How to Obtain International Travel Visas
What is the best way to determine whether or not you need a visa to go to another country? Obtaining visas for overseas travel might be one of the most difficult aspects of the experience. Our how-to guide will walk you through the process of determining whether or not you need a visa for your trip.
What is the purpose of obtaining a visa to travel?
The answer is straightforward: not every citizen of every nation is permitted to visit other countries unless a visa has been obtained in advance and in the right manner (or paying for one on arrival).
Maybe you’re thinking about some daring travel places right now, or you’re seeking for simple foreign excursions for first-time international travelers to consider.
In any case, international travel visas are quite vital when traveling to a foreign country for the first time. We recommend that you do preliminary research before departing in order to ensure that you have a pleasant experience at your ultimate location.
Obtaining a visa before traveling to your target country might be straightforward or time-consuming, depending on your circumstances.
Finding out about travel visa validity is very important for anybody who wants to travel for an extended period of time. This will allow you to know when your visa expires and how long you will be able to legally remain inside the boundaries of a foreign nation.
If this is your first time researching travel visas for your next trip, or if you just need a fast review on some important points to remember, read on for our top advice on how to determine if you need a travel visa and how to get a visa for foreign travel.
What is an international travel visa and how does it work?
Foreign tourists are granted permission to enter the nation via the use of a travel visa, which is a paper or a series of documents.
Visas can be extremely difficult to obtain and may necessitate the submission of numerous documents, including bank statements, proof of address, proof of identity, proof of where you’ll be staying, letters of invitation, and proof of the amount of time you’ll be spending in the country you’ll be visiting, among other things.
Other visas are simple to get and may just involve the completion of a brief online application form.
You will not be permitted to enter a country that needs a visa, whether it is a tourist or business visa, if you do not have the required documentation, and you may be turned away at the airport and forced to return home.
Do certain passports have “stronger” security features than others?
Yes, without a doubt.
It is possible that certain passports will not be accepted for entry into certain countries.
Then there are nations that need visas for certain people but not others, and there are countries that demand visas for everyone.
Finally, there are visa costs to consider.
It was only after I returned from Hong Kong that I discovered that I had been charged three times the amount of money as the man in line next to me who was from Lebanon when I applied for my visa for Mainland China.
Is that a kind of discrimination based on passport? Yes, this is most likely the case, although nations are free to set their own policies in this regard.
A short narrative regarding international tourist permits for travel purposes is presented here.
My friend told me he was planning a trip to Brazil and asked if I had ever been there before, back when the country required US travelers to obtain a visa in advance (Brazil now only requires a visa upon arrival, but please don’t take my word for it; you should always check with government websites).
“I haven’t gone yet,” I said, “but I really want to travel to Brazil!” “Have you received your visa yet?”
“Can you tell me what you’re talking about?” he inquired.
“Wait, you didn’t study up on the prerequisites for obtaining a travel visa?” “To enter Brazil, you’ll need a visa,” I said. “Americans cannot just show up in Brazil and expect to be admitted without first obtaining a visa.” We have to have our tourist visas authorized first.”
He looked at me with a puzzled expression.
“Can you tell me how much time you have until your flight?” I inquired. “You’ll need to get started on the visa procedure as soon as feasible,” says the advisor.
Fortunately, he had just enough time to have his visa in place, which allowed him to visit Brazil as a tourist from the United States without being turned away from his own country.
Apparently, he had a wonderful vacation, and I believe he was fortunate in that we had that talk during a party.
Is it ever necessary for Americans to get travel visas for foreign travel?
As Americans, we have the ability to travel to numerous countries without a visa.
For example, Americans do not need a visa to go to almost all of Europe, Central America, and half of South America, among other places. As soon as you decide to schedule a vacation to Saudi Arabia or Russia or India or Nigeria or China, the whole situation changes completely.
For inhabitants of nations other than the United States, thinking about obtaining a visa for their next overseas travel is as urgent as realizing they’ll need a passport for the journey.
People living in countries where numerous destinations are visa-free may find it challenging to determine whether or not they will need a visa to enter a certain country.
Instructions on how to get a tourist visa for foreign travel.
What is the procedure for obtaining a travel visa to visit a foreign country?
How long does it take to receive a visa in the United States?
We recommend that you allow yourself plenty of time to prepare for any overseas visas, since you will be unable to travel without your passport if the country asks that you send in your application.
Keep in mind that certain visas require the use of a whole page in your passport. If you’re running low on pages or anticipating a lengthy journey, keep track of how many pages you have left.
If you plan ahead of time, you may apply for a new passport that will be available in time for your trip if you have sufficient time.
