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Reciprocity Considerations: Fees and Validity Period

In addition to the standard machine readable visa (MRV) fee, there may be additional visa fees payable under the "reciprocity" schedule. The schedule essentially is a collection of bilateral rules that govern the validity period of visas, number of permissible entries, and fees charged for them. The U.S. charges nationals of other countries whatever fees their countries charge U.S. nationals for the same type of visa. It also, in reciprocal fashion, limits nationals of certain countries to visas of a duration as short as three months, and to visas valid for single entries only. In some cases, the reciprocity schedule provides a range of fees, depending on the length of visa and number of entries desired. The Visa Office of the Department of State (VO) reciprocity tables, supply current information on all reciprocity issues.

The greatest challenge for the peripatetic artist can be the reciprocity schedule limitation on the validity period of the visa and the number of entries. People's Republic of China nationals, for instance, can only obtain O and P visas valid for three months at a time, and a single entry, while Brazilian artists can only obtain O and P visas valid for three months, but with multiple entries. Imagine the burden this imposes on an artist who travels frequently. To somewhat ameliorate this burden, the State Department's regulations in the Foreign Affairs Manual contain a provision, cited withinĀ 9 FAM 403.9-4(D), that enables consular officers, in their discretion, to issue a two-entry visa to an alien otherwise entitled to a single-entry visa, upon payment of a double reciprocity fee (the MRV fee should remain at the single rate). However, the alien must desire to make more than one entry during the "course of a single journey... on each occasion, ...seeking admission for the same principal purpose...."