Significant Nonimmigrant Visa Fee Increase Expected by September

“Visa fees charged by the Department are generally based on the cost of providing visa services and are determined after conducting a study of the cost of such service,” the spokesperson told VOA by email. “The assessment of the actual cost of service in combination with demand projections over many years determined the fees published in the proposed fee schedule.”

Increased fees need to translate into better service, especially shorter wait times, which is particularly important for students, said Jill Welch, senior policy adviser to the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration.

“We’re still evaluating the potential impact of the proposed rule on international student flows to the United States. … It’s important for [the State Department] to have adequate resources to process visa applications, particularly for those students and scholars who are on tight timelines for obtaining their visas in order to arrive on time for the academic term,” Welch said.

International students at U.S. colleges and universities contributed nearly $41 billion to the U.S. economy and supported 458,290 jobs in the 2018-19 academic year, according to a study by NAFSA: Association of International Educators. In the 2020-21 academic year, international students contributed $28.4 billion to the U.S. economy, a decline of nearly 27%, or $10.3 billion, largely because of the pandemic.

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