U visa for victims of criminal activity
Petition based visas are those that require an employer or someone from the U.S to petition for the applicant who wants to temporarily live and work in the U.S. Before the applicant can submit their Form DS-160, the employer must first submit a petition to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S Department of State, or the U.S Homeland Department. The petitioner must also pay a fee for the petition, which can vary depending on the visa.
However, the application fee for petition based visas is 190.00 USD. This fee is valid for the following types of nonimmigrant visas:
- H visas for temporary workers (H-1B visa, H-1B1 visa, H-2A visa, H-2B visa, H-3 visa, H-4 visa)
- L visas for intracompany transfers (L-1 visa, L-2 visa)
- O visas for persons with extraordinary abilities (O-1 visa, O-2 visa, O-3 visa)
- P visa for athletes, entertainers, and artists
- Q visa for international cultural exchanges
- R visa for religious workers
Besides the petition and non-petition based non-immigrant visas, there also other categories and fees that must be paid such as:
- For the E visa for traders and investors (E-1 visa, E-2 visa, E-3 visa), the application fee is 205.00 USD
- 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 U.S institutions to bring a foreign temporary worker to the U.S.
When are fees not necessary for U.S 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 U.S 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 travelling for charity purposes
- For U.S government employees travelling for official business
- For parents, siblings, spouse, and children of a U.S government employee who was killed in the line of duty, and the family is travelling to attend the funeral or burial
U.S Nonimmigrant Visa Reciprocity Fees
Another factor which determines how much is a visa to 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 depends on the country you are currently residing and applying from, as well as the passport that you have. Since they are subject to change and you must check for your specific country, it is best to check them on the U.S State Department website. Select your country and check how much you have to pay. This fee must be paid before you get your passport back from the U.S Embassy.
There are situations when an applicant does not have to pay a reciprocity fee and that happens in the following instances:
- For applicants who are part of international agreements such as members of staff of the UN Headquarters or the UN General Assembly, and their families
- For applicants transiting to the UN Headquarters
- For applicants who are part of a U.S government sponsored program and their spouse and children
- For applicants who are travelling for charity purposes
U.S Immigrant Visa Fees
The U.S immigrant visas are those that allow a person to stay permanently in the U.S 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 U.S 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 U.S citizen sponsors who can guarantee that they will support the applicant financially until they settle down and can work within the U.S.
U.S Diversity Visa Fees
The U.S Diversity Visa or Lottery is for those who want to try out their luck and see if they can get selected for a U.S immigrant visa by chance. The applicants sign up each period and the U.S 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 U.S Department of State, U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services, or the U.S Homeland Department. Additionally, please review any instructions you obtain from the U.S Embassy or Consulate you are applying from.