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DHS/USICE RIN: 1653-AA77 Publication ID: Fall 2019 
Title: Visa Security Program Fee 

ICE seeks to enable the expansion of the Visa Security Program (VSP) by proposing to move it to a user-fee funded model (as opposed to relying on appropriations). The VSP leverages resources in the National Capital Region (NCR) and at U.S. diplomatic posts overseas to vet and screen visa applicants; identifies and prevents the travel of those who constitute potential national security and/or public safety threats; and launches investigations into criminal and/or terrorist affiliated networks operating in the U.S. and abroad. The fees collected as a result of this rule would fund an expansion of the VSP, enabling ICE to extend visa security screening and vetting operations and investigative efforts to more visa-issuing posts overseas, and in turn, enhance the U.S. government’s ability to prevent travel to the United States by illicit actors.

Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Other 
CFR Citation: 8 CFR 103    8 CFR 214   
Legal Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1356   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

Collecting a Visa Security User Fee from all non-exempt non-immigrant visa applicants at the time of application submission will shift the Visa Security Program from a Congressionally-appropriated funding stream to a fee funded structure. This change will strengthen national security, help to facilitate long-term budget planning, and shift the burden of funding the program away from the U.S. taxpayers.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The Homeland Security Act of 2002 (Pub. L 107-296, sec. 428) established the Secretary of Homeland Security’s authority to issue regulations to administer and enforce the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and of all other immigration and nationality laws relating to the functions of consular officers of the United States in connection with the granting or refusal of visas. Section 428(e) of the Homeland Security Act also authorized the Secretary of Homeland Security to assign DHS employees to each diplomatic and consular post at which visas are issued.  The INA, as amended, authorizes the collection of fees at a level that will ensure recovery of the full costs of providing adjudication and naturalization services.  Pursuant to INA section 286(m), the level set may include recovery of any additional costs associated with the administration of the fees themselves.  Under this authority, user fees are employed for both the benefit of the payer of the fee and any collateral benefit resulting to the public, and to provide a benefit to certain others.  Fees collected under INA sec. 286(m) are deposited in the Immigration Examinations Fee Account (IEFA) and remain available until expended to reimburse any appropriation for expenses associated with providing immigration adjudication and naturalization services and collection, safeguarding, and accounting of fees deposited in and reimbursed from the IEFA. 


Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

ICE is in the process of assessing the impacts of this rule. Fees collected through the proposed rule would fully fund current and planned operations of the Visa Security Program, both domestically and abroad. The costs of the Visa Security Program would transition from an appropriations-funded structure to a fee-funded structure.


Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  04/00/2020 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Organizations  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Austin Moore
Unit Chief
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
500 12th Street SW,
Washington, DC 20536
Phone:202 732-5117