Why Are Visas so Expensive for UK / US Citizens?

No Borders No Flags No Nations No Patriots

If you’re a British or American passport holder, you probably (and justifiably) feel somewhat aggrieved by the extortionate cost of visas when you visit other countries. I certainly do.

For example, a Chinese tourist visa costs £30 if you’re British, £90 if you’re American, and £20 if you’re pretty much from anywhere else in the world. The cheapest Indian tourist visa available costs between £12.20 and £42.20 depending upon where you’re from, unless of course you happen to be British or American. Americans can expect to pay £57.20 while UK nationals have to fork out a much bigger £92.20.

Why are visas so expensive for UK and American passport holders?

Presumably it is something to do with reciprocal arrangements. Something along the lines of ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch your’s. Unfortunately both the US (particularly) and the UK have strict, often expensive immigration laws. An Indian, for example, can expect to pay around £80 for a tourist visa to the UK and will have to jump through hoops to obtain it. It took me a while to even find that information among the wealth of hoops on the UK visa page. To me, this just isn’t fair.

In 2001, there were 60,711 Polish-born individuals living in the UK. After the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, there are now 579,000 Polish-born individuals living in the UK. This number increases to 850,000 if you consider ethnic Poles who hold British passports. I think this is brilliant. This represents free movement and an ability not only to travel where you want, but also to live where you want. As we strive for freedom in the world, it can only be achieved when we take down our borders and allow free movement across the world. I like to travel, so I am biased. I do not like to hand over much of the little money I carry each time I cross into a new country.

I am not alone in my desire to explore the world. I recently talked of why Americans don’t travel abroad, but this is changing. In the future, I hope for it to be easier for everyone.

No BordersCould the world work without borders?

One day, yes, I believe so. Or I hope that it will. The EU is the perfect example of free movement. There are many financial problems, but in general, cultures are integrating with one another. There are countries that will take longer than others to open, but as time progress, in general, we are becoming more open to one another. Could you ever imagine the US border being opened to Mexicans?

Ronald Reagan once said, “A nation without borders is not a nation.”

I feel that this view is outdated. Our birthright should not entitle us to rights over others. In the meantime, I guess that I’ll have to put up with my expensive visa fees and just have to get on with what I do. Why? I really don’t know.

Migration of humans has occurred since the beginning of our species. We can only fight it for so long.


  • Well it’s £600 for a visa to visit the UK and at least an additional £6,000 in your bank account. UK and USA passport holders have it the easiest. A group of us have petitioned our government to charge the same amount of money the UK does for it’s nationals trying to come to our country. It is catching ground because our country doesn’t rely heavily on tourism

  • Mmmm, I find it extremely expensive to get a visa to live in the UK. The irony is that my great-great grandfather was British…

  • I’m going to India for a 10 day fully escorted holiday. The visa has cost £102.40. The holiday is costing £1200. I can’t believe the high cost of the visa. Apparently if you hold a British passport you are not able to get a visa on arrival. Which I can only asume is cheaper. Needless to say this will be my one and only visit to India.

  • India now charges the same as Uk for a tourist visa.
    However, an Indian tourist visa to the Uk has access to some of the best medical care in the world for free. A police system that works and a non corrupt judicial system. You can eat at restaurants without having to worry about parasites, and the tap water is drinkable.

    It is common for Indian hospitals to have blood on the floor, a police and judicial system based on bribery. I have been threatened with assault by Indian police, a US citizen was assaulted and told to be quiet about it.

    Western female tourists have to be extra careful of Indian men, all tourists face risk of disease and parasites.

    So, it stands to reason that a tourist visa for Indian visitors to the UK should cost more, as it does for the Indian tourist to visit all countries in the west.

    I’ll also add that there are thousands of Indians who have been granted residence in the UK, together with all the benefits of living in he UK, the NHS, free housing.

    I’d urge British tourists to take their hard earned money to a safer and friendlier country. Thai Land for example.

    • I understand why it might vary in regard to what you receive for your money, such as health care / water / police, but my quibbles are with the fact that different nationalities are charged different prices when they get exactly the same benefits or lack thereof. While the EU has many problems, I am a great supported of the free movement that it promotes and advocate that this free movement should be extended across the world. One world, no borders. Could it work? I believe yes, but not until acceptance across the world has allowed us to do this. It will not happen in my lifetime, but I have hope for the future. In the meantime, I feel that it would be fairer for everyone to be treated in a similar way, regardless of our nationalities because that is something that we have no control over.

  • I am a british citizen but live in Spain. The Indian Embassy in Madrid want to charge me 190 euros for a 6 month tourist visa for India!!! Is this normal?

    Thank you

  • Hi Jamie, I totally agree. I don’t think where you were born should define where you are allowed to go in the world. One of the main problems in the UK is all the scare-mongering that goes on in the media (saying that the UK lets in too many people), then the public who will believe what they read and carry on the complaints. In a perfect world there would be no problems moving through different countries, no costs, no hoops to jump through, etc. Oh well, we can only hope…

    • I very much like that perfect world that you propose. I grew up in a very rural part of the country and saw first hand how opposed people are to integration from other cultures / nations. The media is responsible for many problems but with the spread of the internet, we are gaining freedom of information and getting a better of view of the world. It will take a long time, but things are changing and in the meantime, like you, I’ll keep hoping.

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