Tips to Obtain Your Travel Visa for When You Go Abroad
If you’re planning to go abroad, then depending on your nationality and your destination, there’s a good chance that you need to obtain a travel visa to be allowed entry to the country you’re travelling to.
For example, Brits or Americans travelling to Zambia must obtain authorisation to pass customs, as is the case if you’re going to Kenya too.
In this case, as part of your preparation for your journey, it’s worthwhile finding out the visa requirements for your destination country, as well as what’s the best way to apply, how long your travel permit allows you to visit, and according to which terms and conditions.
After all, every country has different visa rules. So while one nation may offer a 30-day visa that allows multiple entries, another could offer a 6-month visa that only allows you to enter once.
With this in mind, please find below a brief overview of how to research and apply for your visa in advance:
- Find out if you’re required to obtain a visa to gain entry. To do this, you can Google “[country] visa policy” and go to the relevant Wikipedia page, which features high in the search results. For example, here’s Wiki’s page on the visa policy of Nepal.
- Once you know if you’re required to acquire a visa, the next step is to check which kind. Generally, countries offer three sorts of visas:
- The traditional paper visa that you apply for and obtain at the embassy.
- What’s called a Visa on Arrival (VoA), which you get after your flight.
- An Electronic Visa (eVisa), which you acquire online in advance via email.
- You can check what sort of visa you’re eligible for with an online visa service like Byevisa, by entering your nationality and destination.
- Check the conditions of the visa you’re eligible for. As I mention above, one country may offer a Single Entry 60-day visa, while another could offer a Double Entry 12-month visa, for example. Other countries even offer more than one kind of entry permit to travellers, so choose the one that’s most appropriate for you according to your travel plans.
- Apply for your visa. As you do, you’ll typically need to bear in mind the following:
- Before you start, make sure that the travel dates you enter on your visa application form match your flight dates. You need to enter the country during your visa’s validity period to be allowed in.
- You usually need a passport that’s valid for at least 6 months from your planned arrival date.
- If you’re visiting a country at risk of yellow fever, most commonly in Africa and Latin America, you must be vaccinated first. You can find a list of these countries on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) website.
- You need to provide personal and passport information, like your full name, date of birth, address, passport number, and passport issue and expiry dates.
- You may need to provide supporting documentation for your application. For example, this can include a passport photo, proof of sufficient financial means for the length of your stay, or medical/travel insurance for your visit.
- You need to pay the visa application fee. This varies from country-to-country and the sort of visa you’re applying for. As you’d expect, visas that allow you to stay for longer typically cost more. (If you’re applying online for an eVisa, you pay these fees as part of your application. Otherwise, you pay on arrival or at the embassy. Depending on the country, this may be in cash.)
- When you submit your application, it normally takes a few days to process. While you wait, this is a good opportunity to plan what you’ll do in your destination.
- You then receive your visa, either in your email inbox if you applied for an eVisa or by post if you applied at your embassy. It’s good practice to print a photocopy to take with you, as you may have to show this both at customs and while in your destination country.
- When you catch your flight, be sure to take both your visa and the passport you used to apply with. You need both documents to be allowed entry. The details of your visa must exactly match those on your passport to ensure you gain permission to enter.
I hope that gives you a useful overview of how to obtain your visa for when you go abroad!