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Things Travelers Need To Know

Passports and Visas


 

Passport, Visas, Customs
 

Some countries require that you apply for and be granted a visa before you will be allowed to travel in that country.  Visas are not required for entrance to any European country but are required by countries around the world.  Our article describes visas and the process of obtaining one should it be required. 

 

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Travel Advice - Visas

 A visa is an official document provided by the appropriate authorities in a country indicating that the person bearing the visa may visit the country for a specific amount of time, under specific conditions. Generally, the visa is in the form of a stamp that is placed on one of the pages of your passport.

When considering travel to a foreign country, you need to determine determine whether a visa is required to enter the country and how to acquire one if needed. Country specific guidebooks are a good source for regulations concerning visas.  In addition, we provide information on visa requirements for the countries we cover in the Destination Travel Guides section of ThereArePlaces.

 

Some countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond the dates of your proposed trip to that country. If the six-month rule is observed by the country you will be visiting and your passport will expire before this date, you will need to present your new passport before the visa will be granted.

A few countries, provide visa services at ports of entry (airports or docks for  cruises - but only if the cruise line has arranged for this special treatment). In all other cases, applicants must contact the embassy or consular offices of the country they wish to visit and request the forms to apply for a visa.

  • Generally, it is easiest to acquire a visa by mail.  We suggest using registered mail for the mailings, as you will have to submit the visa form, the fee, and your U.S. Passport in order to have your visa processed.
  • Mail the materials in a sturdy, safety envelope that is taped closed and stamped with the appropriate postage. Be sure to enter your address in pencil in the address page in your passport, so that it can be returned to you if it is separated from the other documents in the mail. Usually, you will be required to include a stamped, self addressed envelope for the return mailing of your passport and visa.

 

When your visa is returned, check it for errors and contact the embassy or consulate if errors were made. You will not be able to enter the country if the material on the visa does not match either the dates of your trip or the identifying information contained in your passport.

Some Middle Eastern or African countries will not issue visas or allow entry if your passport indicates that you have traveled to Israel.

  • If this is an issue for you, consult the National Passport Information Center for assistance. The new, general telephone number is 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). For TDD/TTY users, the number is 1-888-874-7793. Live operators are now available on weekdays from 8:00am to 8:00pm, Eastern Time.
  • Twenty-four hour, 7-day access to automated information continues to be available.

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