8 Pricey & Hard To Get Visas

Budget Travel- Pricey & Hard To Get Visas
Photo Credit: Budget Travel

Budget Travel put together a list of 8 Countries That Don’t Roll Out The Welcome Mat.

When they say the welcome mat, BT is talking about allowing tourists to enter the country without paying (mostly) hefty fees for a visa. The visa fee is not the only issue, getting approved for it can be a major pain in the… well you know what.

Here is the list along with fees for U.S. citizens:

  1. India– $68- apply at least one month in advance
  2. Russia– $173- apply at least 90 days in advance
  3. China– $140- apply one month in advance
  4. Brazil– $160- at least one month in advance
  5. Bhutan– $40- apply at least 3 months in advance
  6. Iran– $128- apply at least 3 months in advance
  7. Kazakhstan– $160- apply one month in advance
  8. Saudi Arabia– $500- at least 2 weeks in advance

From this list Kim and I have paid to get pricey visas to visit Brazil and Russia.

The Brazilian visa was annoying due to needing to make a couple of trips into Manhattan to get it taken care of. Last year we visited Russia and getting all of the items needed for the visa was a real pain. The instructions are not so clear (invitation letter among other things) and good luck trying to reach someone on the phone to clarify things.

Another very expensive visa (reciprocity fee) that we paid for in the past was Chile- $160. However, Chile was just added to the visa waiver program. Starting May 1- Chileans will no longer need a visa to visit the US and Americans will no longer have to pay the $160 reciprocity fee.

Find out more in the Budget Travel article HERE.

13 thoughts on “8 Pricey & Hard To Get Visas

  1. I have the 10-year for India because I don’t feel like going back to that office; just applied for my Brazilian, and when I went to China in 2010, I was lucky enough to live in Korea and have a tour agency handle all the paperwork for me. But the fees are ridiculous. Sometimes my fees have cost me more than my actual flight! 🙁

  2. AlohaDave- I would’nt consider $500 much of a deal either to visit Saudi Arabia. Interesting plan to check a couple of countries off a list but I personally would not count a touchdown as visiting a country. I think it’s a bit ridiculous to be honest.

    Nathan- Getting a visa for Russia is a pain, we did it around a year back. Getting the letters weren’t much of an issue besides the error they made on one. The biggest problem I had was getting clear info as to what was needed since the NY office never answered the phone.

    Anon- That is great news!

    Diego- Thanks for the info. It is definitely interesting to hear what it’s like to get a visa to visit the U.S.

    Patrick W- Definitely good to know. We need to get to mainland China, only went to Hong Kong & Macau.

    asar- I’m sure there is a reason for the annoyance if this is the case. 🙂

    No Fly Zone- Which two are you interested in? I’m interested in all of them since I’d love to see as much of the world as possible!

  3. Strange, but only one or two of those countries hold much interest for me, mostly because they are such snots about tourist visas. for the other 6-7 I’ll take a PASS.

  4. No US citizen should ever complain of any visa process being annoying. US visa is the most annoying visa to obtain even as a tourist.

    1. yes, US Visa is hardest in the world for other citizen who need a VISA to come into US, specially for Chinese, Uncle Sam only give us one year VISA, and we have to apply new one again and again every year even if we come to here for same reason. How stupid is it?

    2. Agree. US visa is the hardest to get.
      Pricey. They tend to deny it very often, then you have to reapply after 6 months, and, of course, pay the new fee.

  5. I’ve gotten China visas much close in than one-month many times … Possibly that’s because I can walk-in to a local Chinese consulate office. AFAIK there is no specific one-month in-advance requirement, but when using mail-in they may suggest that much time be allowed.

  6. The hardest visa to get (for the ones who need it) is the american one. Period.

    You gotta travel if you don’t live in a city with a US consulate. You gotta go thru an interview where you’ll even be asked about all your siblings names’, addresses’ and occupation (among many other things). You gotta pay a hefty fee and last but not least the interviewer has to like you because even if you prove everything he/she asks for he/she you will be denied.

  7. India is going visa on arrival. That will make things much easier. So that knocks India and Chile off the list.

  8. Russia is a pain to get. The instructions are so unclear, and when you go to hand in the paperwork they act as though you might not get it anyway. The letter of invitation you have to secure adds another layer of complexity to the whole situation.

    I had to go up to New York from Philadelphia twice (once to drop off and once to pick up), go to two different visa centers (consulate and visa office), and after all that they say, “We’ll see what we can do but it’s no guarantee.”

    And this is AFTER you bought your non-refundable tickets.

    1. I am not sure why this post has not been updated . Russia tourist Visa is easiest to get now. All you need is a confirmed hotel reservation , 2 passport size photographs and visiting card with passport valid for 6 months from return date .

  9. Saudi Arabia is not worth the $500 unless you are visiting family there, working, visiting workers or doing a pilgrimage. Since the Travelers’ Century Club counts country touchdowns, we can just bag it and tag it coming in via KLM and Saudia from Amsterdam to Dubai. You also get Kuwait thrown in as a bonus country when you refuel.

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