Which Countries Waive Reciprocal Visa Fees
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Today, Steve Gempeler and Peter Gulas at Allied Passport & Visa tip us off to some changes in the visa world!
The United States charges $160 for all nationals requiring a visa to enter the country. In return, many other countries charge US citizens reciprocal prices for their own visas, and some don’t even require U.S. Citizens to have visas, but still tack on a visitor entry fee upon arrival.
Today, we’ll discuss a few recent changes in U.S. reciprocation policies involving a few big name countries that require visas, and dissect their reciprocal fees (or their decisions to charge Americans more or less than $160).
A lot can be said about country relations based on visa requirements and entry fees. Here are two recent developments from South America:
According to the Santiago International Airport website: “From Tuesday 26 February Chile has eliminated the collection of reciprocity tax for United States passport holders, who are now exempted from this payment.”
In the past, Americans (who never needed a visa to visit Chile) would need to pay the $160 fee upon arrival. It appears now that not only do Chileans not need to pay the $160 in return, but have also gained exemption from visa requirements to visit the United States. It almost goes without saying that relations between the two countries are warming up.
Until recently, the Venezuelan government charged $60 for U.S. business travelers to obtain a business visa, but allowed tourists entry without a visa. However, as of just last week, Venezuela now requires Americans traveling for business and tourism to obtain a visa in advance. They also raised the fee to match the $160 reciprocal price tag.
The worse part about this change in policy was that Venezuela did not alert the U.S. State Department about the change until March 3, 2015, creating a lot of confused travelers. Here’s the Department of State notification via the U.S. Embassy website in Caracas.
Other “Big Name” Countries
It always seems puzzling that Australians are able to enter the United States for free, but Americans are charged $20AUD to obtain an Electronic Travel Authority (also known as an ETA). Apply directly through the Australian government website here.
The process of applying for a Brazilian visa is very similar to the process Brazilians face when applying for a U.S. visa. Both applications are completed online, involve comparable supporting documentation, and cost $160. However, Brazilians need to make a personal appearance at a U.S. Embassy or consulate when applying, whereas U.S. Citizens can apply with a third-party service. Please note that Brazil consulates throughout the United States are very strict when it comes to jurisdiction, so make sure you submit documents to the correct location when applying for your visa.
The visa processing machine that is China has really gotten its act together. While the application (example) looks overwhelming, it’s actually pretty straightforward, and the processing time is extremely short compared to other embassies.
They also do not enforce jurisdiction in Washington D.C. The visa fee for China is actually $20 cheaper at $140, and they only match the $160 visa fee with the United States if you need rush processing.
If you choose to use Allied Passport and Visa to obtain your international travel visas or passport services, please visit their website and be sure to mention “ThePointsGuy” on Allied’s Order Form to receive a $5 TPG discount!