The Five Most Expensive Visa Fees Americans Face

Brazil, Algeria, and the Republic of Congo each require high fees up front.

Your passport is more than just a travel document - it is a key that unlocks access to many countries around the world with ease.
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  • 01 of 06

    Which Countries Cost Americans the Most for a Visa?

    Chinese visa
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    One of the freedoms many Americans take for granted is the ability to travel around the world. Around the globe, the American passport is held in high consideration, as it unlocks access to over 100 nations. While traveling to many destinations is as simple as holding a valid passport and heading to the airport, other nations require passport holders to be pre-approved before their visit through getting a visa from the local embassy.

    Obtaining many 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. However, 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 sum of money, a carefully planned itinerary, and patience to walk through the entire process.

    Before planning a trip to these five destinations, be sure to...MORE have everything in order when showing up at customs. The following are the most expensive visas an American can obtain. 

  • 02 of 06

    Brazil: $160 Visa for Americans

    Aerial View Of Rio De Janeiro
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    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. Despite the costs and requirements for getting a Brazilian visa, over 650,000 Americans visited the South American country in 2014, making them the second biggest group of tourists to visit in the world.

    However, 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 the 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. In addition, travelers must pay the $160...MORE visa fee, payable by U.S. Postal Service money order.

    It is important for those applying for a visa to make sure their application is completely filled out with all the requested documentation. The $160 visa fee is not refundable – meaning denied visas will require another application fee. 

  • 03 of 06

    Algeria: $160 Visa for Americans

    People shop and walk through historic Downtown Algeirs, in Algeria. (Photo by Monique Jaques/Corbis via Getty Images)
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    Although there is nothing but a short ferry ride between Spain and Algeria, how they greet visitors are two different experiences. While Spain is open to Americans with an open passport and a general knowledge of Spanish, Algeria is only open to a small amount of countries without a visa. Everyone else must get a visa ahead of arrival.

    Receiving their independence in 1962 after colonization from France, 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, applicants must send in a self-addressed certified priority envelope with their application, with both the sender and receiver having the same name and address. The application must be filled out online and printed out, with...MORE two copies signed and submitted. The 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 application even more expensive for would-be adventurers.

  • 04 of 06

    Republic of Congo: $200 Visa for Americans

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    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 offers one of the most restrictive price tags to enter the country.

    As part of the trip planning process to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo, travelers must apply for a visa at least three months ahead of their planned trip. To apply, travelers must pay the $200 application fee by money order, and provide a copy of their airline ticket, along with a letter of invitation or a verified hotel reservation. Without these critical items, travelers could be denied a visa and out $200.

    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 certification of the Yellow Fever vaccine, and take additional precautions as well. The...MORE official embassy recommends travelers begin an anti-malaria program prior to their arrival, along with additional health considerations.  

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Nigeria: $230 Visa for Americans

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    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.

    Travelers wishing to travel to Nigeria can fill out and submit their applications online, as well as pay with a confirmed money order. However, the fees add up throughout the process. 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. Finally, for those who want their applications 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...MORE immigration responsibility for the visitor. Finally, the traveler must also submit proof of finances, in order to prove they will be able to support themselves during their time in the country. 

  • 06 of 06

    Russia: Up to $540 Visa for Americans

    Known as the "city of three revolutions," St. Petersburg is also known as one of the most unfriendly destinations in the world.
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    Finally, one of the most restricted countries to western travelers also comes with the highest price to enter, in both cash and requirements. Those traveling to Russia potentially face the most expensive visa available to American travelers, especially for those who wish to visit the nation more than once during the validity of their documents.

    While those who are in no hurry to receive their visa can pay $90 in visa fees to Russia for a single-entry visa, a double-entry visa can cost $144 for processing in up to 20 days, or $288 to process in three days. For those who need a multiple-entry visa, $270 will get a visa processed in up to 20 days, while $540 can get a visa processed in as little as three days. This figure does not include the price to send and receive passports to the embassy. The Russian Embassy recommends all travelers apply for the three-year, multiple-entry visa.

    In order to apply for a tourist visa, travelers must have six months of validity on their passport before...MORE applying, and must submit proof of invitation from a tour operator registered with the Federal Tourism Administration. If the passport application were not enough, those who are flagged by the system could face additional questioning from Russian officials, which could include 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.