The cost of tourist visas in the United States is deterring some travelers from entering the country.
Visiting the United States as a non-U.S. citizen can be difficult. International visitors have to get permission, in the form of a visa, to visit any destination in the country. Americans can travel to most countries visa-free. U.S. citizens often forget about the process travelers from other countries have to go through.
According to the Henley Passport Index, travelers with U.S. passports can travel to 186 international destinations without applying for visas in advance. International travelers visiting America have to apply for a visa to visit.
Here’s what else you need to know about the rising costs of USA tourist visas.
Tourist Visas: The Process
In order to obtain a visa, international travelers have to fill out paperwork online and wait for an appointment time at the embassy in their home country.
When attending your appointment at the embassy, you’ll have to show proof of income, plans for visiting the U.S., and proof that you’re either visiting for vacation or business.
In some countries, it can be very difficult to get an appointment. Usually, people who come from affluent or well-connected families are able to get an appointment. These extra barriers discourage travelers from applying, especially when you won’t be refunded if your application gets rejected. This will result in lost tourist dollars every year for the U.S.
So, how much does a tourist visa cost?
The cost per person to apply for a tourist visa is $160, according to the State Department. Tourist visas can be valid for up to 10 years. The amount of time a tourist is granted on their visa is dependent on their nationality.
The cost of visa applications is rising due to inflation. The fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable. If an application gets denied, the applicant will have to pay again for a new one.
How long does it take to obtain?
As a result of the pandemic, many places have a wait time of over a year to get an appointment after applying. The wait time is also a factor in discouraging travelers from applying.
Who is exempt from applying?
The United States has visa waiver agreements with 40 countries. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, the United Kingdom, and many European countries are among the list of countries that do not have to apply.
However, just because you have a visa, doesn’t mean you can’t be denied access to the U.S. Border guards can turn visitors away after landing in the U.S.