Mike Mussi, Consul of the U.S. Embassy, joined Director General of Immigration Eshor Poudel to witness the handover of the first five-year, multiple-entry tourist visas issued by Nepal to American citizen travelers.
The United States has issued five-year visas to Nepali travelers for many years. With today’s handover, Nepal has adopted the same visa terms for American visitors, greatly facilitating the closer and deeper linkages between the U.S. and Nepal.
Visa reciprocity is a standard and long-standing principle in visa policies worldwide. The United States Government and the Government of Nepal have been working toward establishing reciprocity for all types of visas since October 2017.
Establishing parity in the visa regimes between the U.S. and Nepal provides an opportunity to increase the number and frequency of American tourists and business representatives visiting Nepal, which will benefit Nepal’s economy. Tourism makes up a significant portion of Nepal’s economy.
Over 90,000 U.S. citizens visited Nepal last year, an increase of 15 percent over 2017. As Americans receive reciprocal tourist visas -- multiple entry, five-year validity -- they will be able to come to Nepal easily and more often.
Similarly, American students and scholars are eager to study and conduct research in Nepal. Parity in our visa regimes means that more Americans will have the opportunity to study and research at Nepali academic institutions and participate in educational and cultural exchanges.
The move to reciprocal visa regimes between the U.S. and Nepal will also bring significant benefit to certain categories of Nepali visa applicants. For example, Nepali students who plan to study in the United States will soon save $200 on each visa -- more than a 50 percent savings – due to the removal of student visa issuance fees.
Speaking at the handover event, Mussi said “longer visa validity and lowered costs are good for both America and Nepal. It will increase economic activity and exchanges between our countries while enabling opportunities to explore even more connections between our people.”