Passport and visa. Tips and tricks
You need a valid identity card or passport for traveling abroad. When traveling outside Europe you must have a valid passport. Check the validity date of your passport well before departure.
There are countries that require your passport to be valid for 3 and sometimes even 6 months after your planned departure date from the country.
Make a copy of your passport. I even have 3 with me. Sometimes hotels or hostels ask to keep your passport temporarily. Not all reception desks are equally safe or easy to lock. A hotel often agrees with a copy of your passport.
I only have my passport with me on a travel day from A to B. My original On all other days I have a copy of my passport with me for identification.
There are a few sights in the world that require you to have your passport with you, such as the Forbidden City in Beijing and the UN office in Geneva. This information is online or you will receive it as soon as you book a ticket online or at an office. A reception at your hotel or hostel knows this too.
I put my original passport in the safe of the hotel room. Or in the locker in a hostel. I think the chance that your locker will be broken into is very small.
If you travel in a country where you do not know the language, and unexpectedly you have lost your passport or worse, it has been stolen. Then it will be easier if you can hand over a copy. They will already have most of the information they need.
Especially if you are going to travel longer and through several countries, it is useful that you still have enough space for visas. Some countries use a whole page. For those visas it is useful to have one or more passport photos with you.
A visa is a document to prove that you have permission to enter and stay in the country. That way, a country knows who wants to come and how long they want to stay. It is also a way of income.
The rules for a visa can differ between countries. Check for yourself what rules there are for your passport and the country you want to go to.
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In many countries you can arrange a visa on arrival. Regardless of whether you come by land, water or by plane. Sometimes it is only possible if you travel by plane or at larger border posts.
Buying a visa on the spot can take some time. Usually everyone on your flight has to arrange the visa. In most cases you have to pay for the visa in cash (almost everywhere they accept usd sometimes also euros) Cash and often the exact same. For this I often use my “emergency money”. You arrange the visa before customs. There is no ATM or payment machine in that room.
A visa on arrival is usually for a stay of up to 30 days (sometimes 60 or 90 days). If this is not enough for you, you can often arrange a visa in advance for a longer stay through the embassy. I pre-arranged that for Vietnam. I was short of 30 days in Vietnam.
If you decide on the spot that you would rather stay longer than the 30 days, there are options. Sometimes you can arrange and pay for an extension at a town hall or at a police station. Often the rule is that if you leave the country before 24/48/72 hours you will receive a visa for 30 days when you return. So take a trip after one of the neighboring countries and come back again.
For countries such as America, Canada and Australia you must arrange an electric visa in advance (ETA / ESTA). Very easy to apply online. Feedback is often within 24 hours. I had an agreement within 30 minutes. However, if you are unexpectedly refused, you will not get a refund of your flight ticket. So better to book a visa first and then a flight ticket
There are countries where the rules are stricter. And where you must have applied for your visa well in advance of arrival. Often the costs are also higher. In my case arranging a visa for China was the most lengthy process. You must have booked a departure flight. They want to know your entire itinerary and a confirmation of all your booked hotels. You must also indicate whether you are employed, self-employed or show the balance of your savings account. Your savings account must have at least EUR 100 per day that you stay in China.
Other countries where you have to arrange a visa before departure are for example Russia, Cuba, Myanmar. The rules can change very quickly. So check again shortly before departure how the rules are.
Costs of a visa vary from € 10 to sometimes € 200. Certainly a cost item to take into account. Arranging a visa in advance can take time. You will therefore not have a passport during that period.