The year I spent $1000 in consular fees was a special one in many ways. Yes, the costs were high because I traveled a lot to incredible places but it also left me reminded of the fact that in most cases I was being charged the equivalent (or, in some cases less) of what the USA would charge a visitor from that country. And all I had to do was pay the cash; a foreign visitor coming to the USA would have to pay and then pass an interview at a consulate or embassy. Fail at the interview and you’re out the money with no recourse, other than to try (and pay) again later.
A smidgen of good news on this front, however: Chile is now part of the US Visa Waiver Program which means its citizens do not require a visa (nor the in-person interview and fees associated with it) to visit the USA. And this also means that US citizens are no longer charged a reciprocity fee upon arrival in Chile. From the Santiago airport website:
I like that a lot.
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