Americans enjoy a powerful passport and plenty of benefits that make travel easy, but that doesn’t mean entry to every country comes cheap. Tourist visas to some countries add a relatively hefty financial burden to the trip-planning and budgeting processes for hopeful visitors. Travel is always worth the expense, but make sure to leave some…
Americans enjoy apowerfulpassportand plenty of benefits that make travel easy, but that doesn’t meanentry to every countrycomes cheap. Tourist visas to some countries add a relatively hefty financial burden to the trip-planning and budgeting processes for hopeful visitors.
Travel is always worth the expense, but make sure to leave some extra room in your budget if you’re an American planning to visit these countries. And keep in mind that these prices aren’t the same for all nationalities; visa issuances involve a decent bit of politics and delicate foreign relations, so what costs an American an arm and a leg may be priced lower for someone from a different country.
1. Russia: $270+
Visiting the iconicRed Squareor skinny dipping in Lake Baikal is no easy undertaking. A tourist visa toRussiais among themost difficult travel visas for Americans to obtain, and its high price only makes it more challenging to acquire. TheConsular Division of the Embassyreserves the right to request from applicants things like a statement from the employer regarding the preceding year’s wages, medical insurance, and even a certificate on the makeup of the applicant’s family.
What makes the price so high is the fact that, according to theRussian Embassy, “US citizens shall as a rule be issued multiple-entry business, private, humanitarian, and tourist visas that are valid for three years (36 months) from the date of issue of the visa” — and while single-entry visas start at just $90, multiple-entry visas start at $270 (and go up to $540 if you require a quick turnaround time).
2. The Democratic Republic of Congo: $200
If your bucket list activities include observing wild mountain gorillas in the historic Virunga National Park or trekking Mount Sabyinyo, a dormant volcano, it’s going to cost you. A tourist visa to theDemocratic Republic of the Congocosts $200 for Americans. Visa applications must be submitted several weeks prior to departure as “no Congolese visa will be issued at any port of entry,” according to theEmbassy of the Republic of Congo. However, the tourist visa grants Americans access for 180 days and allows multiple entries, so it makes for a good excuse to explore other parts of Africa on the same trip.
3. Afghanistan: $195
Make sure to set aside an extra $195 if you hope to check out the Buddhas of Bamiyan, the Gardens of Babur, or the awe-inspiring Blue Mosque inAfghanistan: With a $160 visa fee and $35 processing fee,tourist visasfor Americans don’t come cheap. Moreover, your signed and notarized visa application plus all necessary documents must be delivered to the Afghan Consulate inNew York City, Beverly Hills, or Washington, DC. Once approved, the visa does grant access for a 30-day stay, so make sure to set aside ample time for the trip.
4. Nigeria: $180
The striking landscape and natural wonders ofNigeriaare a siren’s call to many an adventurous traveler, but be aware of the steep price of a tourist visa as you plan your visit. While trying to see the face in Zuma Rock or wandering the enchanting sacred forest of Osun-Osogbo is more than worth it, be aware of the semi-challenging visa acquisition process before you depart.
Requirements for obtaining atourist visa for Nigeriainclude submitting documents like a letter of invitation from a host who accepts full responsibility for you (plus the data page of your host’s passport) and evidence of funds to cover your stay in Nigeria — plus, the $180 fee is non-refundable (as are most visa application fees).
5. Bangladesh: $160
The bustling and historically significant country ofBangladeshappeals to a variety of curious travelers, not least for attractions like the 17th-century Lalbagh Fort or the paradisiacal St. Martin’s Island. However, the hefty $160 visa fee must be factored into your budget, and keep in mind that Bangladesh does not allow online applications from all countries. Even if you complete the process online, according to theDepartment of Immigration & Passports, you’ll need to print your application and pay a visit to the nearest visa office or Bangladesh Mission to file your paperwork.
6. Sierra Leone: $160
If you dream of visiting the remote Banana Islands or the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, make sure to include the $160 visa fee as you tally up the total cost of your trip. And don’t procrastinate: If you want to receive your visa the same day, that’ll be an extra $50 in expediting fees.
According to theEmbassy of Sierra Leone, one of the requirements for anyone wishing to travel to the country is a copy of their itinerary or a round-trip ticket — and “In some instances, the consular office will invite applicants for [an] interview.” In addition, your paperwork must be mailed via USPS Priority Express, and visa payments are only accepted in the form of a money order or cashiers check (no cash or personal checks accepted).
7. Uzbekistan: $160
Highlights like Registan and Gur-e-Amir make the country ofUzbekistan a bucket-list destinationfor many travelers — especially sinceCentral Asia is officially trending— but getting there isn’t necessarily cheap. Still, theMinistry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistanallows American citizens to use a simplified online procedure for acquiring their visas and even provides visa-free transit entry for stays up to five days. Otherwise, visa processing takes up to 10 working days and foreigners must be invited by an organization, company, or citizen in Uzbekistan.
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