U.S. adjusts rates of visa for foreigners to enter country

Joe De María explains the rates and procedure.

The cost of visas for non-immigrants to the United States has gone up, starting today.

The U.S. Embassy has made two announcements that affect the visa application procedure. One is the price, and the the other is the process for application. Tourist visas went up $20 worldwide. They used to cost $140 and now cost $160. But a spokesperson for the embassy said the new fee will cut costs. In order to apply for a visa there was a fee for the application, another fee for the appointment, and another fee for the documentation sent through the DHL courier service. Now, there is no additional fee for an appointment and for DHL.

This is where the application process change comes into place. The visa application form can be done online, available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, starting April 20. And the fee can be paid online as well. It’s all very convenient said Joe De María, a consul at the embassy.

“This is a more convenient process. It can be done with a cup of coffee at your house in your pajamas,” said De María in Spanish.

The new process will consist of doing everything electronically. Online the visa (DS-160) form is filled out, then the payment is made. After 24 hours, a date for the appointment can be made also online.

The final step is to indicate which post office in Costa Rica is best to pick up the passport, thus eliminating the DHL fees.

Those who prefer to make the appointment by phone can call 4000-1976, for which the embassy will not charge.

The State Department did an analysis of cost where staffers figured the new price would be fair since the fee for the appointment and the fee for a messenger were eliminated, said the embassy here.

Last year alone there were 53,000 visa applicants in Costa Rica and about 85 percent of those qualify for a visa, said De María. He said the reasons the other 15 percent do not get approved are because they lack social and familial ties to return to Costa Rica or the applicant doesn’t show an economic stability in Costa Rica to ensure they will want to leave the United States. Also, the price of U.S. work visas have gone up by $40. The prior price was $150 and and is now $190.

There are also decreases in price for certain visas. The fiancé visa decreased by $110. It used to cost $350 and now is $240. And all visas for inmigrants, such as a green card, have also gone down in price. Family visas went from costing $330 to now $230. A green card solicitation used to cost $720, and will now cost $405. That is a $315 decrease.

Those who want further instructions or more information can visit the U.S. embassy Web site.

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