Sunday, April 17, 2011

Basic Visa tips


Entry date reminder

entry date

Don't forget when will your visa will expire

When applying for a Visa, you’ll need to write an entry date on the application, but backpackers may find it hard to predict the exact date that they’ll arrive. Usually, you can just put down an estimated date. Here’s a tip, pick an earlier date, rather than a later one. If you pick an early date and arrive later, it shouldn’t be a problem, but not the other way around.

If you’re worried about arriving earlier than anticipated, check with the Visa issuer first before you leave. In most cases, the dates can’t be changed, but they can add a remark and things should be fine. Bear in mind that the moment you enter the country, the countdown on your Visa’s validity begins, and you mustn’t make an exit after your Visa has expired!

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Border Crossing Tips

Border CrossingBorder crossings can be much more challenging as compared to entry by flight. In most cases, Visa counters aren’t open 24-hours a day at the border. This means, if you arrive during non-office hours, be prepared to wait there!

Basically, there are two main types of border crossings

– ‘international crossings’ and

- ‘local crossings.’

You should also be informed that some border crossings are open only to locals and not foreigners.

One of the most alarming things about border crossings is the scams. Basically, the officials there will ask you for more money for the Visa, etc. Usually, you can worm yourself out of extra payments by saying that you’ve checked with the ministry of foreign affairs and their immigration department, and that you know how much the Visa is exactly. Usually, they won’t make things difficult for you if you know the ins and outs or are prepared.

Don’t be perturbed by this though, border crossings can be fun. Since not many tourist opt for it, things are usually more casual and you have some time to befriend the locals Before attempting a border cross, however, scope the nearest town from the checkpoint and if public transport is available.

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Visa for Kids

Many travellers are unsure of whether or not they need to apply for a Visa for their children, but as a rule, if the child has a passport, he or she will need a Visa, regardless of the child’s age. But, if your child does not have a passport yet, please do speak with the Visa issuer and ask about your child’s Visa requirements before you travel. Applying for a children’s Visa is about the same as applying for an adult’s one, although you may need to submit a few additional documents.

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Getting a Visa

For people who rarely travel, getting a Visa seems like such a hassle, but please don’t worry, as you do have several options. Let’s discuss the three approaches that you can explore to obtain a Visa:

i. Apply from an embassy


If you are planning to visit Vietnam, you can apply for Visa at the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your country. To search for an embassy near you, just use key words like ‘Vietnam Embassy in (your country).’ If you can’t find one, you can post your passport to a neighbouring country. Do check with the embassy before you post, or ask a travel agent if they can arrange a Visa run, which is basically the same thing, only they go to the embassy for you. With an embassy application, sometimes, you’ll be asked to attend an interview. Once the embassy issues the Visa, it will be stuck onto your passport before you leave the country.

ii. Visa on arrival


Some countries offer a ‘Visa on arrival’ (VOA) or ‘on-ground Visa’ option. The VOA counter will be clearly marked at the airport. Basically, your Visa will be stamped on your passport when you enter the country you are visiting. Usually, you will need to pay a stamping fee.

Some countries, like China, for example, require their citizens to show a valid Visa before flying out from country. In these cases, Vietnam can issue a pre-approval letter, approval code or invitation letter, which will verify that you will get a Visa on arrival.

iii. Electronic Visa


Countries like Cambodia and Australia have electronic Visas or e-Visas. Your application is performed online, and once approved, your Visa can be obtained by email or by downloading it from their website. You just need to print it out and attach it to your passport.

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What does a Visa look like?

Stamped Visa

What does your visa look like?

Let’s talk about the forms that Visas take, shall we? Well, some countries issue Visas in the form of stickers, which is about the size of one page in your passport. All you need to do is stick it into your passport, and you’re all set.

Another type of Visa is one stamped directly onto your passport. It usually has a date which states when you’re entering the country and the Visa’s validity period. When you exit the country, they’ll stamp it again with the date of exit.

Last, but not least, is the self-printed Visa, which is usually in the form of an image or just a number that the immigration can use to check your Visa’s authenticity. This also means that you’ll have to make the number ready for immigration counters to cross check with their systems.

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Tips for Online Visas

Online Visas

Useful Tips You Can Use to Apply Travel Visa Online

Picture this scenario, you see a blank page on your computer, you press ‘next’ and it takes forever to load. What’s up? If this happens to you while you’re in the process of applying for an online Visa, make sure that you’re not uploading an image that’s not too big in size. Resize your picture and try again. If not, try with another computer or a different web browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox.

Another good tip is to have your passport with you while you’re making an application, you’ll definitely need some of the info in there. If you’re applying for friends, make sure you’ve gotten all their details and pictures before you start. This will save you a lot of grief.

Other than credit card payments, many online Visa portals accept Paypal. At the payment page, they will prompt you to log in to your Paypal account using your email address, and then you can make the payment from there. In some countries, you’ve got to go through an extended program in Paypal to verify your credit card.

Always enter your application in ENGLISH (Roman alphabet), not in Chinese or Japanese characters, and make sure you review all your information, especially your passport number and date of birth.

If you have two nationalities, pick one to enter. Use the one where you’re most likely to be approved. If you were born in the country you wish to visit, but are now holding a foreign passport, please check with their embassy. In Cambodia, for example, you need to apply for a special Visa, not a tourist Visa if you were born there. And, in Vietnam, if you were born there, you’re exempted from getting a Visa.

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