For several years, traveling to the deep southern reaches of South America for US citizens has meant a hefty visa reciprocity fee. Chili, Argentina, and Brazil charge US citizens $160 for a Visa and have for many years. Each time the US raised the price for visa for foreign nations, Chile, Argentina & Brazil has matched the increase. The reasoning, if the US is going to charge our citizens, we are going to charge them an equal fee. In my opinion this is completely fair.
Yet, today theflightdeal.com announced that Chile ended the Visa reciprocity fee for US citizens on Feb 28, 2014 when Chile was added to the US Visa Waiver program. The program allows citizens to travel between the US and the world without the need of a Visa for stays in the USA for 90 days or less. Since Chile joins the short list of countries on May 1, 2014, they have decided to remove their visa reciprocity fee for US citizens visiting Chile!
There are only 37 countries which are part of the US Visa Waver program, and the majority of them hail form Europe and a few nations in Asia. Chile is the ONLY country from Latin America that is currently part of the program; a huge success to Chile, which means per the US Government, Chile has a high-income economy with a very high Human Development Index and is regarded as a developed country. The last Latin American country to be part of this program was Argentina, but they lost their status in 2002 during their financial crisis. The 37 countries currently in the program are listed below:
I am very happy to hear that Chile has been added to this list, as the visa fee has been an extreme deterrent and has kept me from visiting in the past!