Travel Visa

Travel Visas Information


Deciding to plan a trip abroad? Well before you book that plane ticket just yet, you should determine whether you will need a travel visa, also known as a tourist visa.

Visas provide a person with legal permission to both enter and stay in a country for a specified period of time. While some countries require tourist visas granting entry for 90 days, other countries do not.

Often citizens of one country are allowed to enter certain countries to travel without visas because the countries have signed specific international treaties and agreements that provide visa exemption status. Furthermore, some countries allow travellers to receive a travel visa upon arrival in the country, instead of requiring travellers to apply for visas in advance.

The below provides the relevant information regarding whether a tourist visa is needed for a foreigner to visit a specific country and region for the typical travel stay of 3 months or less, as well as the availability of tourist visa on arrival. Lastly, it is important to note that all countries regardless of whether a visa is required, all require a valid passport for entry that will not expire until after the duration of the trip.

This article on travel visas provides general advice and you must check with the Embassy in each country as visa regulations do change.

Europe and the Schengen Visa

Americans, Australians as well as Europeans have a few different options for travelling to European countries. It is relatively common knowledge that the principle of reciprocity instituted by the EU allows its member state citizens to move throughout the borders of EU member states without a visa. Americans and Australians can travel to EU member states without a visa, though they must apply for a short-term visa for all stays lasting over 3 months within the EU.

Those tourists looking to travel to European countries located both within and outside of the EU should consider the Schengen Tourist Visa, which provides non-European citizens with the authorization to travel throughout 26 different countries located both within and beyond the European Union (EU). The main benefit of the Schengen visa is that it grants access to 26 European countries, as well as the removal of all internal border controls, which allows travelers to move throughout all member states without having to show a passport. The following countries beloware collectively part ofthe Schengen Area Member States:

Austria
Belgium
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Liechtenstein

Travelers granted Schengen Visas gain the right to visit and reside within one of the Schengen member states, for both multiple and single entries depending on the type of Schengen visa that is granted. Stays granted under the Schengen Visa process can last no longer than 3 months, during any 6-month periodof time each year.

The Schengen Visa, or an individual visa from each country that will be visitedis required for both Americans and Australian citizens, while citizens of EU states that are not part of the Schengen region are granted reciprocity access, which does not require an Schengen Visa for entry and travel. An application for an Schengen Visa is typically submitted to either the first country that will be visited, or the country where most of one’s time will be spent in.However, those whose primary goal is to tour multiple European countries are well advised to confirm their stay date terms and the terms of entry with the embassyconsulate of each specific member state.

In addition to submitting a signed and fully completed Schengen Visa application to a specific member state’s consulate/embassy the following documentation must be compiled and submitted:

  • One passport photo attached to the application;
  • A passport that has been valid for at least 3 months preceding departure with at least two blank pages;
  • A copy of a reserved return ticket that corresponds with the intended travel period. If one can reserve a return ticket as opposed to purchasing this would be best in favor of purchasing after the visa has been granted;
  • Proof of a travel medical insurance policy covering up to 30,000 euros in expenses that is valid within all member states;
  • A copy of a current bank statement typically covering the last 6 months, or an official affidavit of support from a relative of friend within the member state who vouches for you; AND
  • A written description providing basic details about the purpose of the trip and plans for time that will be spent in the region.

Visas for Turkey

As of 2014 Turkey no longer officially issues visas to tourists on arrival, and has switched to the process of issuing tourist e-visa in advance that can be applied for online here. However, at certain points of entry and Turkey missions, the tourist e-visa application process can be completed at local on-site kiosks. Australians, Americans and the British can all obtain e-visas if they have a valid travel document that will not expire within six months of arrival, though additional requirements may exist depending on the applicant’s country of citizenship. The e-visa provides permission to stay in Turkey for 90 days.

Asian visas

Asian countries happily grant tourist visas for travellers, which are typically required for all stays lasting longer than 30 days. Often those with a valid passport can enter an Asian country and travel for less than 30 days, though additional restrictions will typically apply depending on the country of a traveller’s citizenship, and the specific Asian country granting the visa.

Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam all grant tourist visas for 30-day periods. While China grants tourist visas for up to 12-month period stays. A brief description of the tourist visa process for the most commonly visited Asian countries is below:

China: Foreigners traveling to China have two options for entry. They can either apply for a Chinese L tourist visas, that typically allow a foreigner to stay for 3 months on a single entry visa, or an entry lasting for two months when dual/multiple entries are granted. However, the are a variety situations that allow a tourist to enter China without visa, which include:

A 72 Travel Visa Exemption: is granted regardless of passport type to citizens of 45 countries includingmost EU countries, the USA, Australia engaged in transit to and from airports located in Beijing, Shanghai, Guanghzou and Chengdu;

Visiting China’s Pearl Rive Delta Region: Foreign citizens holding an ordinary passport issued by countries with diplomatic relations with China, when already travelling in Macao, Hong Kong and subsequently participate in a tourist group can stay for no more than 6 days. A 15-day stay is allowed for foreign citizens of the USA, UK, Australia and other countries with ordinary passports who join tourist groups organized by registered international travel agencies; OR

Citizens of Countries Having Bi-Lateral Agreements with China: A full list of countries whose citizens can visit China without foregoing the typical tourist visa process can be found here.

Cambodia: Cambodia allows tourist visas on arrival, as well as traditional tourist visas granting permission to enter and stay in Cambodia for various periods of time. The completion of this process typically results in the granting of a travel visa within 3 weeks of submission for Australians, Americans and most Europeans. However, enhanced requirements exist for citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Sudan. Click here to visit the Embassy of Cambodia’s Visa information page.

Thailand: Under the Visa Exemption Rule foreigners from 48 countries, including the USA, U.K. and Australia can stay in Thailand for 30 days when they enter the country via an international airport, or 15 days for those who enter Thailand via a land border checkpoint located at a neighboring country. In order to travel to Thailand under the Visa Exemption Rule proof of a confirmed non-open return ticket must be provided, and some are required to provide proof of having at least 20,000 THB in funds.

Japan: The great thing about Japan is that it has a Reciprocal Visa Exemption policy whereby citizens of 45 countries including Australia, the USA, UK and many other European countries can enter Japan and stay for 90 days without a tourist visa. Citizens from these countries receive a “Temporary Visitor” entry status stamp in their passport, which essentially operates as a tourist visa on arrival.

India: Foreigners from the USA, Australia and the UK can receive a travel visa on arrival in India that are typically issued for visits between three and 6 months for multiple, double or single entries. Normal tourist visas applications can be submitted in advance along with a passport photo, a passport with 6 months of validity, proof of a return/onward travel ticket, and proof of enough funds to support oneself. An Indian visa application can be submitted online or at your local Indian embassy/consulate, and wait times may vary because Indian visa procedures are known to change quickly without notice.

Visa for the Middle East

Travel restrictions/advisories to the Middle East began tightening in the early 2000s, and have continued in severity in the past few years because of the increase in foreign fighters traveling to war-torn regions. In fact Westerners wishing to travel to Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are advised against doing so by their own countries and will find it difficult to visit such countries without their countries support. Even Egypt, which was once the number tourist destination for Westerns, is now an ill-advised visit as military control of the country has increased. However the following countries are a great option for tourists looking to travel to the Middle East:

Saudi Arabia: Visitors to Saudi Arabia are required to abide by the country’s Islamic laws and traditions, which includes not bringing in or imbibing in drugs or alcohol. Saudi Arabia has extremely tough visa restrictions for entry, because all foreigners entering the country require sponsorship from within the country and visas cannot be obtain upon arrival. Tourist visas are granted on an extremely limited basis typically through a certified international travel agency, and the period for an approved stay can vary.Upon entry all visitors must present a valid passport with a minimum of six months validity, as well as an approved visa, return ticket and other necessary documents.Furthermore, enhanced restrictions and difficulties may be faced by female travellers, who must be met upon arrival by the sponsor in order to avoid delays.

United Arab Emirates (UAE): U.S. citizens, as well as Non-US citizens from Australia and most EU countries, with valid passports that won’t expire within 6 months of the date of arrival can receive visa’s on arrival upon entry into the UAE for visits of less than 30 days, though proof of a return ticket is required. Because the UAW Embassy does not issue tourist visas, all other tourists are required to be sponsored in order receive a tourist visa, which is typically done by AUE hotels and tourist agencies.

North America Visas

The North American countries of the United States, Mexico and Canada have relatively easy travel visa requirements. The many Caribbean Islands, which are also part of North America, also provide easy travel visa processes given that many are premier travel/tourist destinations.

United States: Under the USA’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP) citizens of Australia, the UK and 36 other countries can enter the USA and stay for 90 days without a travel visa. In order to do so a travel must be authorized by the ESTA (which provides electronic approval for travel without a visa) and pay the required ESTA fee, have a passport that is eligible for six months from the time of arrival, and also travel to the U.S. on an approved carrier. Click here for more information.

Canada: Citizens of the USA, Australia and UK do not need visas to travel to Canada for a stay of 180 days or less. Details about the travel visa process for those who do not receive a visa exemption can be found here.