Obtaining a travel visa in person at a passport office is the most convenient option.
I’ve had to go in person a few times in my life to apply for and pick up travel permits, and it’s not something I like doing. After arriving in China, I had to travel to the Vietnamese Consulate to get a tourist visa for entry into Vietnam.
At the Mainland Chinese Consulate and Passport Office in Hong Kong (which was quite complicated), I applied for and received a fresh valid tourist visa for re-entry into China.
Obtaining an e-visa in order to travel
I’ve now obtained e-visas for travel on a number of occasions, including for India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Vietnam (in 2019, whereas my in-person visit to the Vietnam Consulate I mentioned above was in 2010).
E-visas are exactly what they sound like: they are visas that are issued electronically.
A visa application is submitted online, generally via a clunky government website, and after carefully entering your data and the needed information, you obtain a confirmation number, and then a decision within a few days of your application being submitted online.
I suggest printing off the emails at each stage of the process in case you are asked for them when you reach to your destination.
Obtaining a travel visa via the mail
In 2014, I opted to submit my application for a Bolivian travel visa via the mail. When I applied in person at the Bolivian Consulate in New York City, I was surprised to find out that the country of Bolivia (at the time) required something similar to a background check that you could get from your local police department. I chose this method because, to my surprise, if I had applied in person at the Bolivian Consulate in New York City, the country of Bolivia (at the time) required something similar to a background check that you could get from your local police department.
That was overwhelming to me, and I later discovered that if I applied by mail, I would not be subjected to a background investigation.
As a result, I forwarded my passport and accompanying visa application paperwork to the Bolivian Embassy in Washington, D.C., where they were processed and returned to me in approximately four weeks through secure mail.
It depends on what you’re asking. Is it unpleasant to mail away your passport without knowing whether or not you’ll get it back?
The response is a resounding YES [without hesitation]. In a strange twist of fate, it was the second time I’d done something like this, the first being when I applied for my work visa in China and had to send my passport abroad to be inserted and pasted into my passport before being returned to me by secure mail.
Keep copies of overseas travel visas in a safe place.
In the event that your passport is lost or misplaced, having a duplicate of your visa as well as some additional physical passport images will come in useful.
We always upload digital copies of our passports, visas, and other materials that may be necessary for visa applications, such as yellow fever vaccination cards, to Google Drive or Dropbox before leaving the country.
Always have a snapshot of your passport and any visas on hand on your phone, as well as in a cloud storage service such as Google Drive or Dropbox, in case you need to prove your legal arrival in an emergency situation.
What is the duration of a travel visa?
Finally, when you are overseas, be aware of how long your visa allows you to lawfully stay in the nation you are visiting while you are traveling.
Some travel visas are valid for 30 days, while others may be valid for a year or more. Check the regulations to see whether you’re required to leave and re-enter every 30 days or whatever the case may be, since this is rather usual.
You may be required to provide documents proving that you are staying at a specific location, which might be a hotel, hostel, or the house of a friend or family member. When you are filling out papers, it is your responsibility to have the address ready to go.
Some visas may additionally need a letter of invitation from a host, which may be a personal contact or an organization, in addition to the visa application itself.
When traveling overseas, what are the many kinds of visas that are available?
Beginning in 2009, I embarked on a solo international journey across Asia, where visas were necessary for all nations except South Korea and Taiwan, as well as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand.
There are many different sorts of visas available, and it’s vital to check your home country’s website or do some preliminary research to see what is needed in the application process and how much it will cost.
How to get travel visas ahead of time
My visa adventures began in 2010 when I applied for a visa to Vietnam and was denied.
In Shanghai, I went to the Vietnamese Consulate, where I just had to wait for a short time, had a very brief interview, and paid around USD 60. After around ten days, I returned to the embassy to pick up my passport, which now had a new Vietnamese visa.
It is also possible that you may have to wait in huge queues to get visas.
For example, if you wish to get a travel visa for Mainland China in Hong Kong, you must first go to the China visa office and take a number, then wait, then talk with someone at a booth who will inquire about your reasons for traveling to China, and then wait some more.
Afterwards, you’ll have to return in three or four days to obtain your passport back after taking a number and waiting for it to be returned.
As part of my preparations for a trip to Bolivia with a friend, we both did our research and mailed our passports to the Bolivian Embassy in Washington, D.C., along with a certified check for USD 160 and our printed visa applications, as well as any other items on the lengthy list of requirements for visas for Americans.
They don’t make it seem simple at all!
It took a few of weeks, but eventually my passport was returned to me by certified mail, complete with a sparkling Bolivian visa inside.
