Without a visa it is impossible to enter most countries. Visa regulations vary per country, per nationality and sometimes even per year. Read up on my tips on how to prepare yourself for getting all your visas for a trip around the world.
Tip 1: Check the website of the correct embassy.
Check the embassy’s website of the country that you will be visiting. There are a number of blogs from people who have gotten the same or a similar visa, but always check the official information as well. Visa regulations change and it would be a pity to arrive at the wrong time, at the wrong address or with the wrong information at the embassy or immigration office.
Tip 2: Print all visa forms before leaving on your worldtrip.
Since it’s not easy to find a copyshop in every country, it may save a you a lot of time to print all the visa forms you need beforehand.
Tip 3: Visa on arrival.
In most countries it is possible to get a visa on arrival at the major border crossings which saves a lot of time and effort. However, if you need to arrange a visa in your departure country, you need to go to the embassy in person twice; once for applying for the visa and the second time to pick it up. Embassies are based in one location in a country, so depending on where you live in it may take a lot of time and cost a lot money to go there twice.
Tip 4: Bring passport photos.
Getting passport photos (taken) is not always straightforward and possible in all cities/villages you visit. Most people have old photographs laying around from your last driving license or other official documents. Use these old photos because unlike the regulations for applying for a passport, you don’t need recent photographs to apply for a visa. Using old photos will not only save time but also money.
Tip 5: Find where embassies are located.
While you are on a trip around the world it saves a lot of hassle to already know where you can apply for a visa or visa extension. If you know this before going on your trip you can adjust your route to pass the cities where you can get a visa or visa extension. Moreover, check if the embassy will provide foreigners with a visa. In many countries only locals can apply for a visa at the embassy of a foreign country.
Tip 6: Read up on experiences of other travellers.
Although it is wise to stick to information found on an embassy’s website (read tip one), blogs from fellow travelers who have applied for the same visa are also a great source of information. They often have great tips on how to get to the embassy, which clothes are acceptable to wear and how the process of the visa application works in detail. But please check the year the blog was written to ensure you don’t read up on old information.
Tip 7: In which cities are you able to get a visa extension?
Check ahead of time in which cities you are able to extend your visa and how. It is not possible to extend your visa in every country or city, and in some countries it might even be necessary to do a visa-run. A visa-run is the process of leaving the country and re-entering it (often done in just one day) to renew your visa so you can stay in the country longer.
Tip 8: Keep checking on visa regulations.
Visa regulations often change so keep checking because changes might have a big effect on your trip. Border crossings open and close, and visa on arrival options might be extended and withdrawn at certain crossings. But it is also possible that visa regulations for your nationality change, and you might not need a visa at all anymore. Please be aware that such rules might not apply to every border crossing, or mode of transport that you are entering the country with.
Tip 9: Change your mode of transport.
Plan at which border crossing you want to enter the country. At some border crossings over land you are not allowed to cross unless you have previously arranged a visa. But it might be possible to fly into the country without having a visa ready. This makes flying into the country an attractive option.
Tip 10: Prepare your money business for bordercrossings.
Unfortunately money exchange rates at borders are often horrible and hugely in favor of the country you are entering. It pays off to make sure you have the right currency and the exact amount. This way you won’t pay extra. Furthermore, it will smooth visa applications at borders where officials expect a bride. If you have the exact amount of money ready that the visa costs and you stick to your guns it’s a lot easier to bargain.
It’s possible to find information about visa prices, bribery and which currency to pay in for the cheapest rate by reading up on the website of an airport and/or experiences of other travellers.
Tip 11: Get a visa in your home country.
If a visa on arrival is not possible in the country you want to visit the first three months of your trip, check if it is possible to get the visa in your home country. Most visas are valid for three months from the day you receive the visa in your passport. For example, you are visiting Myanmar as your third country after 45 days of travel. Unless you fly into Myanmar it is not possible to get a visa on arrival, but in most countries it is possible to receive a 30-day visa with which you can enter the country by land border crossing as well.
Tip 12: Check if you need an onward ticket.
Some counties expect you to have a copy of your onward ticket with you when you enter the country. You might even be refused to enter the country, or on the flight, if you don’t. So, check which regulations are effective for the country that you are visiting.
Hopefully these tips will make sure you enter the countries you want to visit as smooth as possible. If you have any other tips please leave a comment underneath this blog.h2