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AAU, Associations Submit Comment Letter on DOS Proposal to Increase Visa Fees

AAU joined ACE and 23 other higher education associations in submitting a comment letter in response to the Department of State’s proposal to increase visa application processing fees for several nonimmigrant visas, including F-1 student visas and J-1 exchange visitor visas. Under the proposed rule, fees for F, M, and J visas would go up by 53%, from $160 to $245 per application; applications for waiving the two-year residency requirement for J-1 exchange visitors would cost $510, up 325% from the current fee of $120.

The letter expresses concern that the considerable fee increases would come at a “precarious time when U.S. colleges and universities are working hard to return international student enrollments to pre-COVID levels” and when “the numbers of international students and scholars has started to drop following a decade long historic growth.” The letter acknowledges State’s rationale for seeking the fee increases but asks the department to proceed “in a thoughtful manner” and to ensure that fee increases are coupled with “improvements in efficiency and processing times.” “An expectation of predictability and efficient visa processing is essential as we continue to seek to encourage international students to enroll and study at U.S. institutions of higher education,” the letter notes.

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