visas, visas, visas - part 2
Hilversum Travel Blog› entry 7 of 8 › view all entries
I realised that so far my blog has been mainly me rambling about whatever came to mind as I am preparing this trip. So far it has been rather light on actual information, so I figured I'd help future travellers by giving some pointers on visa requirements for the countries on my itinerary. Obviously visa requirements differ for each nationality, I'll try to list as much info as I can.
Ukraine - no Visa required for EU or US citizens.
Turkey - EU, US, Canadian and Australian citizens can get a visa on arrival at any border crossing. Costs approx €15
Georgia - no visa required for EU, US or Canadian citizens
Armenia - Visa required for all nationalities. Costs approx €45
Azerbaijan - Visa on arrival can be obtained at Baku airport only. For entry by land visa is required for all nationalities. Additionally proof of hotel reservation is needed. Costs approx €60 for 1 month, single entry or €120 for double entry. For €250 you can get a multi-entry visa which is valid for a year.
Iran - Visa required for all nationalities. Official invitation from a company/agency in Iran is needed. Visas can be granted for 14, 30 or 60 days, but it will be a surprise what kind of visa you will be granted. Rule of thumb is to always apply for a larger visa than you need, so if you plan on travelling Iran for 2 weeks, then apply for a month, if you plan for a month, apply for two. Five day transit visas are also available. Visa costs approx €85 for one month. Additional note: you passport should not contain any indication that you have ever visited Israel, or you will be denied entry, even if you have a valid visa.
Turkmenistan - In general a tourist visa will be valid for no more than 5 or 10 days. Business visas can be granted for up to a year. An official approval of Turkmen immigration service is needed, as is proof of onward journey and/or a visa for one of the neighbouring countries. On top of that you need to specify on which day you intend to arrive and at which border crossing. (thankfully you don't need to specify the time and colour of your shirt as well, but it wouldn't surprise me, really). Visas costs between €35 and €75 depending on the length.
Uzbekistan - Official invitation/permission is needed before you can apply for a visa. AIDS test results may also be required for the permission. Visa costs approx €80 for 1 month.
Tadjikistan - If you are travelling overland proof of visa for a neighbouring country is required. Not entirely surprising considering this country borders Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and China!
Visa costs €45 for 15 days, €50 for 30 days, €70 for 90 days. Travel permit for the Pamir highway costs an additional €20. Trekking in Gorno-Badakhstan, Zor-Khul, the Pamirs or any general area over 6000 metres require additional permits which need to be obtained locally.
Kyrgyzstan - The most straightforward all the Stans. All you need is a passport and a spare passphoto and they will grant you a tourist visa. The only drawback is that multi-entry visas are ridiculously expensive. A single entry visa costs €65 (14 days), €75 (1 month), €115 (3 months), but the cheapest multi-entry visa will cost you €150.
Kazakhstan - Fairly straightforward, unless you are applying for a multi-entry visa, which requires special permission of Kazakh immigration. An AIDS test may also be required. Visa costs approx €45 for 1 month, single entry.
India - Of all the countries on my itinerary this may be the country that welcomes the most tourists annually. Yet its visa requirements are changing regularly. Currently they only give out visas for maximum validity of three months, i.e. you need to arrive in the country within three months after receiving your visa. Additional permits are needed for travelling in Ladakh, Kashmir and other disputed regions. Visa costs €65 for single entry visa for 3 months.
Nepal - Visas are required for all nationalities, but there are no real issues in obtaining one, although... officially you need proof of onward journey in order to get a visa, so my plan to enter and leave overland may pose some issues. Haven't figured it out completely yet. Visa costs approx €35
China - Visa regulations for China change more often than the weather. Currently everything seems to be ok, since there aren't any Olympic games or something like that planned in the near future. However, sometimes they will only allow people to visit the country when they are on a pre-booked trip. With the amount of business people entering China on a (cheap) tourist visa, this rule may be reinforced again. Visa costs €55 for 3month/2 entries
Tibet - Permits are only available for group travellers, or they can be obtained in Chengdu. It is also possible to visit Tibet from Kathmandu, Nepal, but apparently you will then be placed on a group visa, forfeiting the visa in your passport. Permit costs € 110
Laos - Visa on arrival at Vientiane airport. Otherwise visa has to be pre-arranged via an embassey, or the consulate in Kunming. Costs around € 40
Thailand - No visa needed for most Western countries.
Myanmar - Visa required for all nationalities, arrival has to be within 3 months after issueing visa. Costs approx € 40
Malaysia - No visa required for most Western countries
So there you have it! Money well-spent, I hope. Some of the countries I plan to stay only a couple of days have quite strict (and expensive) visa requirements, so I may end up skipping one or two... or not... We'll see. Now what did I do with the results of my last AIDS test...? :S