Who keeps the money for your visa application? A complete breakdown

Dristi Sharma
Dristi SharmaJul 15, 2023 | 15:00

Who keeps the money for your visa application? A complete breakdown

Getting a visa is not easy, the process itself is so difficult and long. However, apart from the process being exhausting, the process is quite draining on your bank account too.

In 2022, Indian passport holders, for example, spent Rs 87 crore on Schengen visa applications that were rejected.

Now, in case you're wondering how much you have to spend on getting a tourist visa, let us break it down for you. 


The cost of a tourist visa from India to other countries can vary significantly depending on the destination country, the type and duration of the visa, and the applicant's nationality. Each country has its own visa policies and fee structures.

For this story's purpose, we will be considering an adult who needs a tourist visa

1. Visa Application Fee

After filling up the visa form, you have to pay a visa application fee. What is it? It is a mandatory fee charged by a government or visa processing entity when applying for a visa to enter a specific country.

It is a fee that you must pay to initiate and process your visa applications.

Why do we have to pay? The purpose of the visa application fee is to cover the administrative costs, processing services, and other expenses associated with evaluating and processing visa applications. Remember it is different from the service charge (we will get to that in a bit).

The cost varies widely depending on the country. It can range from Rs 1,000 to 16,000 or more. The fee may differ based on factors such as visa duration, entry type (single or multiple), and the applicant's nationality.

For instance, if you’re applying for a single tourist visa from India to the USA you have to pay at least $185 or INR 15,241. On the other hand, the Schengen visa fee for Indian citizens is €80 (equivalent to INR 7,210.25). Then there is Japan, which charges Rs 500 for a visa from Indian passport holders.


These visa application fees are generally non-refundable, regardless of whether the visa application is approved or denied.

Where does your money go? 

  • The money collected from your visa application fees is typically retained by the government of the country where the visa is being applied for.
  • The specific government entity responsible for processing visas, such as an embassy or consulate, typically handles the collection of visa application fees.
  • These fees contribute to the overall revenue of the government and help cover the costs associated with visa processing and related services.

2. Processing or Service Fee

Some countries or visa processing centres may charge an additional processing or service fee for handling the visa application. This fee covers administrative costs and processing services. 

Mainly there are two processing centres (VFS and BLS) that take care of your visas, and they charge you accordingly based on the country you're applying to. For instance, if you're an Indian and you're applying to the UK for a tourist visa, you will be charged  '£3 (INR 319)' for a 'Consular Surcharge' and VFS Visa Application Service charge- £11.57 (INR 1,231).


3. Optional Services

Optional services such as expedited processing, courier services, or appointment booking assistance may have associated charges. These services are typically optional, and the fees can vary depending on the service provider and the level of convenience offered.

For instance, for VFS, other services include "all value-added services/additional services/Premium Services" which are described and offered by them on their website. Check out here: 

Photo: Optional Services charges if you're booking a visa appointment from India to Canada

4. Other Charges 

Some countries may impose additional charges or fees for specific visa types or additional services. For example, there might be separate fees for visa interviews, biometric data collection, or document translation, if required. However, generally, it is included in the visa application fees. 

5. ICWF Fee 

Finally, you have to pay a nominal charge to Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) as a fee for their consular services. In India for visas, you will be charged $2 per document (INR 164).

Last updated: July 15, 2023 | 23:51
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