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China’s American Tax

March 12th, 2009

If you’re Japanese and you want to visit China for 15 days or less, you don’t need a visa. For longer trips, the Chinese embassy charges you ¥3,000 ($30). If you’re a non-American other than Japanese, for any length of stay, the embassy charges you ¥4,000. If you’re an American: the visa will cost you a whopping ¥15,000, or $153. I found this out to my complete shock when I picked up my visa just an hour ago.

In fact, there is a different fee for non-Americans for single-entry, multiple-entry, and so forth–but Americans pay the top fee no matter what the visa type.

I knew that Sino-American relations were not at their best, but what a way to sock it to Americans! A hundred and fifty bucks for a lousy tourist visa? When I traveled to China five years ago, I am pretty sure that it was ¥6,000, maybe even less. So, this is recent. (Looking it up, it appears to have taken effect in 2007.)

The freakin’ 3-star hotel Sachi and I booked for 2 people didn’t cost that much for a 5-day, 6-night stay–I think the bill came out just short of ¥15,000.

Is there something specific I am being punished for? Or is this general anti-Americanism?

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  1. Troy
    March 12th, 2009 at 12:34 | #1

    Generally immigration situations are symmetric. Looking at a US consulate site I see that the US charges Chinese $100 for visa application:

    1. How much does it cost to apply for a visa and where can I pay the fee?
    A: The visa processing fee is US$100 (RMB 780)

    Being an old Japan hand you’re aware of the defacto Y150 per dollar exchange rate . . .

  2. Stuart
    March 13th, 2009 at 03:13 | #2

    The base US visa fee is not citizenship specific. It’s $131 across the board. There aren’t any extra fees for Chinese citizens with the exception of the L-1 (work) and L-2 (child and spouse of worker) visa.

  3. Luis
    March 13th, 2009 at 18:04 | #3

    Furthermore, China does not charge any extra to people of other nationalities despite many of those countries charging similar amounts for tourist visas to their own countries. Americans in particular are singled out here.

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