New DHS Proposal Increases Fees for Certain F, M and J Visa Applicants

A new rule proposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intends to amend fee rates for certain nonimmigrants applying for F-1, F-3, M-1 and M-3 student visas, along with certain J-1 visa applicants. This rule will implement a fee of $100 per application for F and M visa applicants, with certain J-1 applicants paying a reduced fee of $35. The proposed fee increase will assist in covering administration and maintenance fees related to the SEVIS system.

F-1, F-3, J-1, M-1 and M-3 applicants will be subject to this new fee. In addition, aliens already in the United States who are applying for a change of status to one of these classifications will also pay the fee prior to applying for the change of status. However, aliens who have already paid the $100 or $35 fee prior to obtaining one of the above visas will not be again subject to the fee.

Applicants applying for a J-1 visa as part of an exchange program sponsored by the Federal Government are exempt from the $35 fee. However, individuals applying for a J-1 visa as an au pair, camp counselor, or participant in a summer work travel program will be subject to the $35 fee. Dependent aliens (F-2, J-2, and M-2) will also be exempt from any of the above stated fees.

According to DHS, the fee may be paid in one of the following two ways:

(1) The alien may pay the fee by mail, by submitting Form I-901, Fee Remittance for Certain F, M, and J Nonimmigrants, together with a check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and payable in U.S. dollars to “I-901 Student/Exchange Visitor Processing Fee;” or
(2) The alien may submit the fee electronically, by completing Form I-901 through the Internet and using a credit card.

Written comments must be submitted on or before December 26, 2003. Comments should be submitted to: Director, Regulations and Forms Services Division, Department of Homeland Security, 425 I Street, NW., Room 4034, Washington, DC 20536. ICE Reference number 2297-03. Comments may also be submitted electronically to rfs.regs@dhs.gov. Please include in the subject box of your email ICE No. 2297-03.

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