On December 14, 2009, many were alarmed by reason of a published proposed rule in the Federal Register from the US Department of State through the under Secretary Patrick Kennedy of State for Management.

The publication was about the proposed increase in the schedule of fees for consular services, Department of State and Overseas Embassies and Consulates.

Though the probability of future implementation of the proposed rule is not yet definite, negative reactions are already widespread coming from those that will be greatly affected.

K-1 and K-3 Interview Fees

Alien fiancés and spouses of US citizens will surely complain due to the huge change in the interview fee. Once the proposed rule becomes fully operational, the K-1 and K-3 applicants will be paying 350 US dollars that is 167% more than the current 131 US dollar fee.

Rationale

The Department justifies that the schedule of fee proposed is a product of an independent cost of service study (CoSS) conducted from August 2007 to June 2009. The cost of the accepting, processing, adjudicating and issuance of the visa applications were analyzed. Taking into consideration the result of the CoSS, the K visa fee of 350 US$ is only equitable to what the State spent in processing it.

Reactions

Though the explanation of the Department of State is somewhat sensible, numerous people still criticize the proposed rule. One of the strong arguments is that before the application for K-1 or K-3 visa reaches the respective US consular office, the applicant has also already paid the processing fee collected by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the National Visa Center. Though the revenue of the US government will ultimately benefit on the proposition, requiring applicants to pay the increased consular fee will already be unreasonable if not inhumane.

 

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SL International is an immigration law firm that provides sound legal advice in processing US visa applications with offices in United Kingdom, Australia, United States, and in major cities in Thailand.

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