Visa reciprocity, also known as visa insurance, is a fee that some individuals from certain countries or areas of authority have to pay once their visa application is approved.
Not all non-immigrant applicants are required to pay this fee, and it sometimes changes, so always check for the reciprocity schedule when traveling to and from the U.S. to see if you meet the requirements.
What is the Reciprocity Schedule?
The U.S. Department of State uses the reciprocity schedule to provide specific guidance for obtaining supporting documents for a green card or U.S. visa applications.
It indicates the document’s availability, where and how much it costs to get an official copy, and other details based on the country where the document was issued.
If another country rather than the U.S. issued your supporting document, you'd need to check the reciprocity schedule to ensure you’re submitting the correct version. If your documents don’t meet the reciprocity schedule guidelines, the U.S. government could reject them or request additional information, significantly delaying your application.
Reciprocity Schedule Terminology
Visa Classification: The non-immigrant visa category you’re applying for.
Fee: The reciprocity fee you’ve to pay apart from the non-immigrant visa application fee (MRV)
Number of Entries: The number of times you can seek entry into the U.S with the visa. “M” means you can have entry into the U.S multiple times; a number, like "One," indicates you can only apply once.
Validity Period: How long the visa can be used to travel to the U.S. -- date it was issued and the date it expires.
Reciprocity by Country: Using the Reciprocity Schedule
Here is some guidance on how to use the reciprocity schedule.
Open the Reciprocity Schedule
Visit the U.S. Department of State’s U.S. Visa - Reciprocity and Civil Documents by Country webpage (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/Visa-Reciprocity-and-Civil-Documents-by-Country.html/) for information about the U.S. embassies and consulates in the country issuing your document and the visa services.
Filter by Country
On the left-hand red panel boxed, select the first letter of the country that issued your document. Or click "All" to see the list of available countries alphabetically.
Find Your Country.
Scroll until you find the country’s name that issued your document, then click on it. As you scroll down the page after selecting your country, skip the two sections named “Explanation of Terms” and “Visa Classifications.” which are relevant only to people applying for non-immigrant visas, not green cards.
The Visa Classifications section tells you if you need to pay a reciprocity fee. It depends on whether your country has an agreement with the U.S., where U.S. citizens get a visa application fee waiver for your country.
Search for Your Document
Scroll down until you see the name of your document. Click the plus (+) icon at the end of the gray bar.
View the Document Details
The expanded box shows whether the document is "Available." If your document is marked “N/A,” “Unavailable,” or “Generally not available,” it means that the State Department doesn’t have guidance on how to get the record, or the country doesn’t issue such documents based on its laws or other reasons.
Note that you must still provide whatever form of this document you have, either an alternative or a written statement explaining why you cannot provide the document if it’s a requirement by the U.S. government for your green card application.