News report | | 11/03/2024 | ±3 minutes reading time

The US Immigration Department has decided to increase the cost of a large number of visas starting 1 April 2024. The visas in question are those for temporary stays in the US, including visas for family members and fiancés of US citizens, as well as various work-related visas. Tourist visa fees and ESTA fees remain unchanged.

Visa fee increase was planned for some time

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been struggling with shortages in employees and financial resources for years. Partly due to budget cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic, the immigration service also faces a high workload that threatens to affect the quality of their work. These challenges have forced USCIS to increase fees for a number of visas. The price increases were originally supposed to take effect as early as the end of 2023, but the plans have been delayed for several months. Now it seems that the increased prices will be effective from 1 April 2024.

Price increases for family and work visas

The price increases will mainly affect applicants for various family and work visas. The cost of both the fiancé and spouse visas for US citizens will be increased by USD 140. Even steeper price increases have been announced for several work visas. The price of the widely used H-1B visa will be increased from USD 460 to USD 780. This visa is used by US employers to hire workers from abroad. The cost of other work-related visas, such as the L, P and O visas, will also go up substantially.

The employer generally has to bear the cost of the price increases just mentioned. This will make it more expensive for US employers to hire employees from abroad. Not only will the price of the H-1B visa be increased, but the lottery system for applicants will also be changed. The reason is that some employees were more likely to be selected if they registered more than one time. The lottery changes should therefore ensure that applicants have more equal chances of obtaining the visa.

Commotion in the music business

The P and O visas, both work-related visas, are often used by artists who wish to perform in the US. These two visa types are among those facing the biggest price increases. The cost of applying for a P visa will rise from USD 460 to USD 1,015. The O visa, which previously also cost 460 USD, will cost 1,055 USD starting from 1 April. These price hikes are causing quite a stir in the music world, as artists and fans fear that this will reduce the likelihood of festival and concert organisations in the US inviting foreign artists. The increases in visa prices will also further increase the cost of touring through the United States, which was already an expensive undertaking to begin with.

On the other hand, there is also relief as an earlier proposal for an even steeper price increase will not be implemented. The US Immigration Department previously announced that it would raise the price of the P and O visa to USD 1,615 and USD 1,655 respectively. Despite the significantly increased prices, the increases are less severe than originally planned.

No price increases for visitor visa and ESTA

The fees for the B-1 or B-2 tourist or business visa will not change. The same applies to the ESTA US, which allows tourist and business travel to the US. This means that the ESTA remains the most economical option for travellers wishing to stay in the United States for up to 90 days who do not want to work for an American employer. The ESTA is valid for two years and available to travellers from a limited number of countries. Applying for and using an ESTA does come with some requirements. Travellers who meet all these conditions can easily apply for the ESTA USA online. is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the ESTA USA. acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for an ESTA directly with the immigration service (21 USD per ESTA, via However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via, our support centre is available to you 24/7. In addition, we manually check your application and all the documents you provide before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 21 USD in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as £33.41 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous ESTA USA was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.