Schedule of Fees for Consular Services, Department of State and Overseas Embassies and Consulates, 66076-66079 [E9-29722]

Download as PDF 66076 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 238 / Monday, December 14, 2009 / Proposed Rules http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/ waisidx_09/20cfr404_09.html http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/ waisidx_09/20cfr416_09.html. srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with PROPOSALS Who Should Send Us Comments and Suggestions? We invite comments and suggestions from people who have an interest in the rules we use to administer the VR cost reimbursement program, people who apply for or receive benefits from us, members of the general public, State VR agencies, advocates and organizations who represent parties interested in cost reimbursement and the Ticket to Work programs, and others. What Should You Comment About? We issued initial Ticket to Work program regulations on December 23, 2001 (66 FR 67369). On May 20, 2008, we published amendments to those rules based on our experience administering the Ticket to Work program (73 FR 29324). While those rules simplified the program and made it more attractive to beneficiaries and potential service providers, we have not yet fully updated the regulations governing the VR cost reimbursement program to complement the Ticket to Work program. In advance of proposing regulatory changes to the VR cost reimbursement program, we would like your general comments, as well as comments on a few specific issues. These specific issues include: 1. What changes to the VR cost reimbursement regulations might we consider to make them work more effectively with the Ticket to Work program? 2. Is the list of services for which payment may be made, found at 20 CFR 404.2114 and 416.2214, adequate and comprehensive? If not, what changes to the list of allowable services should we consider? 3. Under the Ticket to Work program, our rules discount payments to an EN when it accepts a ticket assignment for job retention services for a beneficiary who is a former VR agency client and was working when the VR agency closed the VR case. 20 CFR 411.585. Our reimbursement rules do not cover the reverse situation: when the EN is the first provider and the VR agency later provides job retention or career advancement services. How should we avoid duplicate payments for the same services while ensuring that individuals get the services they need to maximize opportunities for employment? 4. Benefits planners (including those with the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance organizations) provide VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:52 Dec 11, 2009 Jkt 220001 information to beneficiaries with disabilities regarding the effect of earnings on many types of benefits. We would appreciate your comments about how benefits planning can become a more central part of a beneficiary’s participation in the VR process. Will We Respond to Your Comments From This Notice? We will not respond directly to comments you send in response to this ANPRM. After we have considered all comments and suggestions as well as what we have learned from our program experience administering the cost reimbursement option under the Ticket to Work program, we will determine whether and how we should revise our regulations. If we decide to propose specific revisions, we will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register, and you will have a chance to comment on the revisions we propose. List of Subjects 20 CFR Part 404 Administrative practice and procedure, Blind, Disability benefits, Old-age, Survivors, and Disability insurance, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Social Security, Vocational rehabilitation. processing fees. The rule raises from $131 to $140 the fee charged for the processing of an application for most non-petition-based nonimmigrant visas (Machine-Readable Visas or MRVs) and adult Border Crossing Cards (BCCs). The rule also provides new application fees for certain categories of petition-based nonimmigrant visas and treaty trader and investor visas (all of which are also MRVs). Finally, the rule increases the $13 BCC fee charged to Mexican citizen minors who apply in Mexico, and whose parent or guardian already has a BCC or is applying for one, by raising that fee to $14 by virtue of a congressionally mandated surcharge that goes into effect this year. The Department of State is adjusting the fees to ensure that sufficient resources are available to meet the costs of providing consular services in light of an independent cost of service study’s findings that the U.S. Government is not fully covering its costs for the processing of these visas under the current cost structure. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. [Public Notice: 6851] ADDRESSES: Interested parties may contact the Department by any of the following methods: • Persons with access to the Internet may view this notice and submit comments by going to the regulations.gov Web site at: http:// www.regulations.gov/index.cfm. • Mail (paper, disk, or CD–ROM): U.S. Department of State, Office of the Executive Director, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Suite H1001, 2401 E Street, NW., Washington, DC 20520. • E-mail: fees@state.gov. You must include the RIN (1400–AC57) in the subject line of your message. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amber Baskette, Office of the Executive Director, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State; phone: 202–663– 3923, telefax: 202–663–2599; e-mail: fees@state.gov. RIN: 1400–AC57 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Schedule of Fees for Consular Services, Department of State and Overseas Embassies and Consulates Background 20 CFR Part 416 Administrative practice and procedure, Aged, Blind, Disability benefits, Public assistance programs, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Vocational rehabilitation. Dated: November 9, 2009. