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What's the difference between bribing and paying extra fees for?

As someone thats spent a career working as a banker in emerging markets, this is a very important issue that comes up quite a bit. Bankers and others that do business internationally need to be very cognizant of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the violation of which is a crime potentially punishable by jail time. The FCPA makes an important distinction between expediting payments, which are generally legal, and bribes, which most definitely are not. The difference is that an expediting payment is defined as, pretty much just that, a payment that results in something that would have happened anyway or to which you are undeniably entitled, happening a little faster. A bribe is a payment for special treatment or special consideration that you would not have normally been entitled to without that payment. There are situations where it can be a bit murky but expedited processing fees for a passport or visa is not really one of them. Youll get your passport whether or not you pay the fee, its simply a matter of timing the essence of an expediting payment.

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