If my passport allows me to enter a country visa-free, does that guarantee me that the entrance is free of charge or is there any exception?

I know that for the case of visas on arrival (= when travellers must obtain a visa in order to enter the destination country, but it can be obtained upon arrival), sometime one has to pay a fee, e.g. South Korean citizens have to pay 100 USD for visas on arrival when entering Bolivia (unless they have obtained the visa prior to reaching the Bolivian border, in which case the visa is free of charge), but I wonder for the case of visa-free entrances.

  • 8
    I take "visa-free" to mean "without visa," not "without payment." Some countries charge for a visa on arrival, others do not. Jan 12, 2020 at 0:22
  • 9
    The question is still confused. Visa-free means no visa, but you may still have to pay to enter (eg USD 10 "tourist card" in Dominican republic).
    – Tomas By
    Jan 12, 2020 at 0:48
  • 6
    @TomasBy thanks, what is confused in the question? Your comment seems to be an answer and doesn't seem to point to any confusion. Jan 12, 2020 at 2:23
  • 2
    @TomasBy from the question details it is obviously I meant free of charge, since my counterexample is a 100 USD fee, but I've replaced it with "free of charge" to make it even more obvious. As for your statement "Visa free does not mean no cost", ok that's fine, that's what the question is asking. You're welcome to expand it into an answer. Jan 12, 2020 at 5:46
  • 2
    I can't tell if this is a good question or not. There's an easy answer--no and there's the let's have a bunch of answers about different places to explain the short answer. I'm leaning to vote-to-close as too broad.
    – mkennedy
    Jan 13, 2020 at 0:19

6 Answers 6


No. An example of charging for visa-free entry is the Tourist Card that visitors to Mexico are required to get under certain conditions. The fee is the equivalent of around $25 USD, so fairly substantial.

You may have to pay even if you walk across the border so it’s clearly not a facilities tax.

  • 10
    I wouldn't call $25 "substantial", especially in the most of the contexts when you would actually have to pay it (flying into the country or staying in the free zone for more than 3 days).
    – chepner
    Jan 13, 2020 at 15:05
  • 5
    I can't imagine anybody who thinks USD$25 is "substantial" does a lot of international travel. Is there are a digit missing?
    – T.J.L.
    Jan 13, 2020 at 15:06
  • 2
    @T.J.L. To be fair it all depends on where you go and how you travel. Given a lot of budget travel styles $25 is around a day's worth of budget. For me travelling to the other side of the world all inclusive (tickets, flights, visas, food, everything) worked out to $33 per day last vacation... which I think would make the the description of $25 as 'fairly substantial' not out of place at all. Compare that with a car trip (SA, TX to Monterrey) to mexico for 4 days (total cost of around $70 per person lets say ($22 for the accommodation, $26 fuel, $22 food)) and the $25 is even more substantial. Jan 13, 2020 at 15:40
  • 4
    At current exchange rates it's about USD 28, which is ~CAD 36.50, so it adds more than 10% to the cost of a return flight from Toronto to Mexico City or Oaxaca. Or about the cost of two nights accommodation in a private room in Guatemala. The side trip to Vietnam is the only visa fee I paid last year (out of 10 or so foreign countries visited) and that cost ... $25 USD. The most I've paid for a single entry tourist or business visa is $70-$100 USD. Yeah, it doesn't compare to business travel costs in NYC or Hong Kong but it's not inconsequential in my mind, especially for leisure side trips. Jan 13, 2020 at 16:03
  • 1
    @T.J.L. If you live half a mile from an international border, you can do a lot of international travel on foot, and may well regard $25 as a substantial sum.
    – Mike Scott
    Jan 13, 2020 at 22:03

One of the most well-known exceptions to this is the US, which charges a $6 fee to travelers who enter the US via land (who are not US citizens, US permanent residents/immigrants or Canadian citizens) even if their country is in the Visa Waiver Program, and in fact even if they have a nonimmigrant visa. It's possible to pay this online up to seven days in advance of arriving at the border, to speed up the crossing.

