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Do I Need A Visa?

Visa Information Requirements Tourist Business

visa, passport front cover, travel documents,Do I need a visa for (fill in country name here) is one of the most common questions travelers ask. Most of the time it's one of the trickiest to answer: Often, the fast answer is, It Depends.

Will my travel agent get me a visa? No. Your travel agent or tour company may offer to check to see if you need a visa before you travel, or if one will be issued upon arrival, but they cannot apply for one on your behalf.

Who Needs a Visa? IF you need a travel visa and WHEN/WHY you need a travel visa depends on your answer to preliminary questions:

  • Where are you going? And here you want the country name, not the city name. Visas are issued by the country, not the municipality.
  • Where are you from? This usually refers to your residency and your citizenship.
  • Are you traveling on holiday? If yes, then you likely need a tourist visa.
  • Are you traveling on business? Any commerical or business activities usually require a business visa, and may have different valid  time periods than tourist visas.
  • How long do you plan to stay? Some tourist visas are valid for 30 days from issue, some for 90 days, and some as long as 6 months.

Do I Need a Visa for China?

Yes, you likely will need a visa for China.  China is one country that usually DOES require a visa for all visitors. 
Note: Hong Kong is a special region, and short term visitors usually do not need a visa for Hong Kong.
Check here: The search box is preset to USA and Canada, but change it to any other destinations.



Find out if you need a visa well before you plan to travel. Each country has its own requirements. If you do not live in a city that has an offical visa issuing office, usually a consulate or embassy for the country you are traveling to, then you will have to mail or courier your application to one.

Note:  USA and Canadian citizens: Visa HQ can apply for a travel visa on your behalf. Yes, there's a fee, but for busy people that's a minor detail :-)  The company also offers passport services for citizens of the USA and Canada. Check for visa info rates and services.

How Long Will it Take? Allow enough time to get together passport photos, fill in the visa application, and courier along with your passport to the visa issuing office. Also allow enough time for the visa to be processed and returned to you. Once your application arrives in the issuing office, it could take up to a week. If you are booked to travel soon, then call the issuing office to discuss how to speed it up.

Additional Travel Documents: I've listed visa information on Snapshot Journeys country home pages, with additional notes and / or links to the appropriate embassy or consulate if there are other requirments. For example:

  • Chile charges Canadians and other nationalities a reciprocity tax due to issues Chile has with the Government of Canada. But this is something you pay for upon arrival (by air).
  • Ethiopia requires proof of Yellow Fever vaccinations.

There are a lot of countries and likely a lot of specialized requirements that can change at any time. If you're planning a trip, then be sure to get your travel documents in order as far in advance as you can. (see tips page).

Have a great trip!