Sorting out a visa

Tag: Planning your travel, Visa & Passport   
December 10, 2010   No Comments

Is getting a visa important?

Arranging the necessary visa paperwork in advance of your travel as important as buying your tickets, buying travel insurance or planning all the fun you’re going to have! Without a valid visa you may not gain entry to the country or may end up paying extra fees and waste a lot of time with huge hassle to boot. Also, if you plan to stay a long time somewhere, want to work for a period, or even can’t prove outbound tickets then you will need to spend careful attention to obtain the correct visa. Establishing what the requirements are for your plans and your nationality is key before you set off!

Visa HQHow to obtain your visa

Usually, you can find out what the steps are by visiting an Embassy website in your country or by using a visa agency, such as VisaHQ. The benefit for using an agency is they will take all the hassle away from you, sort out all the paper work and ensure the forms are correctly submitted. They will cost you more though than if you sort your visa out yourself but for some countries where the application is more complicated or has many visa variations, can definitely be worth it.

Quick visa check

Try the travel visa requirements tool below for a quick check – thorough investigation is recommended before you get on the plane!

Examples of different visa options that are open to you:
Below are the typical scenarios a traveler from the UK or US will face when traveling on a round the world trip with stops for weeks or months at a time in each country.

Australia Australia visas

Similar to the US, travelers from certain countries can apply online for an electronic pass, which allows travel in Australia for up to 3 months, within a 12 month period. For US and UK citizens staying for up to 3 months the eVisitor is the visa required. This is a free application but should be completed at least two weeks before arrival. Upon completion all immigration and airline systems will store your details with your reference number, which is worth keeping to hand when you arrive.

Cambodia Cambodia visa

A visa on arrival is possible via International airports and some land crossings via Vietnam and Thailand, but not all! The visa is valid for 90 days with a length of stay restricted to 30 days. A photo, passport with more than 6 months validity and a fee are all required. No onward travel proof is needed. Check here for official information. In addition, the popular route of Vietnam from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh in Cambodia is serviced via the border crossing of Bavet, click link for information and pictures.

Fiji Fiji visa

Most countries are exempt from the requirement of a visa in Fiji – including UK, US and all of Europe. Upon arrival in Fiji you can obtain a visitor visa that is valid for 4 months with the possibility to extend to 6 months. A full list of countries that are exempt is listed here, courtesy of Fiji airlines.

Indonesia Indonesia visa

A visa is required but can be obtained on arrival for many nationalities, including UK and US, as long as it’s via one of the main airports or sea ports and proof of outbound travel is provided. This visa is open for a 30 day period for a cost of $25, or less for the 7 day visa. If needing a 60 or 90 day period then a visa can be obtained in advance from the embassy in Kuala Lumpar, which is recommended as more more efficient than the Indonesian embassy in London. Info here and from Lonely Planet.

Laos Laos visa

A visa is required for all nationalities wishing to enter Laos, except Japanese. This can be applied for in advance or obtained on arrival in Laos, from either International airport arrival points or the various land crossings from bordering countries. The visa on arrival costs around $35 for UK, US and most of Europe nationals. Further extensive reading on visas for Laos here

Malaysia Malaysia visa

No visa requirements to enter Malaysia, except for some countries such as India and Pakistan. US, UK, Europeans nationals and many others do not need to obtain a visa in advance, but there are time limitations on your stay, such as 90 days. Good further info here

New Zealand New Zealand visas

Most countries don’t need a visa to visit New Zealand, including UK (for up to 6 months stay), and the US (3 months stay). However, outbound travel proof is needed as is proof you can financially support yourself. Information on New Zealand.

Thailand Thailand visa

Tourist visa exemption

People from a list 41 countries (UK and US included) can obtain a tourist visa upon arrival in Thailand, as long as you intend to stay for no longer than 30 days and can prove onward travel (i.e. you have a ticket showing you’ll leave within 30 days.) Information for UK travelers available from the Thai embassy website here.

Tourist visa
If taking more time to travel the country or if going overland from Bangkok to Singapore as many people do (and therefore having no ticket showing onward travel), then a standard tourist visa that is open for 60 days is needed. This needs to be applied for in advance from the embassy and allows for up to 3 entries, each costing an individual fee. Apply up to 3 months before you arrive. Information on the Thailand tourist visa here.
There are other forms of visa for Thailand such as working, which should be applied for if you intend to find employment during your stay.

United States US visas

Since early 2009, entry to the US is now controlled via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization ESTA – rather than filling in the form on the plane. There is a $14 fee assocaited with this and the application is done on the official website of the U.S department of homeland security( Upon being approved (apply at least 72 hours before arriving in the States) you then have entry for a 90 day period, which can be taken within a 2 year period. Some countries are excluded from this scheme, such as some Eastern European countries. Outward travel proof is required and an address of a hotel where you are staying is needed.

Vietnam Vietnam visa

Entering Vietnam can seem confusing when presented with the visa options available. If you are from the UK or US, and flying in to the International airports at either Noi Bai in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City or Da Nang airport, then before you arrive you need to arrange an approval letter – this is supplied by email to you via a specialist company or travel agency.

Alternatively, you can arrange a visa before you leave your home country (good if your dates are fixed) or by visiting an embassy while in a neighbouring country, such as

In Laos:

Address: Thatluang Rd., Vientiane, LAO PDR
Phone: (856) 2141 3409; 2141 3409; 2141 4602;
Consular Section:2141 3400

In Cambodia

436 Monivong Blvrd, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855-23 362741

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