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. [FR Doc. E9–29669 Filed 12–11–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4191–02–P DEPARTMENT OF STATE 22 CFR Part 22 AGENCY: Bureau of Consular Affairs, State. ACTION: Proposed rule. SUMMARY: This rule amends the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services (Schedule) for nonimmigrant visa application and border crossing card PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 What Is the Authority for This Action? The Department of State derives the general authority to set the amount of fees for the consular services it provides, and to charge those fees, from the general user charges statute, 31 U.S.C. 9701. See, e.g., 31 U.S.C. 9701(b)(2)(A) (‘‘The head of each agency * * * may prescribe regulations establishing the charge for a service or E:\FR\FM\14DEP1.SGM 14DEP1 srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 238 / Monday, December 14, 2009 / Proposed Rules thing of value provided by the agency * * * based on * * * the costs to the Government.’’). As implemented through Executive Order 10718 of June 27, 1957, 22 U.S.C. 4219 further authorizes the Department to establish fees to be charged for official services provided by U.S. embassies and consulates. Other authorities allow the Department to charge fees for consular services, but not to determine the amount of such fees, as the amount is statutorily determined. Examples related to nonimmigrant visas include: (1) The $13 fee, discussed below, for machine-readable BCCs for certain Mexican citizen minors, Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999, Public Law 105–277, 112 Stat. 2681–50, Div. A, Title IV, § 410(a), (reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 note); and (2) the reciprocal nonimmigrant visa issuance fee, 8 U.S.C. 1351. A number of other statutes address specific fees and surcharges related to nonimmigrant visas. A cost-based, nonimmigrant visa processing fee for MRVs and BCCs is authorized by section 140(a) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995, Public Law 103–236, 108 Stat. 382, as amended, and such fees remain available to the Department until expended. See, e.g., Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, Public Law 107–173, 116 Stat. 543; see also 8 U.S.C. 1351 note (reproducing amended law allowing for retention of MRV and BCC fees). Furthermore, section 239(a) of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (‘‘Wilberforce Act’’) requires the Secretary of State to collect a $1 surcharge on all MRVs and BCCs in addition to the processing fee, including on BCCs issued to Mexican citizen minors qualifying for a statutorily mandated $13 processing fee; this surcharge must be deposited into the Treasury. See Public Law 110–457, 122 Stat. 5044, Title II, § 239, (reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 note). The Department last changed MRV and BCC fees in an interim final rule dated December 20, 2007. 72 FR 72243. See Department of State Schedule for Fees and Funds, 22 CFR 22.1–22.5 Those changes to the Schedule went into effect January 1, 2008. Why Is the Department Raising the Nonimmigrant Visa Fees at This Time? Consistent with OMB Circular A–25 guidelines, the Department contracted for an independent cost of service study (CoSS), which used an activity-based costing model from August 2007 VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:52 Dec 11, 2009 Jkt 220001 through June 2009 to provide the basis for updating the Schedule. The results of that study are the foundation of the current changes to the Schedule. The CoSS concluded that the average cost to the U.S. Government of accepting, processing, adjudicating, and issuing a non-petition-based MRV application, including an application for a BCC, is approximately $136.37 for Fiscal Year 2010. (The only exception is the non-petition-based E category visa, discussed below, for which costs are greater than $136.37.) The CoSS arrived at the $136.37 figure taking into account actual and projected costs of worldwide nonimmigrant visa operations, visa workload, and other related costs. This cost also includes the unrecovered costs of processing BCCs for certain Mexican citizen minors. That processing fee is statutorily frozen at $13, even though such BCCs cost the Department the same amount to process as all other MRVs and BCCs—that is, significantly more than $13. (As discussed below, a statutorily imposed $1 surcharge brings the total fee for Mexican citizen minor BCCs to $14.) The Department’s costs beyond $13 must, by statute, be recovered by charging more for all MRVs, as well as all BCCs not meeting the requirements for the reduced fee. See Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999, Public Law 105–277, Div. A, Title IV, § 410(a)(3) (reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 note) (Department ‘‘shall set the amount of the fee [for processing MRVs and all other BCCs] at a level that will ensure the full recovery by the Department * * * of the costs of processing’’ all MRVs and BCCs, including reduced cost BCCs for qualifying Mexican citizen minors). Subsequent to the completion of datagathering for the CoSS, the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs decided to consolidate visa operations support services through an initiative called the Global Support Strategy (GSS) in Fiscal Year 2010. GSS consolidates in one contract costs of services currently being paid by MRV and BCC applicants to various private vendors, including appointment setting, fee collection, offsite data collection services and document delivery. The GSS contract, which will be awarded competitively, was initiated due to concerns that fees for visa services varied from country to country; the Department’s intent is to charge a consistent fee worldwide to applicants for the same type of visa. Final costs for GSS are not yet known because the contract has not yet been awarded, but according to Department estimates startup costs incurred in PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 66077 Fiscal Year 2009 are certain to be at least $2 per application. When this additional cost is factored in along with the costs of recovering losses from the Mexican citizen minor BCC, the estimated cost to the U.S. Government of accepting, processing, and adjudicating non-petition-based MRV (except E category) and BCC applications becomes $138.37. In addition, section 239(a) of the Wilberforce Act requires the Department to collect a fee or surcharge of $1 (‘‘Wilberforce surcharge’’) in addition to cost-based fees charged for MRVs and BCCs, to support anti-trafficking programs. See Wilberforce Act, Public Law 110–457, Title II, § 239. Combining the $138.37 cost to the U.S. Government with the $1 Wilberforce surcharge, the Department has determined that the fee for nonpetition-based MRV (except E category) and BCC applications, with the exception of certain Mexican citizen minors’ BCCs statutorily set at $13, will be $140. This $140 fee will allow the Government to recover the full cost of processing these visa applications during the anticipated period of the current Schedule, and to comply with its statutory obligation to collect from applicants the $1 Wilberforce surcharge. The Department rounded up to $140 to make it easier for U.S. embassies and consulates to convert to foreign currencies, which are most often used to pay the fee. For all applicants other than those Mexican citizen minors who qualify for the reduced fee, the BCC fee is being raised to $140 because the document, which is available to certain Mexican citizens, has almost identical processing procedures and functions for those persons in the same manner as an MRV functions for all other nonimmigrant visa applicants. As noted above, for Mexican citizens under 15 years of age who apply for a BCC in Mexico, and have at least one parent or guardian who has a BCC or is also applying for one, the BCC fee is statutorily set at $13. See Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999, Public Law 105–277, Div. A, Title IV, § 410(a)(1)(A) (reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 note). Nevertheless, the $1 Wilberforce surcharge applies to this fee by the terms of law establishing the surcharge, which postdates Public Law 105–277, Division A, Title IV, § 410(a)(1)(A) and does not exempt it from its application. See Wilberforce Act, Public Law 110– 457, Title II, § 239(a). Therefore, the Department must now charge $14 for this category of BCC. E:\FR\FM\14DEP1.SGM 14DEP1 66078 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 238 / Monday, December 14, 2009 / Proposed Rules In addition, the 2007–2009 CoSS found that the cost of accepting, adjudicating, and issuing MRV applications for the following categories of visas is appreciably higher than for other categories: E (treaty-trader or treaty-investor); H (temporary workers ´ and trainees); K (fiance(e)s and certain spouses of U.S. citizens); L (intracompany transferee); O (aliens with extraordinary ability); P (athletes, artists, and entertainers); Q (international cultural exchange visitors) and R (aliens in religious occupations). Each of these visa categories requires a review of extensive documentation and a more in-depth interview of the applicant than BCCs and other categories of MRVs. The Department has concluded that it would be more equitable to those applying for BCCs and other categories of MRVs, for which such extensive review is not necessary, to establish separate fees that more accurately reflect the cost of processing these visas. Therefore, this rule establishes the following fees for these categories corresponding to projected cost figures for the visa category as determined by the CoSS and incorporating the $1 Wilberforce surcharge (see Wilberforce Act, Public Law 110–457, Title II, § 239(a) (surcharge applies to all nonimmigrant MRVs)): H, L, O, P, Q and R: $150. E: $390. K: $350. The Department rounded these fees to the nearest $10 for the ease of converting to foreign currencies, which are most often used to pay the fee. When Will the Department of State Implement This Proposed Rule? srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with PROPOSALS The Department intends to implement this proposed rule, and initiate collection of the fees set forth herein, as soon as practicable following the expiration of the 60-day public comment period following this proposed rule’s publication in the Federal Register, and after the VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:52 Dec 11, 2009 Jkt 220001 Department has had the opportunity to fully consider any public comments received and promulgate the associated final regulation. Regulatory Findings Administrative Procedure Act The Department is publishing this rule as a proposed rule, with a 60-day provision for public comments. Regulatory Flexibility Act The Department, in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), has reviewed this rule and, by approving it, certifies that it will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6). This rule raises the application and processing fee for nonimmigrant visas. Although the issuance of some of these visas is contingent upon approval by DHS of a petition filed by a United States company with DHS, and these companies pay a fee to DHS to cover the processing of the petition, the visa itself is sought and paid for by an individual foreign national overseas who seeks to come to the United States for a temporary stay. The amount of the petition fees that are paid by small entities to DHS is not controlled by the amount of the visa fees paid by individuals to the Department of State. While small entities may cover or reimburse employees for application fees, the exact number of such entities that does so is unknown. Given that the increase in petition fees accounts for only 7% of the total percentage of visa fee increases, the modest 15% increase in the application fee for employmentbased nonimmigrant visas is not likely to have a significant economic impact on the small entities that choose to reimburse the applicant for the visa fee. Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995 This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $1 million or more in PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 any year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1501–1504. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. See 5 U.S.C. 804(2). This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreignbased companies in domestic and import markets. Executive Order 12866 OMB considers this rule to be a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f), Regulatory Planning and Review, Sept. 30, 1993. 