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China-Taiwan diplomatic competition is the playground of childish pettiness. And the cause of perhaps the most expensive tourist visa fee in the world.
The countries with formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan (ROC) are mostly in Central America and the Pacific. There is fierce rivalry between the PRC and ROC and these mostly small states are major beneficiaries. Think of children of divorced parents.
The Rapid Traveler is off to Belize and Guatemala for a three-day weekend. Belize is currently in the ROC camp. Mrs. Rapid Traveler, whose delicate hand has appeared in an earlier post, will not be joining as a China-based reader (and contributor to posts on Beijing, Shanghai, and these humorous posts on his adopted home, Atlanta, part 1 and part 2) pointed out that PRC nationals pay a US$2,000 visa fee. The Rapid Traveler was incredulous, but he was duly shown the travails of this legendary Chinese traveler, Quail Nest (in Mandarin, but give Google Translate a whirl to get the gist).
Application fee (non refundable) US$100, Visa Fee US $2000, repatriation Fee US$4,000.00, no charges for holders of diplomatic & official passport (SI# 42 of 2005)
Quail Nest clarifies that the repatriation fee is refundable upon exit. A bargain!
Has anyone encountered an even more exorbitant tourist visa fee? Some countries like the UK have crazy fees for other types of visas, but for a tourist visa this is preposterous. The Rapid Traveler has paid plenty of $100-$150 fees and Russia got more from him to have his passport returned in the same month, but has never forked out more than $200.