Kiss Your Visa Worries Goodbye

Kiss your Visa Worries Goodbye

Travel visas? I know, I know. This isn’t destined to be the most thrilling post of all time but hopefully we can offer a couple of ideas, make some recommendations and share a few words of wisdom from our own experiences along the way.

DON’T FORGET

First things first. You’ll need passport photos. If you’re going away for a few weeks or backpacking indefinitely, top up on your passport photos!

Most visa applications require 1 or 2 photos but others require more. Don’t be shocked if when filling out a visa application at a border and they request 3 or even 4. More often than not they’ll use one and the others will end up on the office floor, but its better to be safe than sorry right?

Top Tip: Plenty of passport photos!

Travel visa tips

DO I NEED A VISA?

Some countries require you to have a visa on entry, others don’t. Sometimes this will depend on the length of your stay. Either way, make sure you check before leaving home. If you know the dates that you’re entering into a country, then you can save yourself a lot of stress and worry by completing your visa application prior to arriving at the country’s border.

If you are unsure whether you need a visa or not, check out the Visa HQ website. Select your citizenship and check through the list of countries for their visa requirements.

If you are backpacking and not sure of which country you’ll visit from one month to the next, don’t stress. Most countries will process visas at the border/point of entry. Just make sure you have plenty of time. Some countries you’ll be in, out and having a beer in no time. Others, you’ll be setting up camp for the night….quite literally at times.

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MAKING LIFE EASIER

When we went away on our first backpacking adventures, we went to each country’s embassy in London before we left. This was partially due to the embassies requiring you to physically turn up and process the documents (even though they will, more often than not, require you to go back and collect them another day or ask for a stamped, addressed envelope so they can send them back to you).

For all you Brits, this list of embassy addresses may be a useful link.

To make the whole proccess a lot easier, you can go to a company that sorts the whole lot out for you. We’d recommend STA Travel. By using someone like STA, you can cut out all of the back and forth and save yourself precious hours of life rather than standing around in endless queues. What’s more, you’ll have experts at hand to assist or help if anything goes wrong whilst you’re away. This may just save you from freaking out and having to enter a country by alternative means…..

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Photo Credit: The Telegraph (No joke! This man tried to get past Mexican border control be sewing himself into a seat… better luck next time mate).

THE APPLICATION

Be honest! Honesty as they say is the best policy and this is certainly relevant when it comes to your visa application. Any convictions? State them. Especially when visiting Australia.

A friend of mine didn’t mention something minor as he thought enough time had passed for it be wiped off of his record. He was wrong and on arriving in Sydney, he was held at passport control for an hour of questioning  as to why he ‘lied’ on his application before finally being sent on his way.

You’ll have what seems like endless amounts of paperwork to fill in, but persist. Fill in everything and leave as little as possible blank. If something isn’t applicable, make wonderful use of the legendary: n/a (not applicable). My applications looked like an array of n/a’s, but they were all proccessed with zero issues.

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MONEY TALKS

When backpacking and tackling anything legal, (more often than not) the universal language for swiftness and assistance is money. A lot of border and passport control officers (more common in less wealthy countries) will either advise there is an extra charge or that you are missing something in your documents that is required before entering. Would you believe it but most of these things you’re ‘missing’ can be fixed for just a small fee. I know, right! How incredibly convenient.

Cons are rife when travelling across the globe and you are bound to run into a few when processing paperwork that require approval. You can’t do much about it and its really not worth the hassle of piping up and having your say. It is just the way so many places on earth these days operate.

Generally speaking the amount of money you may have to part with in order to overcome these things will be very little. More often than not, you won’t even realise you’ve been conned. You’ll simply flash your documents and your passport, pay the ‘fee’ and breeze through the border. It won’t be until years later when you’ll think back…

‘Hang on… there shouldn’t have been a fee to pay when I entered that country….’

‘Oh that little ______ !!!’ (Insert your choice of word here)

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So there we have it. See, visa stress needn’t put a dampener on your big adventure. As it seems to be with many travel related bureaucracy matters, the more patient and prepared you are, the better. You won’t be able to foresee every situation, trust me, but as long as you’re at least a little prepared, you’ll be just fine. Now stop sitting around, get off your ass and go travel!visa-approvedPlease share with us any of your own advice or share stories of your own experiences. We’re always fascinated to hear.