58 FR 51735. This rule is necessary in light of the Department of State’s CoSS finding that the cost of processing non-immigrant visas has increased since the fee was last set in 2007. The Department is setting the non-immigrant visa fees in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 9701 and other applicable legal authority, as described in more detail above. See, e.g., 31 U.S.C. 9701(b)(2)(A) (‘‘The head of each agency * * * may prescribe regulations establishing the charge for a service or thing of value provided by the agency * * * based on * * * the costs to the Government.’’). This regulation sets the fees for non-immigrant visas at the amount required to recover the costs associated with providing this service to foreign nationals. Accordingly, this rule has been submitted to OMB for review. Details of the proposed fee changes are as follows: E:\FR\FM\14DEP1.SGM 14DEP1 66079 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 238 / Monday, December 14, 2009 / Proposed Rules Proposed fee Item No. 21. Nonimmigrant visa application and border crossing card processing fees: (a) Non-petition-based category (except E category) ............................................................ (b) H, L, O, P, Q and R category ..................... (c) E category ................................................... (d) K category ................................................... (e) Border crossing card—age 15 and over ..... (f) Border crossing card—under age 15 ........... 1 Based 2 Using Current fee $140 150 390 350 140 14 Change in fee $131 131 131 131 131 13 Percentage increase Estimated annual number of applications 1 7 15 198 167 7 8 5,499,494 498,034 38,466 41,345 673,128 224,376 $9 19 259 219 9 1 Estimated increase in annual fees collected 2 $49,495,446 9,462,646 9,962,694 9,054,555 6,058,152 224,376 on FY2009 actuals. FY2009 actuals to generate projections. Historically, nonimmigrant visa workload has increased year to year at approximately 5%. However, global economic conditions led to a 12.7% drop in demand in Fiscal Year 2009. We anticipate that with global economic recovery, demand will return to its historical pattern of growth after Fiscal Year 2010. With regard to the economic impact as a whole, the more than 92% of nonimmigrant visa applications that are not petition-based are sought by and paid for entirely by foreign national applicants. The revenue increases resulting from those fees should not be considered to have a direct cost impact on the domestic economy. Executive Order 13132 This rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of Executive Order 13132, Federalism, Aug. 4, 1999, the Department has determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to require consultations or warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. 64 FR 43255. Paperwork Reduction Act This rule does not impose any new or modify any existing reporting or recordkeeping requirements. List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 22 Consular services, fees, passports and visas. Accordingly, for the reasons stated in the preamble, 22 CFR part 22 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 22—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation for part 22 is amended to read as follows: Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1101 note, 1153 note, 1183a note, 1351, 1351 note, 1714, 1714 note; 10 U.S.C. 2602(c); 11 U.S.C. 1157 note; 22 U.S.C. 214, 214 note, 1475e, 2504(a), 4201, 4206, 4215, 4219, 6551; 31 U.S.C. 9701; Exec. Order 10,718, 22 FR 4632 (1957); Exec. Order 11,295, 31 FR 10603 (1966). 2. Revise § 22.1 Item 21 to read as follows: SCHEDULE OF FEES FOR CONSULAR SERVICES Item No. * * * Fee * * * * Nonimmigrant Visa Services 21. Nonimmigrant visa application and border crossing card processing fees (per person): (a) Non-petition-based nonimmigrant visa (except E category) ....................................................................................................... (b) H, L, O, P and R category nonimmigrant visa ........................................................................................................................... (c) E category nonimmigrant visa .................................................................................................................................................... (d) K category nonimmigrant visa .................................................................................................................................................... (e) Border crossing card—age 15 and over (valid 10 years) .......................................................................................................... (f) Border crossing card—under age 15; for Mexican citizens if parent or guardian has or is applying for a border crossing card (valid 10 years of until the applicant reaches age 15, whichever is sooner) ....................................................................... srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with PROPOSALS * * * Dated: December 9, 2009. Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary of State for Management, Department of State. [FR Doc. E9–29722 Filed 12–11–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4710–06–P * POSTAL SERVICE 39 CFR Part 111 Eligibility for Commercial Flats Failing Deflection AGENCY: ACTION: VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:52 Dec 11, 2009 Jkt 220001 * PO 00000 Postal ServiceTM. Proposed rule. Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 * $140 150 390 350 140 14 * SUMMARY: The Postal Service is filing this proposed rule to describe the applicable prices for commercial flatsize mail failing to meet new deflection standards, to be effective on June 7, 2010. DATES: We must receive your comments on or before January 13, 2010. ADDRESSES: Mail or deliver written comments to the Manager, Mailing E:\FR\FM\14DEP1.SGM 14DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 238 (Monday, December 14, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 66076-66079]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-29722]


