When travelling from one country to another, certain types of visas usually are required, particularly for non-immigrant travellers. However, based on a country’s travel and visa policies, there may also be certain fees charged to the travellers for such visas. If you are flying from a city in the United States to a city that is located in another foreign country, you could be asked to pay additional fees. This fee is generally termed as a “visa reciprocity fee”. If you have not heard of it before, this travel guide will explain to you everything about it.
In this blog, we will take an in-depth look at what are visa reciprocity fees and things that you need to know.
What is a Visa Reciprocity Fee?
When a government of a foreign country imposes fees to U.S. citizens for certain types of visas, the U.S. government, in return, imposes a reciprocal fee on citizens of that foreign country for similar types of visas. Thus, this practice of imposing reciprocal fees for visas to citizens of either countries is commonly referred to as the “visa reciprocity fee” or the visa issuance fee. The fee is charged after your visa has been approved by the authorities of the country you are travelling to.
The visa reciprocity fee is charged to citizens travelling to the U.S. from a foreign country and vice versa, in addition to the non-immigrant visa application fee (also called MRV fee).
How to Know if You Need to Pay a Reciprocity Fee for Your Visa when Travelling to the U.S.
Before you plan your trip to/from a country, especially if you reside in that country, it is important that you first do a bit of comprehensive finding about obtaining and approving visas, and also, what fees you will be required to pay.
If you make your travel plan properly, it is certain that you will not have to encounter challenges during your journey, and make the most of your time.
If you are travelling to the United States, in order to know whether you will need to pay reciprocity fees for your visa, you will need to visit a website called Travel.State.Gov. The website is administered by the U.S. Department of State which contain detailed information about U.S. visas, passports, international travelling and more.
The website displays a lengthy list of countries in the side menu. The following steps can help you achieve the task easily.
Step 1: On the Travel.State.Gov website, click the U.S. Visa: Reciprocity and Civil Documents by County tab from the top menu, then select your country from the side menu in order to view the Reciprocity Page for your country.
Step 2: Upon selecting the Reciprocity Page for your country on the website, you will then need to select the Visa Classifications tab from the column displayed on the left.
Step 3: Next, from the drop-down menu, you will need to select the type of visa you have applied for. For example, a B-1/B-2 Visa (a temporary visa applied for the purpose of business or pleasure visit) or an F-1 (basically a student visa), etc.
Step 4: After making you selection, the reciprocity information, such as fees, number of entries and validity period, visa approval etc., for your chosen country will be displayed on your screen.
These are all the steps you will need to quickly find out whether you have to pay a visa reciprocity fee for entering into the United States when travelling from your home country.
U.S. Citizens Require Visa Reciprocity Fees When Travelling to these Countries and Vice Versa
If you are a U.S. citizen and travelling to a foreign country, you may be required to pay a visa reciprocity fee. Similarly, if you are travelling to the United States and are a citizen of the country for which the US government has imposed visa fees, you will also be required to pay a visa reciprocity fee.
Now, in order to know which countries are listed in this reciprocity, the U.S. Department of State has issued a long list of names of the countries. But, we will include a few of them only. You can refer to the complete list of reciprocity countries on the Travel.State.Gov website.
Here are a few countries that are included in the list of reciprocity, in which citizens of either nations must pay a visa reciprocity fee upon arriving at that particular country’s airports.
- Burkina Faso
- Cote d’Ivoire
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Guinea Bissau
- Republic of Guinea
- North Korea
- Myanmar (Burma)
- Papua New Guinea
- Sierra Leone
- South Sudan
- Sri Lanka
If you reside in any of these countries or are travelling to any of these nations from the United States, bear in mind that you will asked to pay certain fees in order gain approval to enter the country. This is a mandatory rule, and you cannot avoid this.
How is a Visa Reciprocity Fee Different from Non-immigrant Visa Application Fee?
We have already explained in the above sections what visa reciprocity fees are. Here, we will learn a little more about how a visa reciprocity fee is different from a non-immigrant visa application fee.
Generally speaking, you only have to pay the reciprocity fee for your visa, if it has been approved by the authorities of the country after the interview. On the other hand, you have to pay fees, which is non-refundable, whether your non-immigrant application visa is approved or denied by the authorities.
This can be seen as a favourable advantage unlike most non-immigrant visa applicants who are usually required to pay certain visa application fee, and without the possibility of being refunded, in case the individual’s visa is denied.
Visa reciprocity fees, on the good part, are required if you are granted a visa to enter the country. For example, you are permitted entry to the United States when travelling from Armenia and vice versa.