Integrity Legal

26th May 2010

In recent postings on this blog, this author has discussed proposed fee increases for Consular services at US Embassies and Consulates outside of the United States of America.  Recently the American State Department made the following announcement:

The Department is increasing fees to ensure sufficient resources to cover the rising cost of processing nonimmigrant visas. This increase applies both to nonimmigrant visas placed in passports and to border crossing cards issued to certain applicants in Mexico. The new, tiered fee structure was created to cover the higher unit costs for processing certain categories of nonimmigrant visas that are more complicated and require more in-depth consideration than most other categories of nonimmigrant visas. The Department is required to recover, as far as possible, the cost of processing nonimmigrant visas through the collection of the application fees. For a number of reasons, including new security enhancements, the $131 fee set on January 1, 2008 no longer covers the current, actual cost of processing nonimmigrant visas. Under the new schedule of fees, applicants for all visas that are not petition-based, including B1/B2 tourist and business visitor visas and all student and exchange visitor (F, M and J) visas, will pay a fee of $140. Applicants for petition-based visas will pay an application fee of $150. These categories include:


· H visa for temporary workers and trainees
· L visa for intracompany transferees
· O visa for aliens with extraordinary ability
· P visa for athletes, artists and entertainers
· Q visa for international cultural exchange visitors
· R visa for religious occupations

The application fee for K visas for fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens will be $350. The fee for E visas for treaty-traders and treaty investors will be $390.

The last portion of this announcement is of the most pressing concern to those wishing to bring a Thai loved one to the USA. Many Americans opt to use a K1 visa to bring a Thai fiancee to the United States. In the past, many also utilized the K3 Visa to bring Thai spouses to the USA. At the time of this writing the National Visa Center (under the authority of the Department of State) is administratively closing all I-129f petitions for K3 Visas if the underlying I-130 petition has been submitted to the NVC concurrently with, or prior to, the submission of the I-129f petition. Therefore, the increase in fees is unlikely to have a major impact upon those seeking a US marriage visa as the vast majority of US Marriage visas being processed out of any US Consulate or US Embassy are immigrant visas (CR1 or IR1) rather than non-immigrant K3 visas.

For further general information about US Immigration from Thailand please see: Fiance Visa Thailand.


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