How to get a visa for a foreign nation upon arriving in the country
The visa requirement for Cambodia was visa on arrival, so after arriving at the Phnom Penh International Airport, we stood in line with every other non-resident and paid USD 25 in cash to get a Cambodian visa stamped into our passports straight away.
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Instructions on how to get an E-visa for international travel to another country
The computerized visa application process is a new form of procedure that I’ve utilized to get access into the South and Southeast Asian nations of Myanmar (Burma), India, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka in recent years.
You will apply for an electronic visa using the country’s tourist website, and you will make your payment through their website using a credit card.
In order to go internationally, how long does it take to get an e-visa?
As an update on my personal experience of applying in person for a tourist visa to Vietnam in 2010, I can report that the procedure has now changed to be an electronic visa process nine years later.
The same sort of visa could not be obtained online nine years later, but I was successful in applying for the Vietnam tourist visa for travel, which we discuss in our guide on what to know before going to Vietnam, paying and receiving an e-visa in my inbox within a week of doing so.
Our Myanmar e-visa application was processed in approximately two days, and we received an e-mail from the Myanmar government confirming our application and providing a link to the visa website.
What is the procedure for obtaining an e-visa?
You will be issued a visa when you disembark your aircraft and arrive at passport control in your destination country. The passport officer will examine your documents and stamp the visa in your passport at that point in time.
Do all nations need travel visas or tourist visas in order to visit them?
For entry into certain countries, you do not need a visa, but it is dependent on the kind of passport you have.
Congratulations if your destination does not need a visa for your visit. You don’t have to do anything except show up. This is something I truly love about traveling to Central America, Colombia, Hong Kong, Peru, Ecuador, Israel, most of Europe (excluding Russia, which requires a visa for Americans), and South Africa, among other places.
A passport from the United States of America with a map of Frankfurt, Germany United States of America passport with Hong Kong money Israel-issued passport accompanied with money
This visa-free nations list on Wikipedia is my go-to source for determining whether or not I need a visa for a certain trip, or for picking a country where I may travel visa-free without a passport.
You’ll be glad you found this map if you were under the impression that you didn’t need to worry about visas for your destination. Let’s hope that turns out to be correct!
When doing your research, I recommend that you use a variety of websites and magazines in addition to word-of-mouth from travelers who have visited your location lately and are members of Facebook groups or in your social circles.
Is it necessary to provide evidence of yellow fever or other vaccinations when applying for a visa?
Yes. Some visas require you to provide documentation that you have received a certain immunization. Eventually, things become a little difficult.
The finest illustration is the application for a Bolivian visa for citizens of the United States.
Yellow fever vaccines are mandatory in certain countries, and if you intend to travel extensively in Amazonian South America or Africa, it is highly suggested that you acquire the vaccine from a reputable healthcare professional in advance of your departure.
The vaccination is effective for a period of 10 years.
You should save a copy of your yellow vaccination proof card in case you need to submit it with your visa application.
Various visa applications “highly encourage” receiving the yellow fever vaccination, but they do not absolutely need it for the application. This is something I’ve done for some visas.
After landing in Zambia, I was given a visa upon arrival at the airport, and despite the fact that I had gone to great pains to get an electronic copy of my vaccination card, it was ultimately not necessary in the end.
In regards to the COVID-19 vaccination, travel visa and admission criteria might vary on a weekly basis, and in some cases, even on a daily basis in certain areas. In this post, it would be pointless to make broad statements concerning COVID-19 immunization requirements, testing procedures, or quarantine regulations. Instead, we recommend (of course) that you visit the official website of your overseas destination for further information.
Travel permits for remote employees, digital nomads, and anybody else who works from a distant location
Perceive taking a “workation” if you’ve decided to work from home and travel at the same time. Keep in mind that although you may consider your trip to be one for work, a “work visa” is a business-type visa that is treated quite differently than a tourist visa.
Business visas are designed for those who are sponsored by an organization, firm, or corporation, or who have been invited by a company headquartered in the foreign country to which they want to go for business purposes.
In order to be able to work remotely while traveling overseas, you will simply need to check into the criteria for tourist visas.
We highly advise that you visit government websites or the website of your destination country in order to get the most up-to-date information on entrance requirements for any of the information provided above.
While we have included some personal anecdotes in this post, it is important to note that standards are always changing, particularly in the area of health and safety laws.
What countries do I need a visa for and where can I get one?
We would want you to bear in mind that we are not experts on the visa requirements for every single nation, nor are we experts on the visa requirements for any previous experiences that have included passports other than those issued by the United States.
We’re trying our best, and we absolutely want to direct everyone to the appropriate official government websites for the most up-to-date and accurate information on travel visa requirements.