US Visa Costs And Red Tape

US Visa Costs And Red Tape
The process of applying for a visa to the United States is very transparent, whether it’s a temporary non-immigrant visa or a permanent immigrant visa. There is little room for corruption in this sector of the US government, so applicants simply have to follow the rules, and hope they meet the criteria and are deemed worthy to enter the country.

There are fees involved for almost every kind of US visa, whether it’s a non-immigrant or immigrant visa. These fees change every once in a while so it’s best to check the US government website to see the current rates at

The popular B1/B2 non-immigrant visas for business and tourism cost US$140. Other non-immigrant class visas that do not require a petition are the same price, and include the J, F and M-class visas commonly used by students and exchange visitors. If the non-immigrant visa requires a petition the cost rises to US$150. This most common example of this is the work-related H-1B visa used for professionals who want to work in America for a US company. This also includes the P-class visa for professional athletes, artists and performers as well as the Q-class for international cultural exchange applicants.

Other non-immigrant class visas include the E visa used by treaty traders and investors that costs US$390. The K-1 visa for fianc?s of American citizens costs US$350. Immigrant visas for permanent residency cost much more. These include the I-130 immigration petition for a relative, which costs US$420 and the petition to adopt an orphan from another country at US$720.

There are several different fees associated with the long process of applying for immigrant visas for permanent resident status. It starts with the I-130, I-600 or I-800 forms that cost US$420. If approved, applicants using the immediate relative or family preference option will pay US$330. Employment-based applications pay US$720 and other types of applications such as the Diversity Visa Lottery, special immigrant visa applicants and approved I-360 self-petitioners pay US$305. A person who wins the Green Card Lottery will have to pay an additional US$440 to get their immigrant visa.

The amount of red tape involved with a visa to the US is no more tedious than any other country. If you come from a country on the Visa Waiver List then there is no paperwork at all. Just a valid passport will suffice to get you into the country for a short period of time. America uses a system of visa reciprocity to determine if a visitor must pay anything for their visa. You basically pay the same amount as an American pays to enter your country, and the fee varies country by country. The list of fees can be viewed here, and is subject to change at any time:

Non-immigrant visas have a small amount of red tape involved such as filling out an application, providing support documentation and undergoing a face-to-face interview. Immigrant visas are much more involved, requiring lengthier interviews and more documentation to support the application, depending on the category of immigrant visa. As long as everything is accurate with an application there is no reason to fear being trapped under a mountain of red tape.