Jul 15 2018

How to Apply for a Visa

First things first: What is a visa?

A visa is a document issued by a government official that proves you are allowed to enter a particular country for a specific length of time and for a specific reason. It’s most often represented by a stamp or sticker that is placed directly into your passport, which you can show to Immigration officials upon entering and exiting a country.

Each country has wildly different visa application procedures, pricing, and requirements. Some can be applied for online with nothing but passport details, while others require in-person applications and lots of supporting materials. You’ll likely need at least one completely empty page for your visa.

I’m not sure I need a visa. How do I figure it out?

Whether you need a visa or not, and which type, depends on which country issued your passport and where you’re going. It’s important to check every time you book a trip. Even if you’ve traveled to the same destination before, requirements change frequently.

The website www.visahq.com has an easy to use search function that will tell you if you need a visa or not. If you’re a US Citizen, you can also doublecheck visa requirements for entry and exit on the State Department’s website.

I know I need a visa. How do I get one?

ACFEA cannot process visas on your behalf, but we are happy to offer guidance.

Some visas must be obtained by appearing in person at the consulate nearest you. It’s best to consult the destination country’s consular information page (usually on their Embassy’s website) for the current visa procedures.

If appearing in person is not required, and you’d like to use a third party to process the visas, we recommend our partner, Passport Visas Express. They process visas for a per-person fee in addition to the visa cost and a one-time shipping fee for return postage; the process is simple, streamlined and efficient. You can learn more at passportvisasexpress.com, by calling (888) 596 6028, or following the link on Tour Central.