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Consular Services Fees Increasing

Schedule of Fees for Consular Services – Nonimmigrant and Special Visa Fees

The Department of State (Department) proposes adjustments to the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services (Schedule of Fees) of the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) for several nonimmigrant visa (NIV) application processing fees, the Border Crossing Card (BCC) for Mexican citizens age 15 and over, and the waiver of the two-year residency requirement (JWaiver) fee. The proposed changes are based on the findings of the most recently approved update to the Cost of Service Model (CoSM). They ensure that the fees for providing these consular services better align with the costs of providing the services.

The proposed rule makes changes to the Schedule of Fees in 22 CFR 22.1. The Department generally sets and collects fees for consular services based on the concept of full cost recovery to the U.S. government. The Department’s CoSM uses an Activity-Based Costing (ABC) methodology to calculate annually the direct and indirect costs to the U.S. government associated with each consular good and service the Department provides. The fees are based on these cost estimates and the Department aims to update the Schedule of Fees biennially unless a significant change in costs warrants an immediate recommendation to amend the Schedule. The Department proposes these fee changes based on the results of the most recently approved update to the CoSM, which indicates that the increases are needed to fully recover the costs of providing these services. Specifically, the Department is incurring additional costs attributable to several NIV application processing fees, the adult BCC fee, and the J-Waiver fee that are not reflected in the current fees. To recover the costs of providing these specific consular services, the Department utilized a 10-year demand average to calculate the proposed fees. This was done to reduce the short-term volatility of demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic and stabilize price points for a longer duration of time.

Here is an example:

Imagine a government agency that has a single facility it uses to prepare and issue a single product–a driver’s license. In this simple scenario, every cost associated with that facility (the salaries of employees, the electricity to power the computer terminals, the cost of a blank driver’s license, etc.) can be attributed directly to the cost of producing that single item. If that agency wants to ensure that it is charging a “self-sustaining” price for driver’s licenses, it only has to divide its total costs for a given time period by an estimate of the number of driver’s licenses to be produced during that same time period. However, if that agency issues multiple products (driver’s licenses, non-driver ID cards, etc.), has employees that work on other activities besides licenses (for example, accepting payment for traffic tickets), and operates out of multiple facilities it shares with other agencies, it becomes much more complex for the agency to determine exactly how much it costs to produce any single product. In those instances, the agency would need to know what percent of time its employees spend on each service and how much of its overhead (rent, utilities, facilities maintenance, etc.) can be allocated to the delivery of each service to determine the cost of producing each of its various products–the driver’s license, the non-driver ID card, etc. Using an ABC model allows the agency to develop those cost estimates.

Read the whole document here. If the team at Lentini Visas can assist you, please call us at 630-262-1435.