Don’t forget to check if you need a visa, what the requirements are, and how long the processing time is.
A very important item that should be on your to-do list before you travel is checking visa regulations – and early!
Regulations change from destination to destination, and can vary due to the nationality of the visa applicant. Also, don’t rely on word of mouth because requirements can change and what applies for someone else may not apply for you. It is so important that you check visa regulations and how long processing time is. If the processing time is 2 weeks, you should allow some additional time in case there are complications. Some countries have very strict requirements, even for a tourist visa, so make sure you an fulfill the requirements before you apply. You also need to check whether you need to physically need to visit a consulate in order for your visa to be successful.
Some examples (from personal experience as a UK passport holder):
- As a UK citizen applying for a Chinese tourist visa, we needed to supply an itinerary of our entire expected stay in China. We also had an invitation letter from a friend in China, although this is not always necessary if you can fulfill other requirements.
- For Russia, we would be expected to go to a Russian embassy in order to apply for a tourist visa.
- However, we did not need to apply for a visa to visit Japan.
- For Australia, we had to apply online for a tourist visa – but it was free
Remember, if you don’t get the correct visa, you could find yourself on the next plane back home.