  • 23
    Oh that $6 fee would infuriate me every time I crossed the border and forgot it. "Six dollars please. No we don't take Canadian money. No we don't take credit cards or debit cards. No there isn't a cash machine or exchange bureau near here. The nearest business is the liquor store five minutes that way. Have a nice day." Jan 12, 2020 at 3:07
  • 2
    Is this a recent change? I am a UK citizen and have driven several times, (including by car ferry) between Seattle and Vancouver with my UK family and never incurred any charge. Jan 12, 2020 at 15:10
  • 6
    @VinceO'Sullivan I don't know why you wouldn't have been charged as I don't know your immigration details. But the big one that comes to mind is automatic revalidation; if you were already in the US and went over to Canada for a short visit, and were readmitted under your previous admission, you wouldn't be charged the $6 again. Jan 12, 2020 at 18:29
  • 1
    @MichaelHampton Yes, that would explain it. All such cross-border trips originated from the US. Jan 12, 2020 at 22:29
  • @DJClayworth Are you then denied entry?
    – gerrit
    Jan 13, 2020 at 9:03


Most European passport holders do not require a visa for Cabo Verde. However, paying an 'airport security fee', either before going, or on arrival, is a requirement.

(The wording on this page suggests, however, that if you arrive by sea, you do not have to pay this fee.)

  • 8
    Virtually everywhere charges airport/security fees, they're usually just hidden in the price of your plane ticket. Jan 11, 2020 at 23:24
  • 3
    When you buy a ticket to fly to Cabo verde, you pay an airport tax as part of the ticket. Then, you have to pay this extra fee which was introduced at the start of last year when they abolished visa requirements for European visitors. This is not your standard airport tax.
    – MastaBaba
    Jan 12, 2020 at 10:35

Some examples that I can think of in addition to those already presented:

The Argentina Reciprocity Fee that had to been paid by US and Canadian tourists: https://onemileatatime.com/argentina-reciprocity-fee-us-citizens/

Cuba requires as tourist card, which costs around ~$50 for US citizens and ~25 for everyone else: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Cuba#Tourist_card_required

Technically, visa-free entry to the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP, also falsely referred to as ESTA) as well as the corresponding Canadian program (where the authorization is called eTA) also apply to your question.

  • 1
    The Argentinean reciprocity fee was also for UK citizens, not just US + Canada. It was suspended in 2016 for Americans, but Canadians and UK citizens still had to continue paying then. Not sure when it was done away with altogether. Jan 12, 2020 at 20:17

You have to pay in Indonesia when you enter or leave the country. There is an exception for citizens of certain nearby countries, and the biggest ports and airports.

This fee has nothing to do with visas.


USA to Mexico was free for less than seven days. But if you tell them you plan to stay longer, they ask for a fee when you leave.

  • 1
    I told the guy six days, didn’t notice he wrote 180. Leaving, the guy demanded a significant fee because the card said 180. Not even pointing out the date of entry changed his mind. I was supposed to go to another window, pay, and come back with a receipt. Instead, I got back in the van and returned to USA.
    – WGroleau
    Jan 13, 2020 at 3:30
  • 1
    That sounds like the type of 'fee' that would go straight into his pocket...
    – reirab
    Jan 13, 2020 at 9:05
  • 2
    @reirab Less likely as WGroleau was asked to go to a different window (so at least two conspirators), and come back with a receipt (so paperwork). Not impossible of course, but Jan 13, 2020 at 10:42
  • 1
    @WGroleau I would normally take the "180" as being how long you're allowed to remain in the country, not how long you actually intend to. At least that's the way it's worked in nearly every country I've ever visited. I don't think I've been to one that wrote anything about my stated intended departure date on the arrival stamp, especially in a visa-free or visa-on-arrival country. Granted, I haven't been to Mexico.
    – reirab
    Jan 13, 2020 at 16:10
  • 1
    In several previous visits, they wrote what we said—six days, for which there is no fee. I don’t know whether it should be called a visa, but it’s a thing every non-citizen is supposed to have if asked.
    – WGroleau
    Jan 13, 2020 at 17:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .