Everything you need to know about tourist visas, including how to get one!

Travelling soon? Unsure about whether you need a tourist visa? Need to find out how to get one? All the answers to your visitor visa questions can be found right here.

If the country you are travelling to does not have a travel agreement in place with your home country to allow you to enter without a visa, then you will need to apply for a tourist visa. Some countries have agreements in place where citizens of one country can freely travel to the other without a visa. Examples of visa-free borders are Canada and the US, or Australia and New Zealand.

What is a tourist visa?

If there is no agreement in place between your country and the one you are heading to then you will need a travel visa. Such countries will not allow you to simply turn up at the port of entry and will require you to apply for a visitor or tourist visa prior to entering. Such a visa will give you a certain amount of time to remain in the country, but you will need to leave before the visa has expired.

Is there a difference between a tourist visa and a visitor visa?

Not much! Visitor, tourist and travel visas are terms used interchangeably to describe a visa that permits you to visit a country for tourism purposes only. There may be different categories of visitor visa, such as one for business but generally they are all used to permit short stays. Just make sure you use a specialist company to ensure you are applying for the right visa and in the category. Take it from me, the last thing you want to do is turn up somewhere on the wrong visa, something I did once and ruined the start of my trip!

How do I know if I need a visa?

Some of the tourist visa websites have some great tools that enable you to search by your nationality and see a complete list of countries where you need a tourist visa. One website I found very helpful was Byevisa (https://www.byevisa.com).

When should I apply for a tourist visa?

It will depend on the country but some visas can be arranged in as little as 24 hours but others can take much longer. So don’t leave it to the last minute. Find out first how long you will need to allow.

Can I extend my visa when in the country?

It depends on the reason you want to extend it. If it is for medical reasons, or situations like the COVID outbreak then yes, there are generally concessions to enable you to stay longer. Arranging your tourist visa through a professional service provider will mean that, should you be in a situation where you need advice, you can reach out to your consultant to find out what your extension options are.

Can I undertake any work such as have business meetings on a tourist visa?

No, tourist visas only permit you to be in the country for leisure purposes. If you intend on carrying out any business related activity then you need to apply for a visitor visa that permits this. Most countries offer a visa that allows you to be there on business, but check to see whether this is something you need to arrange in advance.

How much does a tourist visa cost?

It will depend on the country you are going to but for a full list of countries and details about the application process and respective prices you can look at the website of the visa company recommended earlier in this article.

What documents do I need for a tourist visa?

You will be guided through the required documents when you complete your application but most visas are now electronic tags so you will not need to send your passport away.

Will I need to have 6 months on my passport?

Yes, most countries will require you to have a minimum of 6 months validity on your passport.

How do tourist visas work?

Most tourist visas can be applied for online. Once you complete the application form your consultant will process your visa and in most cases this will be an electronic or e-visa meaning that you do not have to send your passport away.

What does a tourist visa look like?

It depends on the country, you may have a vignette (a paper sticker) in your passport, a stamp or it could be electronically linked to your passport. Most likely though is an e-visa which is a digital visa and is linked to you via your passport number. E-visas do not require you to send away your passport. All types of tourist or visitor visa will provide you with the ‘valid-to’ date so you know when the visa will expire.

Will I receive a physical visa in my passport or will it be an electronic visa?

Most tourist visas are electronic and nothing is added into your passport.

How will I prove I have a visa to enter the country?

If you have an e-visa then you will receive confirmation via e-mail so you can carry this with you. E-visas are typically linked to your passport number and therefore a physical visa is not required.

How do I get a tourist visa?

To ensure you have the correct visa for the purpose of your trip, and to ensure you have access to ongoing advice we recommend you engage the service of a dedicated tourist visa company. You cannot put a value on having someone to contact should you be in a situation outside of your control whilst overseas, COVID being the prime example here!

How many tourist visas can you apply for?

Each country has its own limits with regards to how often you can visit in a specific period. It’s a good idea to know this in advance to ensure your plans are not impacted.

What happens if I make a mistake with the dates?

If your visa has already been processed, then you will probably have to cancel and re-apply again with the correct dates.

If I need to cancel my travel plans should I cancel my visa?

It is not always necessary to cancel your visa as once the validity period has passed the visa will expire, so no action should be required. If you decide not to travel and already have your visa then speak to your consultant who can double check the cancellation terms for that specific visa.

Where can I apply for a tourist visa?

Understanding the ins and outs of visa applications can be overwhelming and having a knowledgeable consultant to guide you through can make the process far less complicated. Look for a visa company that offers you a human to talk to so that you can check you are applying in the correct category.