Released: February 9/10 -Media note: Proposal for changes in schedule of fees for consular services
On February 9, 2010 the Department of State published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to change certain consular fees, including those related to U.S. passport and passport card applications, immigrant visas, and other services provided to U.S. and foreign citizens.
The proposed rule to change fees is based on a comprehensive cost of service study completed in June 2009. As demand for passports increased to an average of 15 million per year, the increase in certain fees will help cover actual operating expenses for the Department of State’s 301 consular posts abroad, 23 domestic passport agencies, and other centers that provide consular services to both U.S and foreign citizens. However, improvements in automated systems have also decreased some fees, such as the application fee for determining returning resident status.
Consular services include assistance to American citizens who are victims of crime abroad or citizens who require evacuation during natural disasters overseas, such as those in the recent earthquake in Haiti. The cost of providing such services in fiscal year 2009 was almost 300 million dollars.
This proposed rule to change fees is distinct from the proposed rule to increase non-immigrant visa application fees published on December 14, 2009. The comment period on that proposed rule will end February 12, 2010.
The Department will not begin collecting either of these new proposed fees until it fully considers public comments and publishes a final rule. In order to view both proposed rules and to submit comments, please go to www.regulations.gov.