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U.S. raises fees for consular services

Posted by By Francis Obinor on 2005/03/06 | Views: 516 |

U.S. raises fees for consular services


EFFECTIVE from March 8, applicants requiring services of the United States embassies and consulates will pay more as new fees have been announced by the U.S. State Department.

EFFECTIVE from March 8, applicants requiring services of the United States embassies and consulates will pay more as new fees have been announced by the U.S. State Department.

According to a statement, the new changes will cover a variety of consular services provided at the U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

The statement noted that fees for certain services provided by the Department of State and by U.S. embassies and consulates abroad will also change as required by law and regulations to recover the actual costs of providing most consular services through user fees.
The fees for consular services are adjusted periodically following cost-of-service studies conducted by independent contractor under the supervision of the Department. The last major revision of the schedule of fees was in 2002.

Also, the revised schedule of fees for consular services, the statement stressed, "reflects new surcharges authorising the 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

"Recovering the actual cost of providing consular services is essential to maintaining and improving high-quality customer service, utilising advances in information technology and enhancing the security features of the consular function of border security", the statement read.

The schedule of fees for consular services revision resulting from the recent cost-of-service study include:


an increase in the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery, surcharge for diversity immigrant visa applications from $100 (N14,000) to $375 (N52,500);

an increase in the passport file search fee from $45 (N6,300) to $60 (N8,400); and,

reduction in the fee charged for issuance of a transportation letter for Legal Permanent Resident Aliens (LPRA) to re-enter the U.S. from abroad from $300 (N42,000) to $165(N23,100).
Additional revisions in the new schedule of fees resulting from the 2005 Consolidated Appropriations Act include:


a surcharge of $12 (N1,680) to be added to current passport fees;

a surcharge of $45 (N6,300) to be added to the current fees for immigrant visas; and,

a $500 (N70,000) "fraud prevention and detection fee" for persons applying for L-1 visas under "blanket" provisions abroad.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 also mandated a "fraud prevention and detection fee" to be charged for H-1B and L-1 principal applicants at time of petition filing or change of employer. These fees are not reflected in the new schedule of fees for consular services, as they will be collected by the Department of Homeland Security.

It was also gathered that winning entrants of the 2006 Diversity Visa Lottery will be notified by mail between May and July this year.

According to the U.S. Department of State, more than 6.3 million entries were received during the two-month electronic registration period from November 5, 2004, through January 7, 2005.

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