Visiting far flung destinations is exhilarating, mostly because it’s away from the hum drum of daily life. However, if you don’t dot all of your i’s and cross all of your t’s, it can turn into a bit of a bother. One of the biggest headaches is working out which visa you need and where to get it from. Whilst I can’t offer an exhaustive guide (I’d be here all night and you’d be very bored of reading), I can point you in the right direction.
What’s a visa?
It’s an official document or stamp placed in a passport from an official allowing you entry into a country. The type of visa, its validity, and how it is obtained are all dependent on where you’re travelling to and for what reason. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on tourist visas.
Do I need one?
Again, this all depends on where you’re from and where you’re going, as well as the duration of your stay. For example, an American citizen travelling to Japan for a one month vacation doesn’t need to apply for a visa prior to travel; it’s issued on arrival to Japan. Certain citizens of certain countries are subject to visa waiver programs in some countries (the previous example involving Japan for instance), and does not require you to pre-apply for a visa, which is very handy! However, double check where this applies, as it is your responsibility as the traveller to check what you need prior to your trip. Failure to have the correct paperwork can result in you not being able to board your flight, or being refused entry to the country and sent back home on the next flight, and as it’s an error on your part, insurance likely wouldn’t pay out.
How do I get one?
A simple google search can point you in the right direction. Consulates and Embassy’s always have their own website, with a complete section on visa advice specific to your country of origin and destination, and usually an area to apply. Sadly, they like to speak the convoluted language of “bureaucratic”, so it may seem confusing or bewildering. Don’t lose hope! There are also lots of companies online who can do the visa application for you, so all you have to do is wait for it to process. However, I’m not a particular fan of this, mostly because I like to know myself it’s done, but if you’re pressed for time it can take a burden from your shoulders. Here’s some links to get you started:
Countries that almost always require some form of visa includes (but is not limited to):
• United States of America
Another way to apply if you’re booking your trip way in advance and have planned well, is to do it in person. Simply call and make an appointment with your local embassy.
Once it’s done, sit back, relax, and count down the days until your next adventure!