As Europeans, we’re used to roaming here and there without borders or visas all through the European Union, which is great! A weekend in Prague, a short getaway to Italy, a couple of weeks in Portugal… So many countries and not a single limitation! But the story is different when we travel a little further away.
Visas for a trip around the world
For our world trip we obviously had to go through the “visa” experience, which is probably one of the most annoying of the preparations. Photocopies of all your documents, insurance certificates, confirmations for your return flights… The steps are quite long and frankly tedious for some countries, so we have decided to make it simply with a table summary.
Before we begin
But before getting to the point, there are some essential things worth considering:
- The period of validity of your passport must be at least 6 months after the date of entry into the country.
- Carry passport photos on you if you want to get your visas at the customs.
- Some agencies propose to take care of your visas, but beware of the service fee as sometimes it’s even more expensive than the visa itself!
- Some countries (specially in South America) don’t request visas for European citizens (yay!) while others (specially South East Asia) require expensive visas (boo!). Don’t forget to include their price in your budget (e.g. the visa for China is quite expensive!).
- Pay attention to the dates of validity of the visas. Some of them require you to enter the country some weeks after you get it (like China’s) while other determine an exact entry and exit date (like Vietnam’s)!
Visas for our trip around the world
For our part, we did not have many visas to get, but we decided to get them in advance (so we could preview our budget and also travel without many worries). We applied for our visa for China one month before the departure and Vietnam’s three months before departure.
Here you will find the visas and countries we’re going to be visiting during our trip around the world:
|China||You’ll need a tourist visa (L) and apply for it at a Visa for China official center (we went to Paris with the papers requested).
The list of documents required is quite long:
– A passport with a minimum validity of 6 months and two consecutive empty pages
– The completed visa application form (you can download it from here)
– A travel insurance certificate (to be asked to your insurance company)
– Booking confirmations of all the hotels where you’ll stay
– An income certificate or certificate of employment
– Financial certificate (bank statement or payroll certificate)
You’ll pay for the visa when you receive it.
Some online agencies offer to get your visa for you, but beware of scams and mafia! If possible, apply for the visa yourself directly at the official center.
|Japan||No visa required on presentation of a passport for a stay up to 90 days||/|
|Vietnam||You need a visa for stays longer than 15 days. We applied for a visa with a single entry to the Vietnam Embassy in Paris.
List of papers to provide:
– Application form
The visa can be applied for a year in advance, there is also the possibility of going through an agency or to do so by correspondence.
|Indonesia||No visa required on presentation of a passport for a stay under 30 days. If like us you decide to get the dates wrong when booking your flights, and then realize there’re no more free seats on other dates, you may choose between paying a fine of USD 20 per day or renew your visa for 30 more days for USD 35.||/|
|Australia||Request a visa for a stay of 3 months. For our part our agency will take care of it. It is free and valid for 1 year.||Free|
|Peru||No visa required on presentation of a passport for a stay under 6 months||/|
|Bolivia||No visa required on presentation of a passport for a stay up to 30 days||/|
|Argentina||No visa required on presentation of a passport for a stay up to 90 days||/|
|Brazil||No visa required on presentation of a passport for a stay up to 90 days||/|
The total price of the visas per person is €186, which is not very expensive as most of the countries we visit do not require a visa!
What to do if you lose your passport
Don’t panic! We don’t know any traveller who has been sent to prison for losing their passport. In the remote situation of losing your passport (or having it stolen, or dropping it while kayaking in Thailand), we suggest the following:
- Think in advance: before setting off, scan your passport and upload it to the cloud using free secure systems like Google Drive or Dropbox. This will definitely help to get your passport renewed and denouncing the loss or theft.
- Avoid carrying your passport on you except if it’s totally necessary. In any case carry a photocopy.
- In case of theft or loss, immediately get help from the local authorities (police then embassy or consulate).
- If it’s urgent, the consulate will give you a safe-conduct so you can get back home. Otherwise you will need to apply for an urgent passport (althought some countries don’t accept it!) which will normally take a couple of weeks.
We hope it we won’t need any of this!
And you, have you had good or bad experiences with your visas and customs?