10 Tips to Acquire Your Travel Visas for Asia

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Asia is a vast continent with 48 countries and a population of 4.56 billion people, the most populous on the planet. Its varied destinations range from the deserts of Saudi Arabia to the futuristic cities of Korea and Japan, to emerging economic giants India and China. You could spend a lifetime visiting and getting to know this extraordinary part of the globe!

Of course, though, ahead of visiting Asia’s top attractions, sampling its weirdest foods, and becoming familiar with its diverse cultures, you need to organize the practical aspects of your journey. This includes your transport, accommodation, and, in many cases, your travel visa. With this in mind, find below 10 top tips to acquire your entry pass to the different countries of Asia. These will make crossing the border on your trip much easier.

Taking a photo of hot air balloons

1. Check Whether You’re Visa-Exempt for Your Destination

The first step regarding your travel visa is to check whether you need one! Depending on your nationality, you’ll be eligible to enter more or fewer countries in Asia without a travel pass.

For example, according to the latest global passport rankings, citizens of the UK can enter 131 countries worldwide visa-free, Australians 128 countries, Canadians 109 countries, Americans 105 countries, while Indian citizens can visit 54 countries without a travel pass.

2. If You’re Visa-Free for Your Destination, Confirm the Conditions

Notably, even if you’re visa-exempt for the country you’re visiting, there will still be conditions to keep in mind. Among other things, these could include how long you’ll be eligible to visit, whether you can extend your stay, and how long your passport must be valid.

These terms differ across Asia. For example, the Philippines allows citizens of 157 countries to enter visa-free, in most cases for 30 days. Yet citizens of Brazil and Israel can enter for 59 days, while nationals of Hong Kong and Macau can only remain for 14 days. So this is worth confirming before you go!

3. If You Do Require a Visa, Find Out What Kinds Are Available

Once you’ve confirmed whether you need a visa, if you do, the next step is to see what sorts your destination country offers. Generally, there are three main kinds in Asia these days, namely the eVisa, VoA, and traditional embassy visa. Here’s a brief guide to each type:

  • e-Visa – This is the most convenient sort of travel pass, as you apply for and acquire it entirely online in advance.
  • VoA – You apply for this sort of entry document when you arrive at your destination’s customs checkpoint, typically after getting off your flight.
  • Embassy visa – This is when you must visit your destination country’s nearest embassy or consulate to acquire your travel visa.

Generally speaking, if you can acquire an eVisa, it’s a quicker and easier option than the other two, for example with a website like Byevisa.com.

4. Ensure That You Comply With the Visa’s Requirements

When you’ve confirmed that you’re eligible for a visa and what sort there is, the next step is to check that you fulfill its application requirements. Here’s a list of the most common things you’ll be asked for when applying for a visa:

  • A passport with at least six months of validity remaining.
  • An email address, if you’re applying for an eVisa, where your document will be sent.
  • Your personal and passport details to fill in the application form.
  • A copy of your passport’s personal bio page (the page with the photo).
  • A recent passport photo or two.

5. Apply for your Visa to Match Your Travel Dates

Usually, your destination country’s embassy or website will tell you roughly how long it will take for your visa application to be processed. The timeframe can vary from virtually instantaneous to several weeks, depending on where in Asia you’re going. As such, check up on the estimated visa processing times well in advance to ensure your travel dates coincide.

6. Look Up What Visit Conditions Your Visa Has

Each Asian country’s travel visa offers different visit conditions. For instance, you may be permitted to enter the country once and stay for up to 30 days. On the other hand, you could be allowed to enter and exit your destination country as often as you like during your visa’s validity timeframe and stay for up to three months or more.

What’s more, some countries even offer a variety of visit visas to match different travelers’ preferences. India, for example, offers three travel permits online: (1) a 30-day Double Entry visa, (2) a 1-year Multiple Entry visa, and (3) a 5-year Multiple Entry visa, in which case you could thoroughly explore this vast South Asian country!

7. Distinguish How Long Your Visa’s Valid for From How Long You Can Visit

It’s important to note that a visa’s total validity period and how long you can stay in your destination country can often differ. For example, Turkey’s eVisa is valid for 180 days from the date of issue, yet it allows you to visit for either 30 or 60 days depending on the one you choose. So, why is there this distinction? Well, it’s to give you time to enter the country, then stay for the fullest period available.

8. Find Out If You Need to Take a Copy of Your Visa With You

If you’ve obtained an e-Visa, you’ll typically receive a confirmation email once your application has been approved. From there, though, whether you need to print the travel pass to take with you on your trip differs between destinations. Some countries link your visa approval to your passport electronically, while other countries still want you to show a paper copy.

9. Check Whether You Need to Keep Your Visa With You

Depending on your destination, you could be required to keep your visa, or a copy, with you while you’re out and about. This is in case you’re asked to show your travel permit by the authorities. If you are, then it’s worth photocopying your travel document and storing at least one copy in your accommodation as a backup, and to have with you for your return journey home.

10. See If You Can Extend Your Visa’s Validity Once You Arrive

It’s worth finding out if you can extend your visa when you get to your destination. You may want to do this if, once you’re there, you’re having such a great time that you decide to stay longer! Fortunately, depending on what country you’re visiting, this could be possible. For example, Oman’s 30-day visit visa can be extended by another 30 days.

To conclude, you now have a clear overview of how to apply for your travel visa for your trip to Asia, as well as the factors to have front of mind. Whether you’re backpacking in Vietnam, road-tripping across India, or exploring China’s many palaces and museums, this guidance will stand you in good stead to make obtaining your travel documents as simple as possible.

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Meghan Waters Mbaye

Meghan is a contributor for Backpacker Travel. She is an avid traveler who is always up for a new adventure. Meghan loves exploring new parts of the world, especially in Africa and Latin America.

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