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Friday, December 21, 2007

US visa fee raised to $131 starting January 1

Effective January 1, 2008, the application for non-immigrant visa to the United States will be raised from $100 to $131.

The US Embassy in Manila said the additional $31 will cover the costs of security and other enhancements to the non-immigrant visa application process.

Applications of those who paid $100 before Jan. 1 will be processed only if their interview schedule at the embassy is on or before January 31.

Those scheduled for interview after Jan 31 and have paid $100 will have to pay the additional $31 before they are interviewed.

Payments must be made at designated branches of the Bank of the Philippine Islands or Citibank.

The new visa will have machine-readable features for additional security.

The embassy said the $100 non-immigrant visa fee is already lower than the cost of processing when the fee was reviewed as a part of the cost of service study in 2004. The State Department has been absorbing the additional cost.

“We are now collecting 10 fingerprints from each applicant, and the costs charged by the FBI to review those fingerprints no longer allow us to do this. The application fee has increased twice since 9/11, the last time in 2002," the embassy advisory said.

The embassy said it continues to look for new ways to improve service to visa applicants. Despite a greater than 20% increase in applicants since 2004, the embassy said it has dramatically shortened the average waiting period for scheduling a visitor visa interview.

For more information on applying for a non-immigrant visa, please visit the website http://manila.usembassy.gov/wwwh3024.html or send an e-mail message to consmanilaniv@state.gov or send a FAX to 02-523-1215 - GMANews.TV

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