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DEPARTMENT OF STATE

22 CFR Part 22

[Public Notice: 6851]
RIN: 1400-AC57


Schedule of Fees for Consular Services, Department of State and 
Overseas Embassies and Consulates

AGENCY: Bureau of Consular Affairs, State.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: This rule amends the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services 
(Schedule) for nonimmigrant visa application and border crossing card 
processing fees. The rule raises from $131 to $140 the fee charged for 
the processing of an application for most non-petition-based 
nonimmigrant visas (Machine-Readable Visas or MRVs) and adult Border 
Crossing Cards (BCCs). The rule also provides new application fees for 
certain categories of petition-based nonimmigrant visas and treaty 
trader and investor visas (all of which are also MRVs). Finally, the 
rule increases the $13 BCC fee charged to Mexican citizen minors who 
apply in Mexico, and whose parent or guardian already has a BCC or is 
applying for one, by raising that fee to $14 by virtue of a 
congressionally mandated surcharge that goes into effect this year. The 
Department of State is adjusting the fees to ensure that sufficient 
resources are available to meet the costs of providing consular 
services in light of an independent cost of service study's findings 
that the U.S. Government is not fully covering its costs for the 
processing of these visas under the current cost structure.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before 60 days from the 
date of publication in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties may contact the Department by any of the 
following methods:
     Persons with access to the Internet may view this notice 
and submit comments by going to the regulations.gov Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov/index.cfm.
     Mail (paper, disk, or CD-ROM): U.S. Department of State, 
Office of the Executive Director, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. 
Department of State, Suite H1001, 2401 E Street, NW., Washington, DC 
20520.
     E-mail: fees@state.gov. You must include the RIN (1400-
AC57) in the subject line of your message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amber Baskette, Office of the 
Executive Director, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State; 
phone: 202-663-3923, telefax: 202-663-2599; e-mail: fees@state.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

What Is the Authority for This Action?

    The Department of State derives the general authority to set the 
amount of fees for the consular services it provides, and to charge 
those fees, from the general user charges statute, 31 U.S.C. 9701. See, 
e.g., 31 U.S.C. 9701(b)(2)(A) (``The head of each agency * * * may 
prescribe regulations establishing the charge for a service or

[[Page 66077]]

thing of value provided by the agency * * * based on * * * the costs to 
the Government.''). As implemented through Executive Order 10718 of 
June 27, 1957, 22 U.S.C. 4219 further authorizes the Department to 
establish fees to be charged for official services provided by U.S. 
embassies and consulates. Other authorities allow the Department to 
charge fees for consular services, but not to determine the amount of 
such fees, as the amount is statutorily determined. Examples related to 
nonimmigrant visas include: (1) The $13 fee, discussed below, for 
machine-readable BCCs for certain Mexican citizen minors, Omnibus 
Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1999, 
Public Law 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681-50, Div. A, Title IV, Sec.  410(a), 
(reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 note); and (2) the reciprocal nonimmigrant 
visa issuance fee, 8 U.S.C. 1351.
    A number of other statutes address specific fees and surcharges 
related to nonimmigrant visas. A cost-based, nonimmigrant visa 
processing fee for MRVs and BCCs is authorized by section 140(a) of the 
Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995, Public 
Law 103-236, 108 Stat. 382, as amended, and such fees remain available 
to the Department until expended. See, e.g., Enhanced Border Security 
and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, Public Law 107-173, 116 Stat. 543; 
see also 8 U.S.C. 1351 note (reproducing amended law allowing for 
retention of MRV and BCC fees). Furthermore, section 239(a) of the 
William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act 
of 2008 (``Wilberforce Act'') requires the Secretary of State to 
collect a $1 surcharge on all MRVs and BCCs in addition to the 
processing fee, including on BCCs issued to Mexican citizen minors 
qualifying for a statutorily mandated $13 processing fee; this 
surcharge must be deposited into the Treasury. See Public Law 110-457, 
122 Stat. 5044, Title II, Sec.  239, (reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 
note).
    The Department last changed MRV and BCC fees in an interim final 
rule dated December 20, 2007. 72 FR 72243. See Department of State 
Schedule for Fees and Funds, 22 CFR 22.1-22.5 Those changes to the 
Schedule went into effect January 1, 2008.

