If you are a citizen of the United States of America and you did not visit Chile primarily because of the cost of $160.00 for a visa per person simply to enter the country, you are now in luck if you want to visit Chile in the future:
As of February 26, 2014, you are now exempt from paying the visa reciprocity fee of $160.00.
Americans are typically charged reciprocity fees by countries whose citizens are charged visa fees to enter the United States. Furthermore, when the United States increased its fee for a non-petition-based non-immigrant visa to $160.00 on April 13, 2012, countries such as Chile, Argentina and Brazil which impose reciprocity visa fees to American citizens increased theirs accordingly to match…
…so when Chile was designated as a member of the Visa Waiver Program of the United States effective as of February 28, 2014, Chile reciprocated accordingly — which is good news for you if you are an American citizen…
…and if you are an American citizen who is a member of a family of four — all of whom want to visit Chile — the waiver of the visa fee represents a significant savings of $640.00. That amount is not exactly loose change.
Although citizens of Chile will no longer be required to pay a visa fee of $160.00 to enter the United States as of May 1, 2014, an Electronic System for Travel Authorization fee of $14.00 is still required to be paid.
If you are a citizen of Albania, Australia, Canada or Mexican, you are still required to pay the visa reciprocity fee for entering Chile.
With the inclusion of Chile, 38 countries are now members of the Visa Waiver Program of the United States, which allows nationals of designated member participants to travel to the United States for tourism or business — B visa category — purposes for up to a maximum of 90 days without obtaining a visa.
I personally would like to see more countries adopt visa waiver programs. I have no data to support this — but I believe that countries would experience a greater financial benefit from tourist dollars than from imposing a visa fee which can be perceived as unfriendly and offers no benefit to the traveler.
What are your thoughts? If you have not already, will you consider visiting Chile in the future if you are an American citizen who now does not need to pay a visa reciprocal fee of $160.00?