3 Shortcuts to Getting a Travel Visa for Your Next Trip
Visas can be one of the most confusing things to apply. Ranging in complexity from the simple ESTA application to the paperwork for some incredibly complicated United States visas, they can intimidate even the most seasoned of travelers. However, they are a necessity because we do need to travel. So, is there a simple way to obtain your visa? As it turns out, it’s all about understanding the basics first.
What’s a Visa?
Visas change by the nation and so can their definitions, depending on the country issuing the visa. At the heart of it, however, a travel visa is just a special document that says you have permission to enter a country. I like to think of it as an invitation card that you show at the ‘door’ of that country, much like you would show one at the entrance to a high profile wedding or a sorority party.
The difference between a visa and a regular invitation card, however, are all the rules that get attached to a visa. You’re going to that country for a certain amount of time and for a very specific reason. It could be that you’re going to work in that country or study, or for business or tourism. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, the government of the country you’re visiting will grant you a waiver, meaning you’re not required to obtain a visa to that country. In other cases, some countries don’t require you to apply for a visa if you’re visiting them for a specific amount of time, usually 90 days. However, in most cases, you have to apply for a visa before visiting a country.
Here are three shortcuts that will guide you on your journey to obtaining a travel visa to any country.
1. Find Out If You Really Need a Visa
As stated above, this is highly dependent on the country you’re visiting. You can start off by visiting the consulate website of the country you would like to travel to and find out this information for yourself. Sometimes, you can go to the immigration website of your own country and find a list of countries and whether you require a visa to travel to them or not.
There are plenty of countries that don’t require you to have a visa to travel to them. The famous Schengen Area is a good example. This is a region consisting mostly of European nations. There are 26 countries in the Schengen Area, and they allow you to visit them for a period of up to 90 days without requiring a visa. The Schengen Area stretches from Norway to Greece and is, in my opinion, one of the most tourist-friendly regions in the world. To be sure, however, you’ll still have to check the websites of these countries to make certain that you won’t need a visa for a short stay in them.
There are plenty of other countries outside of Europe that also allow you to visit for a period of up to 90 days without a visa. A good example is South Africa. Most of them, however, particularly East Asian countries, require you to have a visa to travel to them. It really doesn’t matter how long you’ll be staying in these countries.
To sum up, your first move is to check out the consulate or embassy website of the country you intend to visit. There you will find visa applications which you can download, print and fill in. You can then mail them back to the consulates and wait to be called in for the next step if you’re successful. There will be requirements for your visa, which change depending on the country you’re trying to visit. Be sure to find out all of them and fulfill them.
2. Find Out How Much Will Cost a Visa
Your visa is unlikely to be free. You’ll typically have to send a check or a money order along with your visa application for it to even be considered. You can find out how much your visa is going to cost on the consulate’s website for the country you intend to visit. This can range dramatically depending on which country you intend to visit. For example, it costs you only $76 to apply for an Indian visa. Meanwhile, going to Brazil will set you back $160.
3. Agencies Can Offer Assistance
The visa application process can be both long and frustrating, intimidating anyone who is approaching it for the first time. Luckily, you can make it much easier on yourself by seeking the help of an agency. These agencies will fill out all the paperwork for you at great speeds. In some cases, you’ll have your application filled out the very same day. They charge differently for their services. Sometimes, it can be as low as $100 and it can go up to $300. Compared to the time and effort associated with handling the visa application process yourself, as well as the risk of messing up, they can be a boon.
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