An update dated May 25, 2010 on the U.S. Embassy and consular websites in India notify a change in the non-immigrant visa application fees with effect from June 4, 2010 and a change in the consular exchange rate with effect from May 28, 2010.
New Two-Tire Fee Structure Introduced:
It may be noted that the nonimmigrant visa application fee has always been the same for all categories of nonimmigrant visas. While some categories of nonimmigrant visas attract additional fee like the Blanket L1 which has the fraud prevention fee, the application has traditionally been the same for all categories of visa.
The latest revision introduces a division of fees based on the category of visa the applicant is applying for. The new fee for non-petition based visa applicants like the B, C, D, F, M and J applicants is US$140. Such applicants will be issued a “white” receipt on payment of the fees. For petition based visa applications like H, L, O, P, Q and R visas the fee is US$150 and applicants will receive a “Green” receipt upon payment of fees. The fee for K visas is US$350.
The Revised Fee Applies Irrespective of Date of Purchase:
Generally, the fee revisions, especially the revision based on change in consular exchange rate will not affect payments made prior to the effective date of change. However, the notification indicates that this fee change will apply irrespective of the date of purchase of the HDFC receipts.
Effectively, if one has purchased the HDFC receipt by paying the equivalent of US$131, then the applicant will have to pay the difference in fee at the time of interview if s/he appears for a visa interview after on or after June 4, 2010. For example if a B2 applicant has paid equivalent of US$ 131 prior to June 4, 2010 and appears for an interview on or after June 4, 2010 s/he will have to pay the difference of US$ 9 in INR as per prevailing consular exchange rate on the date of interview. In the same situation a H1-B or L1 applicant will have to pay INR equivalent of US$ 19 per the prevailing consular exchange rate.
Mode of Payment:
As of this writing, we have confirmed with the U.S. consulate in Chennai that the difference in fee needs to be paid at the prevailing exchange rate by way of a demand draft favoring “American Consulate General, Chennai” at the time of interview. Applicants need to check with the appropriate consulate on the mode of payment, ahead of interview.
Consular exchange rate adjusted:
The US Embassy, New Delhi and the Consulates in India have revised the consular exchange rate from INR 46 to a US$ to INR 48 to a US$ with effect from May 28, 2010.
Applicants should pay the revised fee of either US$ 140 or US$150 based on the category of visa at the revised exchange rate, if purchasing the receipt after May 28, 2010. If one purchased the HDFC receipt now, and applies for the visa after June 4, 2010, they will still have to pay the difference in fees.
This update can be found on the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi’s website as well as the Consular website of Chennai and Hyderabad. Applicants are encouraged to check the respective consular website for the latest information prior to applying for a visa.