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Reciprocity Fee - an interesting angle

Reciprocity Fee - an interesting angle

Old Jan 6, 11, 8:04 am
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Post Reciprocity Fee - an interesting angle

I say this post Im copying below on another BBoard that deals with travel to Argentina.... I thought it was an interesting read...

Oh (edited)... the eternal discussion. I see your point about the US visa fee covering actual costs for an actual service. But bear in mind that the provided service is homeland security, and it benefits US inhabitants, not the tourists who pay for it.

Imagine that the system, instead of the mandatory visa application system, was like this: You are a foreign tourist arriving at an American airport, and you find a very beautiful stand with a very persuading woman asking every tourist: “Good morning Sir. Welcome to America. Would you like to have your background checked for only $ 140? I assure you could not get a better deal!” Let me guess: Your answer would be something similar to: “No thank you. I already know my background and I am pretty sure about my intentions when entering the United States”.

When asked outside the airport, to American citizens: “Sir, would you like us to check the background of incoming visitors?”, the answer would probably be yes. Hence, bring your own conclusions about who wants this service provided, and who should pay for it.

Instead, the US government decided to charge this homeland security cost on incoming tourists, even if they don’t benefit from that at all. So, in reciprocity, the Argentine government decided to charge some of its costs (presumably, the upgrade of migration systems, but it could be any other cost, it doesn’t matter) on American citizens. And such decision is as legitimate as the one made by the US Government.

To sum up, I understand your frustration about not being able to see transparently if something good is being done with the money you pay as a fee. But believe me, even more frustrating is being charged with the costs of a service that I can actually see, or at least imagine, but It´s a mandatory service which I didn’t ask for, I don’t benefit from it, and I don't have the right to vote against it, or its funding sources.
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Old Jan 7, 11, 12:20 pm
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O.K., I'll bite.

The logic doesn´t quite work for me: "...the US government decided to charge this homeland security cost on incoming tourists, even if they don’t benefit from that at all."

The benefit to the tourist is being allowed to visit the U.S.
No one is forcing the tourist to go there. No one is forcing them to buy an airplane ticket, hotel room, rental car, or food, either. If a tourist chooses to visit a place, it is reasonable that they should pay for all that the visit entails.

Cosidering the huge number of illegal aliens already in the U.S., it seems appropriate to try to make some determination about whether a person is likely to overstay their tourist visa prior to allowing them in.

The U.S. is far from the only country doing this, but as the biggest tourist destination, it gets the most attention.

There are plenty of other examples of fees with no apparent immediate benefit. How about airport departure fees? Many times you don't find out about it until you get there, there is no choice in the matter, and it is often to fund future improvements, which you may not benefit from.

Such is the cost of gallivanting about the globe...
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Old Jan 7, 11, 1:21 pm
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Does someone have an estimate of what % of illegal aliens in the US are Mexicans coming across the southern border...?? I once heard that this was over two-thirds, but I would be interested in knowing this from a more "scientific" source.
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Old Jan 8, 11, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
Does someone have an estimate of what % of illegal aliens in the US are Mexicans coming across the southern border...?? I once heard that this was over two-thirds, but I would be interested in knowing this from a more "scientific" source.
I can't site a source, but being a half-time California resident, its in the news a lot. Although the border with Mexico is a source of the majority of illegals, they are not all Mexicans crossing there. All of central America works their way north, then crosses the Mexican border- so there are plenty from Nicaragua, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, etc. But because they cross the border with Mexico, statistics can sometimes appear to say they are all Mexicans.
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Old Jan 8, 11, 12:54 pm
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http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...mXPotRWg&pli=1

Suggests that 54% of illegals are Mexican.
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Old Jan 8, 11, 1:57 pm
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Thanks Gaucho100K for the post. Interesting read. As was ULDB65's reply.

Market forces are in play here: I travel to China, say, and have to pay $100 for a sticker in my passport. What does that get me? Well, I get to go to China, I guess. So that's something. What does China actually do with the money? Dunno. Is $100 too much? Not yet for me, as I have paid it. $200? I'd likely look for other travel options. $300? Japan and Korea and Singapore... here I come!