Mexico: Citizens of the UK, Canada, USA and the Schengen region can visit Mexico without a tourist visa and remain for no more than 180 days. In order to enter and travel Mexico without a visa, travellers must provide to the proper authorities upon arrival one of the following documents: a passport or other document that certifies permanent residence in a visa exempt country, a valid USA visa, or an ABTC or APEC card approved by Mexico.

The Caribbean: thousands of islands including the Dominican Republic, Belize, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Isles are all part of the Caribbean. Often times travel visas are not required for those who travel to the different island via cruise ships. As a result the visa requirements for travellers may vary depending on the specific island that is visited. While all islands typically require at least a passport with 6 months of remaining validity from the date of arrival, it will be necessary to contact the embassy/consulate of each island in advance to learn specific visa requirements and additional relevant information.

South America Visas

With over 14 different countries there are a variety of locations for travelers to visit in South America. Venezuela, a country favored by travelers is not included below. This is because in addition to mounting political unrest since the death of Hugo Chavez, this country’s visa requirements change regularly, and its government websites are often down for service/maintenance. As a result an on-site visit to a Venezuelan consulate and embassy should be definitely be conducted in advanced, instead of relying on Internet sources for travel visa information for Venezuela.

Peru: Citizens of all North American countries, and many other countries throughout the world are not required to obtain travel visas for stays of less than 183 days. These citizens must provide a valid passport, as well as proof of a travel return ticket upon arrival. U.S. citizens can receive visas on arrival for stays of typically 90 days or less. While British citizens are not required to obtain travel visas for stays of 6 months or less, and permission to enter and stay can be obtained upon arrival.

Chile: American tourists, and Australians and British citizens are visa-exempt, and can enter Chile for 90 days without applying for a visa. Areciprocity fee must be paid upon entry and a passport, which will not expire during the duration of the stay must be shown.

Argentina: No tourist visas are required for entry for citizens from USA, UK, Australia and many other countries who stay in Argentina for 90 days or less. Travellers upon entry must provide proof of a passport that will not expire before the conclusion of the time granted for travel, and proof of a return ticket must also be provided.

Ecuador: Americans, British citizens and Australians can visit Ecuador without a visa for periods of stay amounting to less than 90 days. A passport with at least 6 months remaining before expiration must be shown.

Visas for Africa

With over 54 individual countries, Africa is the largest country in the world besides Asia. As a result, it would be difficult for us to outline the travel visa procedures for every African country. However, it is important to note that virtually all African countries require foreigners from countries such as the US, UK and Australia to obtain a travel visa in advance of arrival. The travel visa requirements for the five main countries toured in Africa include:

Kenya:Visitors passes on arrival are available for stays of 3 months or less for those who have proof of a valid visa when required, as well as a valid passport.Citizens of Australia, the USA and the UK are all required to obtain travel visas. Passports must be valid for at least six months from time of entry into Kenya, and visa processing typically takes 5 days.

South Africa: Citizens of Australia, the USA andmost European countries, including the United Kingdom are not required to hold visas for stays in South Africa lasting less than 90 days.

Ghana:Australians, Americans and all Europeans are required to apply in advance for a tourist visa. A valid passport or other travel document is required, and one may be required to show proof of a return ticket. Tourist visas that are granted for 90-day stays and must be used within90 days of issuance. Visa processing typically takes at least two weeks.

Morocco: For stays of 90 days or less, citizens of Australia, the USA and the UK can travel to Morocco without a travel visa.A passport valid for the duration of the stay must be presented.

Tanzania: Australians, Americans and British citizens are all required to apply for a tourist visa to enter Tanzania. Visa applications must be submitted with a passport/travel document with 6 months remaining validity, and a flight return itinerary. Upon entry proof of an approved visa, along with the above documentation is required to receive a visitor pass that is valid for 3 months or less.

Visas for Australia and New Zealand

Australia: A travel visa is required for citizens of all countries besides New Zealand who wish to travel to Australia. A visa application can be submitted electronically or at an embassy/consulate, and travel visas are granted for stays of 90 days or less. Entry into the country requires a valid visa, a completed and signed incoming Passenger Card, and a valid passport that will not expire during the duration of the trip. Unlike many countries there is not a visa fee that must be paid.

New Zealand: Australians, Americans and other citizens of visa exempt countries are not required to have a visa to enter New Zealand for stays of 3 months or less. UK passport holders can be granted travel visas that are good for 6 months or less, if they can provide proof of their right to reside in the UK.

Passports

No matter the country, a passport that will not expire before the end of the trip is required for entry.Many countries insist on 6 months validity. Now get out there and plan your travel adventure today!

Date posted: 31st March, 2015

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