Why Is the Department Raising the Nonimmigrant Visa Fees at This Time?

    Consistent with OMB Circular A-25 guidelines, the Department 
contracted for an independent cost of service study (CoSS), which used 
an activity-based costing model from August 2007 through June 2009 to 
provide the basis for updating the Schedule. The results of that study 
are the foundation of the current changes to the Schedule.
    The CoSS concluded that the average cost to the U.S. Government of 
accepting, processing, adjudicating, and issuing a non-petition-based 
MRV application, including an application for a BCC, is approximately 
$136.37 for Fiscal Year 2010. (The only exception is the non-petition-
based E category visa, discussed below, for which costs are greater 
than $136.37.) The CoSS arrived at the $136.37 figure taking into 
account actual and projected costs of worldwide nonimmigrant visa 
operations, visa workload, and other related costs. This cost also 
includes the unrecovered costs of processing BCCs for certain Mexican 
citizen minors. That processing fee is statutorily frozen at $13, even 
though such BCCs cost the Department the same amount to process as all 
other MRVs and BCCs--that is, significantly more than $13. (As 
discussed below, a statutorily imposed $1 surcharge brings the total 
fee for Mexican citizen minor BCCs to $14.) The Department's costs 
beyond $13 must, by statute, be recovered by charging more for all 
MRVs, as well as all BCCs not meeting the requirements for the reduced 
fee. See Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations 
Act of 1999, Public Law 105-277, Div. A, Title IV, Sec.  410(a)(3) 
(reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 note) (Department ``shall set the amount 
of the fee [for processing MRVs and all other BCCs] at a level that 
will ensure the full recovery by the Department * * * of the costs of 
processing'' all MRVs and BCCs, including reduced cost BCCs for 
qualifying Mexican citizen minors).
    Subsequent to the completion of data-gathering for the CoSS, the 
Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs decided to consolidate visa 
operations support services through an initiative called the Global 
Support Strategy (GSS) in Fiscal Year 2010. GSS consolidates in one 
contract costs of services currently being paid by MRV and BCC 
applicants to various private vendors, including appointment setting, 
fee collection, offsite data collection services and document delivery. 
The GSS contract, which will be awarded competitively, was initiated 
due to concerns that fees for visa services varied from country to 
country; the Department's intent is to charge a consistent fee 
worldwide to applicants for the same type of visa. Final costs for GSS 
are not yet known because the contract has not yet been awarded, but 
according to Department estimates startup costs incurred in Fiscal Year 
2009 are certain to be at least $2 per application. When this 
additional cost is factored in along with the costs of recovering 
losses from the Mexican citizen minor BCC, the estimated cost to the 
U.S. Government of accepting, processing, and adjudicating non-
petition-based MRV (except E category) and BCC applications becomes 
$138.37.
    In addition, section 239(a) of the Wilberforce Act requires the 
Department to collect a fee or surcharge of $1 (``Wilberforce 
surcharge'') in addition to cost-based fees charged for MRVs and BCCs, 
to support anti-trafficking programs. See Wilberforce Act, Public Law 
110-457, Title II, Sec.  239.
    Combining the $138.37 cost to the U.S. Government with the $1 
Wilberforce surcharge, the Department has determined that the fee for 
non-petition-based MRV (except E category) and BCC applications, with 
the exception of certain Mexican citizen minors' BCCs statutorily set 
at $13, will be $140. This $140 fee will allow the Government to 
recover the full cost of processing these visa applications during the 
anticipated period of the current Schedule, and to comply with its 
statutory obligation to collect from applicants the $1 Wilberforce 
surcharge. The Department rounded up to $140 to make it easier for U.S. 
embassies and consulates to convert to foreign currencies, which are 
most often used to pay the fee.
    For all applicants other than those Mexican citizen minors who 
qualify for the reduced fee, the BCC fee is being raised to $140 
because the document, which is available to certain Mexican citizens, 
has almost identical processing procedures and functions for those 
persons in the same manner as an MRV functions for all other 
nonimmigrant visa applicants.
    As noted above, for Mexican citizens under 15 years of age who 
apply for a BCC in Mexico, and have at least one parent or guardian who 
has a BCC or is also applying for one, the BCC fee is statutorily set 
at $13. See Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act 
of 1999, Public Law 105-277, Div. A, Title IV, Sec.  410(a)(1)(A) 
(reproduced at 8 U.S.C. 1351 note). Nevertheless, the $1 Wilberforce 
surcharge applies to this fee by the terms of law establishing the 
surcharge, which postdates Public Law 105-277, Division A, Title IV, 
Sec.  410(a)(1)(A) and does not exempt it from its application. See 
Wilberforce Act, Public Law 110-457, Title II, Sec.  239(a). Therefore, 
the Department must now charge $14 for this category of BCC.

