Which Countries Cost Americans the Most for a Visa?
One of the freedoms we take for granted is the ability to travel around the world. The American passport is held in high consideration because it unlocks access to over 100 nations.
While traveling to many destinations is as simple as having a valid passport and heading to the airport, other nations require passport holders to be pre-approved before their visit. For some destinations getting a visa from the local embassy isn't a consideration - it's a requirement..
Obtaining most visas are a relatively easy process, and can often be obtained after landing at the airport. Visa arrival fees often cost less than $20, and can be paid in local currency to a customs official. But there are some destinations that require much more than an flight and proof of travel insurance. To access some of the world’s most extreme destinations, travelers need to show up with a carefully planned itinerary, prepared answers to all the right questions and the patience to walk through the entire process.
Before planning a trip to these five destinations, be sure to have everything in order when showing up at the customs intake line.
Brazil: $160 Visa for Americans
Despite hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (which saw a temporary waiver on visa requirements by Brazilian authorities), Brazil remains one of the most difficult nations to get into for American travelers. But the difficulties are manageable, as Brazil is one of the most popular destinations in the world.
Prior to planning to see the Cristo Redentor statue or taking part in Carnival, Americans must receive a visa prior to arrival. Applications for a Brazilian visa must be sent to your nearest embassy in the United States. There are ten consular offices in the United States, each serving a different part of the country.
In addition to a filled out application, those who wish for a Brazilian visa must also have a passport valid for the duration of their trip, and one blank page in the passport book. The $160 visa fee is payable by U.S. Postal Service money order.
It is important to make sure your visa application is completely filled out with all the requested documentation. The $160 visa fee is not refundable – meaning denied visas will require more time and another application fee.
Algeria: $160 Visa for Americans
While Algeria is easily accessible from Spain, getting into the country is much more difficult. Algeria is only open to a small amount of countries without a visa, and America isn't on that list. If you want to take a detour to Algeria, you'll need a visa in advance..
Algeria has very strict passport requirements for western travelers. While most travelers will apply to the Algerian Consulate General in New York, those in six select states (North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.) must apply to the Algerian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
In order to receive an Algerian visa, you must send in a self-addressed certified priority envelope with your application. Both envelopes must have the same address The application must be filled out online and printed out, with two copies signed and submitted.
Your application must also include two passport-style photos, and a copy of an earnings statement. Passports must have six months of validity, and one blank page.
As with other passport applications, the $160 fee (or $190 for business and cultural tourists) must be paid by money order. Additionally, the application fee is not refundable, making an erroneous or incomplete even more expensive.
Republic of Congo: $200 Visa for Americans
Not to be confused with the Democratic Republic of Congo or the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire) is renowned for their lush rainforests and five-star resorts. However, the country also comes with a restrictive price tag.
As part of the trip planning process to visit the Republic of Congo, you must apply for a visa at least three months ahead of your planned trip. Application requirements include the $200 application fee by money order, a copy of your airline ticket, and a letter of invitation or a verified hotel reservation. Without these, your application could be denied, and the $200 fee is not refundable.
In addition to all of the application pre-requisites, travelers who wish to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo are advised that they should be up-to-date on their required vaccines, including the Yellow Fever vaccine. The lembassy recommends travelers begin an anti-malaria program prior to their arrival.
Nigeria: $230 Visa for Americans
Located along the Gulf of Guinea on Africa’s west coast, the business capital of Nigeria offers one of the easiest visa requirements of all African nations. However, convenience can come at a price. In the case of Nigeria, that price is along the tune of $230.
If you want to visit Nigeria, you can submit your application online and pay with a confirmed money order. But prepare to pay, because the fees add up as you move through the application. The fee for a two-year tourist visa to Nigeria is $180, followed by a $20 fee from their payment partner, and a $30 processing fee from the embassy. If you need your visa expedited expedited, an additional $85 fee will apply, bringing the grand total to $315.
Even though the application can be managed and paid for online, this does not exempt travelers from certain pre-requisite activities. In addition to having a confirmed airline ticket and hotel reservations, travelers to Nigeria must also have a letter from a host accepting immigration responsibility for the visitor. Finally, you must also submit proof of finances, in order to prove they will be able to support themselves during their time in the country.
Russia: Up to $540 Visa for Americans
One of the most restricted countries to western travelers also comes with the highest price to enter. Those traveling to Russia potentially face the most expensive visa available to American travelers, especially if you plan on visiting more than once under the same visa.
If you are in no hurry to receive their visa, the standard fee for a single-entry visa is $90. A double-entry visa can cost $144 for processing in up to 20 days, or $288 to process in three days.
But if you need a multiple-entry visa, plan to spend $270 and wait up to 20 days to receive your visa. If you need it faster, you can get it as little as three days for $540! These numbers don't account for the postage fees. To make matters worse, the Russian Embassy recommends all travelers apply for the three-year, multiple-entry visa.
In order to apply for a tourist visa, you will need have six months of validity on your passport before applying, and must submit proof of invitation from a tour operator registered with the Federal Tourism Administration. If your passport is flagged for any reason, you could face additional questioning from Russian officials, including a formal entry interview and requests for bank statements, employment confirmation, proof of travel insurance, and a certified document outlining the traveler’s family.
Making the Most of International Travels
Before seeing the world, every traveler should check the entry requirements of their future destination, as visa requirements can change overnight. In addition, all travelers should be prepared to pay ahead of time, as many counties that require visas for future travels often costs a healthy sum of both time and money.