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UNITED STATES: Dramatic Increases to Visa Issuance Fees for Australian Nationals

, 03/01/2020

Effective 23 December 2019, Australian citizens applying for certain nonimmigrant visa categories (L-1, L-2, E-1, E-2, H-1B, and H-4 visas) face drastically higher visa issuance fees. This is in addition to the standard visa application (MRV) fees that all nationalities must pay.

E-1 and E-2: now $3,574 per applicant;
L-1 and L-2: now $1,790 per applicant;
H-1B and H-4: now $1,295 per applicant.

This means, for example, that a family of four applying for E-2 visas will have to pay a total of $14,296 in visa issuance fees (in addition to the standard MRV fees). Previously, the visa issuance fee for these categories was only $105.

What has changed?

US visa applicants from certain countries may be required to pay a visa issuance fee after their application is approved, based on "reciprocity" (what another country charges a US citizen for a similar type of visa).

Under the new reciprocity schedule, the US Department of State has increased the fees for E1, E2, F1, F2, H1B, H4, L1, L2, R1 and R2 visas, in some cases significantly.

The validity of B1, B2 and B1/B2 visas (for business, tourism and as crew members) has been extended from 12 months to five years with no extra cost. However, the validity of L1, L2, R1 and R2 visas has decreased.

E3 visas for Australian nationals working in specialist occupations are not affected by this revision.