Getting Travel Visas can be a confusing process. My Worldwide Travel Visa Tips and Types points out a few different scenarios you should consider before you travel.
Travel Visas are getting easier as Governments understand the importance of tourism for their economies. The easier it is to get a Travel Visa, the more attractive the country becomes to tourists.
Countries apply the reciprocity rule. This means that if your country charges a certain Visa amount to an individual from country A, country A will charge you a similar amount. As a curiosity from my worldwide travel experience, US and Canadian citizens pay the most expensive Visas.
An important travel visa tip: a Visa does not automatically allow your entry to a country. It authorizes you to travel to a port of entry. Once there, it all depends on the border officer, so good advice is to be patient, polite, presentable and always smile.
Travel Visa Tips: Always Check Latest Information
My best travel visa tip: always check the latest visa info before you leave and only trust official government sites. Projectvisa is a great resource to find all the info you need and also has links to the official websites.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you always check with official sites, embassies or consulates to make sure you have the most accurate and up-to-date information. If you don’t follow this advice, you risk spending all that money on a flight just to have your entry denied and return home.
Every country has its own rules. In some countries, a Visa on arrival is enough. You just fly in and pay a fee for a Visa at an airport office. In other cases, you need to buy a Visa in advance. It can be an electronic Visa you can arrange for online or you may need to go to an embassy or consulate. Never assume that neighboring countries have the same rules, they normally don’t. Also, make sure you know the maximum length of each visit (for multiple-entry Visas). The best cases are Visa free countries where you just get a free stamp in your passport.
Examples of different types of Visas
For Australia or Turkey, you can get an e-Visa. You go to the respective websites and fill in a few forms. The Visa will be immediately available and you will receive an email confirmation. Make sure you get your dates right, considering the validation period. This is the best type of Visa (other than Visa free) as it’s cheap and hassle free.
The Australian Electronic Travel Authority (eTA) Visa is normally multi-entry and valid for 12 months from the date of issue, but make sure you know the maximum allowed stay for each entry.
Some countries offer different types of Visas that have different prices. India offers single or multiple entry Visas, meaning you can leave and return on the same Visa. This is important if you want to visit neighboring countries and return to India.
Imagine you get on a tour that starts in India, goes to Nepal and finishes in India. In this case, you will need a multiple-entry Visa for India. Naturally, a multiple-entry Visa costs more than a single entry Visa but is cheaper and easier than getting two single entries. Make sure you analyze this before leaving.
Vietnam is another good example, where things are a little bit trickier. You need to get an official Visa approval letter from an authorized online agency and take a print with you. The letter is then presented at a visa office at the airport with two photos and a stamping fee. Only then you get your passport stamped. I used vietnamvisacenter.org and had no issues.
Some countries offer free entry if you meet certain requirements. A good example is the 72-hour Visa-free transit offered by China. Make sure you meet the qualifying conditions.
How Strong is Your Passport?
The stronger you passport, the easier it is to get into a country, but not necessarily the cheapest. You can check how strong your passport is at this cool website: Passportindex.org.