When you start planning your vacation, you typically choose your destination, pick
a hotel and decide on the activities that you wish to do, however, if you are traveling
to a new country, it is possible that you could forget to check if you require a
Travel / Tourist Visa.
Read below for some answers to very important questions, just in time for your travels.....
What is a Travel Visa?
A Tourist Visa is an official document by a foreign country, permitting you to enter that country.
It depends on which country you live in and/or origin of your passport as to whether you need a Tourist Visa.
How do you find out if you need a Travel Visa?
Visit the Visa HQ website here and follow the 2-step proces (ie: enter your country of origin and destination)
and it will confirm if you require a Travel Visa.
Alternatively, contact the embassy or consulate of the Country that you are planning to visit and ask them to
confirm if you require one.
We recommend visiting the embassy in person in your City - if you believe the communication with the embassy did not leave you comfortable with what you need to to do. You don't want to find out that you needed a Visa when you were informally told that you didnt.
Are all Visa's the same?
No, definitely not. Some countries issue a variety of Visa's- tourist, business, student etc. The length of the time of validity of the visa also can differ. Sometimes the visa will be valid for a few months and in some cases, many months. Furthermore, some entry visa's can be relevant to single entry in a country and others can be for multiple entries. This can apply if you are hopping through international borders).
What information do you need give?
Typically, you will complete a form (mostly available online from the applicable embassy). You will provide details such as name, date of birth, passport name and details, profession, intended dates of travel etc). You will mostly likely be asked for a contact address within your destination country - your accommodation details are sufficient here.
In addition, you will most probably require passport-sized photos (ensure they are styled appropriate to the rules of the destination country), you may also need a letter of invitation from someone in the country of destination (this could be a travel agent or representative from the hotel you will be staying with).
Always confirm with the embassy the style and type of passport photos you require.
These can differ dramatically, and you do not want to be spending any unnecessary money on unwanted passport photos.
How to organise your Tourist Visa?
Some countries do issue visas on arrival. It is critical to find out if this is the case for your travels.
You will complete a form and pay your fee when you arrive and pass through customs.
You may need to arrange your Travel Visa well ahead of time. There are Visa Agencies that can complete the process for you, such as Visa HQ Services for a fee. Alternatively, complete the process directly with the embassy or consulate in your area of the destination. You will need to give the embassy your passport for the necessary processing time, this could range from a week to even several weeks.
Ensure that you will not require your passport for identification purposes
during the time that your Visa will be processed.
If your request is urgent, enquire if the embassy or agent has an express service.
This will cost extra, however, it may be worth the additional cost.
What happens if you stay longer than you are allowed?
You will face problems on departure at Customs - leaving the country - if you overstay your Visa conditions. The penalty differs from country to country, however, you may find yourself banned from that country if you overstay.
Does the Schengen Visa apply to you?
"The Schengen Visa is the representative of the collective of 26 European countries that have decided to eliminate passport and immigration controls at their joint borders. Within the Schengen area, concurrently, the citizens of these 26 European countries are free to travel in and out of this zone as one single country sharing equal international travel rights. The citizens of the Schengen zone countries cherish the right to migrate internationally without any limitations, the basis of free movement, one of the basic human rights." (Courtesy of http://www.schengenvisainfo.com)
Find out here if the Schengen Visa applies to you.