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Saturday, September 1, 2012

For Obama and Romney, a To-Do List for Travelers -

No. 4 — Bilateral Visa Initiatives.
The candidates may know Brazil, Russia, India and China as the BRIC countries, fast-developing economies with promising markets. Travelers know them as destinations that charge United States citizens more than others for the required tourist visa. (Other countries, like Bolivia and Tanzania, do too.)

These countries defend the differential by noting the high prices we charge their citizens to visit the United States; they call their policy “reciprocity,” the diplomatic term for revenge.

It’s not an altogether bad argument. The presidential candidates should propose to reduce the cost of an American travel visa, a move that would be an overall winner: those countries would end their reciprocity pricing, and we’d get an increased flow of free-spending foreigners to stimulate our economy.

The counterargument, I imagine, is that the State Department fees go to application-screening costs necessary to weed out those who might overstay their visas and become illegal immigrants.

But since this is an American presidential campaign, reasonable objections raised by our opponents are irrelevant. So forget I mentioned it.

The U.S. does not charge anything for a B-2 tourist visa unless the other country charges U.S. citizens -

Posted via email from iPT Perpetual Traveler

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