I recently had to cancel a trip to Brazil over a Visa hiccup. Had that not happened, I and my $3000 in expected travel expenditures would have made it nicely through passport control into Brazil, but only I would have left, thus making quite a few folks in Brazil pretty happy.

Sure, a country can stick it to the US by proving a point with Reciprocity Fees, just as we stick it to travellers with our fees. These fees have consequences in reduced travel and it is up to each nation to decide if the benefits (more cash, better security, warm feelings resulting from giving it back just like you got it) are worth the drawbacks.
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Old Jan 8, 11, 2:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Alumino View Post
Market forces are in play here: I travel to China, say, and have to pay $100 for a sticker in my passport. What does that get me? Well, I get to go to China, I guess. So that's something. What does China actually do with the money? Dunno. Is $100 too much? Not yet for me, as I have paid it. $200? I'd likely look for other travel options. $300? Japan and Korea and Singapore... here I come!
What about when it is conveniently wrapped up in your ticket price v. a separately paid item? No one gets upset with Argentina departure fees anymore even though they about doubled when they became part of the ticket price. And this is paid on every departure (although it doesn't discriminate re: national origin).
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Old Jan 8, 11, 4:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
What about when it is conveniently wrapped up in your ticket price v. a separately paid item? No one gets upset with Argentina departure fees anymore even though they about doubled when they became part of the ticket price. And this is paid on every departure (although it doesn't discriminate re: national origin).
You can't unless you redesign all booking systems to handle the complexity of bookings plus enforcement in immigration. There are multiple moving variables involved in your idea. Leaving EZE is easy because everyone is subject to the departure tax and the cost is uniform.

--J
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Old Jan 8, 11, 8:30 pm
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Does anyone know if the reciprocity fee has begun to be charged at AEP for US citizens arriving from Brasil? Aerolineas Argentinas reservations agents say it is not but the Argentinian consulate website seems to imply it is...

Last edited by asterix881; Jan 8, 11 at 8:35 pm Reason: missed word
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Old Jan 8, 11, 8:41 pm
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Originally Posted by asterix881 View Post
Does anyone know if the reciprocity fee has begun to be charged at AEP for US citizens arriving from Brasil? Aerolineas Argentinas reservations agents say it is not but the Argentinian consulate website seems to imply it is...
ThePointsGuy was apparently charged there this week: http://twitter.com/thepointsguy/stat...44301982277632.
Originally Posted by jcf27 View Post
Leaving EZE is easy because everyone is subject to the departure tax and the cost is uniform.
But not all departure taxes are. Many countries have lower fees for locals.
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Old Jan 8, 11, 10:35 pm
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post

But not all departure taxes are. Many countries have lower fees for locals.
What countries are those and how do they do it? What is their definition of local? I doubt the departure tax is embedded in the ticket.

--J
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Old Jan 8, 11, 10:45 pm
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Originally Posted by jcf27 View Post
You can't unless you redesign all booking systems to handle the complexity of bookings plus enforcement in immigration. There are multiple moving variables involved in your idea. Leaving EZE is easy because everyone is subject to the departure tax and the cost is uniform.

--J
I understand that. But people don't complain about it anymore, even though it went way up in price. When it was much lower, but a separate item, people complained. Now that it is more, without "inconvenience" or being obvious, it isn't an issue.
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Old Jan 9, 11, 6:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Eastbay1K View Post
What about when it is conveniently wrapped up in your ticket price v. a separately paid item? No one gets upset with Argentina departure fees anymore even though they about doubled when they became part of the ticket price. And this is paid on every departure (although it doesn't discriminate re: national origin).
Can only speak for myself, but if overall ticket price goes up $300 versus a $300 fee being added... same thing. When I plan "fun" trips, it is the total cost of the trip that matters.

Just wondering: people might not get upset about Argentina departure fees anymore, but perhaps some people decide not to go to Argentina because the tickets now cost too much.
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Old Jan 9, 11, 8:26 pm
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Originally Posted by Alumino View Post

Just wondering: people might not get upset about Argentina departure fees anymore, but perhaps some people decide not to go to Argentina because the tickets now cost too much.
What about the poor residents who have to regularly pay them instead of the occasional visitor.
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