Geez, a not so good news for Pinoys who will be traveling to the US of A. The US Embassy raised US Visa fees yesterday (Friday the 13th of April 2012) for non-immigrant visas, including visas for tourists, business travelers and students.
That means starting yesterday, Filipinos applying for tourist, business, crew member, student and journalist visas will now have to pay an additional $20, from the old visa fee of $140. For a new US Visa Application Fee of $160.
Fees that increase (only non-immigrant fees) if you paid your visa fee before April 13, 2012, you do not have to pay the difference between the new and old fee amounts as long as your visa interview is on or before July 12, 2012. Starting July 13, 2012, you will be required to pay the difference between the old and new fee amounts – no exceptions.
According to a statement posted on the embassy’s website the US embassies must collect higher fees for tourist and other types of non-immigrant visas because US law requires the Department of State to recover the costs of processing those types of visas.
A US government study completed last December, determined the new fees that more accurately reflect the costs of visa processing services.
On the other hand, the US Embassy lowered the fees for all immigrant visas, as well as those for fiancé/ fiancée visas and trader/investor visas.
Fees that will decrease are not refundable – If you paid a visa fee before April 13, 2012 and that fee decreased, the US Embasy cannot give you a refund.
For visa categories that have lower fees starting April 13, applicants who have already paid will get no refunds. Unfair it may seem but that’s their call.
The reduction in immigrant visa fees has become possible because a new US law allows the Department of State to seek reimbursement from other federal agencies such as the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.