HC Deb 23 November 1920 vol 135 cc191-2
5. Mr. R. McLAREN

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the sum charged for visas in this country to go to the United States of America, and from the United States to this country; if a head tax is charged before entering the United States, and, if so, the amount; and if any tax is levied on persons leaving the United States of America, and, if so, the sum charged?


Visas to enter the United States of America are granted in this country by United States Consular officers, and the fee charged by the United States Government for such a visa is at present ten dollars. The fee charged by His Majesty's Government for a visa issued by a British Consular Officer in any foreign country to enable a foreigner to enter the United Kingdom is 10s. for a single journey or £1 for a number of journeys within a period of one year. British subjects require no visas to enter this country. I understand that a tax of eight dollars is levied on every alien entering the United States, subject to refund in certain cases, as laid down in the United States Immigration Regulations. I have no information as to any tax being levied on persons leaving the United States.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this excessive charge of about £4 4s., according to the present rate of exchange, is causing great dissatisfaction among people who have to go to America; and will he see that the matter is looked into and the balance adjusted, or, better still, the whole system abolished?


Can the hon. Gentleman say whether there is any possibility of this subject in its entirety being brought up at the Conference at Geneva?


As my hon. Friend knows, it has been considered recently in Paris by a Committee of the League of Nations, and their recommendations are now under consideration.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that citizens of this country visiting the United States, if they do not stay so long as 60 days, are entitled to a refund, and that, when that refund is paid, it is only about one-fourth of the amount taken from them?


I was not aware of that, but I will make inquiries.


I have had that experience myself.


Are we to understand that representations have been made through the British Ambassador at Washington with regard to this very high charge made by the American Government for visas?


I did not say that.

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