Fee Increases Forthcoming for the Student Visa Programs

A proposed rule, issued in July of 2018 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to increase international student visa fees has now passed the final review by the White House budget office.

The new regulation would mean an increase in fees for the F and M visas from $200 to $350, and an increase to the fees for the J visa, a cultural exchange program that allows foreign nationals to work legally in the United States, from $180 to $220. Additionally, the new rule would mean a 76% increase in the certification fee for the schools receiving students, from $1,700 to $3,000.

DHS intends to use the increased fees to fund the student visas and exchange programs. Absent the higher fees, these programs will have a budget deficit of $69 million this year.

The new fees continue a trend of restricting the student visa program. In FY 2018, the State Department issued approximately 390,000 F visas, a 22% decrease compared with FY 2016, the final full year under President Obama.