[[Page 66078]]

    In addition, the 2007-2009 CoSS found that the cost of accepting, 
adjudicating, and issuing MRV applications for the following categories 
of visas is appreciably higher than for other categories: E (treaty-
trader or treaty-investor); H (temporary workers and trainees); K 
(fianc[eacute](e)s and certain spouses of U.S. citizens); L 
(intracompany transferee); O (aliens with extraordinary ability); P 
(athletes, artists, and entertainers); Q (international cultural 
exchange visitors) and R (aliens in religious occupations). Each of 
these visa categories requires a review of extensive documentation and 
a more in-depth interview of the applicant than BCCs and other 
categories of MRVs. The Department has concluded that it would be more 
equitable to those applying for BCCs and other categories of MRVs, for 
which such extensive review is not necessary, to establish separate 
fees that more accurately reflect the cost of processing these visas. 
Therefore, this rule establishes the following fees for these 
categories corresponding to projected cost figures for the visa 
category as determined by the CoSS and incorporating the $1 Wilberforce 
surcharge (see Wilberforce Act, Public Law 110-457, Title II, Sec.  
239(a) (surcharge applies to all nonimmigrant MRVs)):

H, L, O, P, Q and R: $150.
E: $390.
K: $350.

    The Department rounded these fees to the nearest $10 for the ease 
of converting to foreign currencies, which are most often used to pay 
the fee.

When Will the Department of State Implement This Proposed Rule?

    The Department intends to implement this proposed rule, and 
initiate collection of the fees set forth herein, as soon as 
practicable following the expiration of the 60-day public comment 
period following this proposed rule's publication in the Federal 
Register, and after the Department has had the opportunity to fully 
consider any public comments received and promulgate the associated 
final regulation.

Regulatory Findings

Administrative Procedure Act

    The Department is publishing this rule as a proposed rule, with a 
60-day provision for public comments.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department, in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 
5 U.S.C. 605(b), has reviewed this rule and, by approving it, certifies 
that it will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6). This rule 
raises the application and processing fee for nonimmigrant visas. 
Although the issuance of some of these visas is contingent upon 
approval by DHS of a petition filed by a United States company with 
DHS, and these companies pay a fee to DHS to cover the processing of 
the petition, the visa itself is sought and paid for by an individual 
foreign national overseas who seeks to come to the United States for a 
temporary stay. The amount of the petition fees that are paid by small 
entities to DHS is not controlled by the amount of the visa fees paid 
by individuals to the Department of State. While small entities may 
cover or reimburse employees for application fees, the exact number of 
such entities that does so is unknown. Given that the increase in 
petition fees accounts for only 7% of the total percentage of visa fee 
increases, the modest 15% increase in the application fee for 
employment-based nonimmigrant visas is not likely to have a significant 
economic impact on the small entities that choose to reimburse the 
applicant for the visa fee.

Unfunded Mandates Act of 1995

    This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and 
Tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $1 
million or more in any year, and it will not significantly or uniquely 
affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary 
under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 
U.S.C. 1501-1504.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. See 5 
U.S.C. 804(2). This rule will not result in an annual effect on the 
economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; 
or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, 
productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based 
companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and 
import markets.

