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What is a Reciprocity/Visa Issuance Fee?

By August 5, 2022May 31st, 2023Uncategorized
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A reciprocity fee, also sometimes called a visa issuance fee, is the fee that you must pay to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy after your visa is approved.  Not all foreign nationals are required to pay a fee. To determine if you will have to pay a visa issuance fee you can check the reciprocity schedule for your country and visa type on the U.S. Department of State website. Below we will answer some common questions we receive about these fees.

Is the reciprocity fee different than the MRV visa fee? What is the MRV visa fee?

Yes, these fees are different. The MRV (Machine Readable Visa) fee is a non-transferable and non-refundable fee that you must pay when you apply for the visa. You pay this fee whether or not your visa is approved, and you cannot get a refund if your visa application is denied.

When does the reciprocity fee apply?

The reciprocity fee applies if your visa application is approved.

Will a reciprocity fee always apply?

No. Whether the fee applies will depend on the visa type and your nationality. The reciprocity schedule is based on reciprocity with other countries, meaning if a foreign country charges U.S. citizens a particular fee for a visa, the U.S. will also impose a fee for foreign nationals of that country seeking a similar visa.

I am a dual national, how can I figure out which reciprocity fee will apply?

For dual nationals, you are still required to submit the visa application using only one nationality, so the reciprocity fee for that nationality is the one that will apply. When deciding which nationality to apply under you should consider what type of visa you are applying for, how long you want the visa to be granted for, the reciprocity fee and whether you want to enter the U.S. multiple times, as this can vary for different nationalities.

For example, if you are a national of Bangladesh and Australia and you are applying for an E-2 investor visa, you have the ability to apply under either nationality. If you apply with your passport from Bangladesh, there is no reciprocity fee, but your visa can only be granted for 3 months and will be valid for two entries. If you apply with your passport from Australia your visa can be granted for up to 4 years with unlimited entries during that time, but there is a reciprocity fee of $3,574 USD per applicant.

I am applying for an E-2 visa and my spouse and children are getting dependent visas. I am a national of the UK and they are Australian nationals. Which reciprocity fee do my dependents have to pay?

It used to be the case that E-2 dependents were required to pay the same reciprocity fee as the principal applicant. However, there was a change to the policy in May 2023, and now E-2 dependents who are nationals of a treaty country must pay the reciprocity fee for their nationality,  so in this situation, the dependents would have to pay the applicable reciprocity fee for Australian nationals while the principal E-2 applicant would pay the reciprocity fee for UK nationals.

What is the procedure to pay the fee?

Each Consulate has their own procedure. You should check the U.S. consulate website prior to your appointment to determine what forms of payment will be accepted.

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