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May 30, 2002

Cost of U.S. visa goes up

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If you are one of the many Belizeans planning to visit the United States this summer, as of Saturday it’s going to cost you more. Starting on June first, the non-immigrant visa application fee, or tourist visa, will cost sixty-five U.S. dollars, up twenty dollars from the current forty-five U.S. dollar charge. A press release issued today by the U.S. Embassy indicates that the price rise is mandated by U.S. law, which requires consular fees to cover the actual cost of services provided. It is believed that recent improvements in technology and security features are responsible for the bulk of the increase. Despite the bad news, there is one loophole that may help Belizeans save a few dollars. Consular officials on Hutson Street tell us that one way to beat the system is to pay the fee tomorrow when it’s still pegged at forty-five U.S. dollars. Hold onto your receipt and so long as you apply for a visa within a year, that payment at the old rate, will still be valid. Payments for a U.S. visa can be made at any branch of the Atlantic Bank. And don’t think that it’s only foreigners required to pay more. Please note that American citizens seeking to document the birth of a child abroad will now have to pay sixty-five U.S. dollars for that certificate, instead of the current price of forty.

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