Executive Order 12866

    OMB considers this rule to be a ``significant regulatory action'' 
under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f), Regulatory Planning and 
Review, Sept. 30, 1993. 58 FR 51735. This rule is necessary in light of 
the Department of State's CoSS finding that the cost of processing non-
immigrant visas has increased since the fee was last set in 2007. The 
Department is setting the non-immigrant visa fees in accordance with 31 
U.S.C. 9701 and other applicable legal authority, as described in more 
detail above. See, e.g., 31 U.S.C. 9701(b)(2)(A) (``The head of each 
agency * * * may prescribe regulations establishing the charge for a 
service or thing of value provided by the agency * * * based on * * * 
the costs to the Government.''). This regulation sets the fees for non-
immigrant visas at the amount required to recover the costs associated 
with providing this service to foreign nationals.
    Accordingly, this rule has been submitted to OMB for review.
    Details of the proposed fee changes are as follows:

[[Page 66079]]



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     Estimated
                                                                                   annual number     Estimated
          Item No.              Proposed   Current fee   Change in    Percentage        of          increase in
                                  fee                       fee        increase    applications     annual fees
                                                                                        \1\        collected \2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
21. Nonimmigrant visa
 application and border
 crossing card processing
 fees:
    (a) Non-petition-based           $140         $131           $9            7       5,499,494     $49,495,446
     category (except E
     category)..............
    (b) H, L, O, P, Q and R           150          131           19           15         498,034       9,462,646
     category...............
    (c) E category..........          390          131          259          198          38,466       9,962,694
    (d) K category..........          350          131          219          167          41,345       9,054,555
    (e) Border crossing               140          131            9            7         673,128       6,058,152
     card--age 15 and over..
    (f) Border crossing                14           13            1            8         224,376         224,376
     card--under age 15.....
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Based on FY2009 actuals.
\2\ Using FY2009 actuals to generate projections.

    Historically, nonimmigrant visa workload has increased year to year 
at approximately 5%. However, global economic conditions led to a 12.7% 
drop in demand in Fiscal Year 2009. We anticipate that with global 
economic recovery, demand will return to its historical pattern of 
growth after Fiscal Year 2010. With regard to the economic impact as a 
whole, the more than 92% of nonimmigrant visa applications that are not 
petition-based are sought by and paid for entirely by foreign national 
applicants. The revenue increases resulting from those fees should not 
be considered to have a direct cost impact on the domestic economy.

Executive Order 13132

    This rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, 
on the relationship between the national government and the States, or 
on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various 
levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of 
Executive Order 13132, Federalism, Aug. 4, 1999, the Department has 
determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism 
implications to require consultations or warrant the preparation of a 
federalism summary impact statement. 64 FR 43255.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not impose any new or modify any existing reporting 
or record-keeping requirements.

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Part 22

    Consular services, fees, passports and visas.

    Accordingly, for the reasons stated in the preamble, 22 CFR part 22 
is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 22--[AMENDED]

    1. The authority citation for part 22 is amended to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1101 note, 1153 note, 1183a note, 1351, 1351 
note, 1714, 1714 note; 10 U.S.C. 2602(c); 11 U.S.C. 1157 note; 22 
U.S.C. 214, 214 note, 1475e, 2504(a), 4201, 4206, 4215, 4219, 6551; 
31 U.S.C. 9701; Exec. Order 10,718, 22 FR 4632 (1957); Exec. Order 
11,295, 31 FR 10603 (1966).

    2. Revise Sec.  22.1 Item 21 to read as follows:

                 Schedule of Fees for Consular Services
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Item No.                               Fee
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                              * * * * * * *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Nonimmigrant Visa Services
------------------------------------------------------------------------
21. Nonimmigrant visa application and border crossing card   ...........
 processing fees (per person):
    (a) Non-petition-based nonimmigrant visa (except E              $140
     category).............................................
    (b) H, L, O, P and R category nonimmigrant visa........          150
    (c) E category nonimmigrant visa.......................          390
    (d) K category nonimmigrant visa.......................          350
    (e) Border crossing card--age 15 and over (valid 10              140
     years)................................................
    (f) Border crossing card--under age 15; for Mexican               14
     citizens if parent or guardian has or is applying for
     a border crossing card (valid 10 years of until the
     applicant reaches age 15, whichever is sooner)........
 
                              * * * * * * *
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Dated: December 9, 2009.
Patrick Kennedy,
Under Secretary of State for Management, Department of State.
[FR Doc. E9-29722 Filed 12-11-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-06-P