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BRUNEI/IMMIGRATION Brunei unaffected


December 22, 2007 

Brunei unaffected by rise in US visa fees

Brunei is one of the 27 countries unaffected by America's admission fee where beginning January 2008, most people will have to pay more money for US visas. The higher will help pay for increased processing costs caused by new security measures imposed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

AP news agency quoted The State Department statement on Thursday that it will raise application fees for tourist, business and student visas by 31 per cent, from $100 to $131, and for immigrant visas by six per cent, from $335 to $355, on Jan 1.

"Because of new security-related costs, new information technology systems, and inflation, the fee is lower than the actual cost of processing nonimmigrant visas," a department statement said.

The department is required by law to cover the cost of the additional procedures, including more complete fingerprinting of applicants, through the fees it charges. But since the last price bump in 2002, it has absorbed losses.

"We are now collecting 10 fingerprints from each applicant and the cost charged by the FBI to review those fingerprints no longer allows us to do this," according to the statement.

It addresses only non-immigrant visas. But the department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, which is in charge of the issuance process, confirmed later that immigrant visa fees also would go up Jan 1 for the same reasons.

It was not immediately clear when the department would announce the higher fees for immigrant visa applications. Unlike tourist, business and student visas, these fees are paid to processing centers in the United States and not through US embassies and consulates abroad.

The only foreign visitors unaffected by the increases will be citizens of the 27 mainly European countries that are part of a waiver programme and who do not require US visas unless they want to stay in the US for longer than 90 days at one time.

Courtesy Brunei Online

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