Top 5 Tips For Getting Visas on My Travels

As a visa veteran, travel geek and ultimate nerd for the insane wacaday nations that are unrecognised, I love the challenge of getting new visas. Whether it’s a visa for Iran, an expedited passport (pronto!) or indeed a china tourist visa, I have experience in all fields and so here are my top 5 tips for getting visas on my travels, and on yours.

Organising the visa for the Democratic Republic of Congo

1.Read ALL the details before applying

This is crucial. Whether it’s an online visa for Benin, an Embassy visa for Azerbaijan or a working visa for Saudi Arabia, the best way to ensure you get the visa is to cover all aspects of the application. I usually print out the application forms, check numerous websites and make sure I am detailed. This can still go wrong though, as I found out in Venezuela, in Algeria and recently in Rwanda when my friend’s “multiple entry visa” was reduced to a single entry…

How to get Saudi Arabia Visa Tourist

Backpacking in Saudi Arabia at the Hotel Show on a Business Trip

2.Get MORE than what you need

If they ask for 2 passport photos, bring 4 just in case. If they say the visa costs $50 US, bring a century. If they ask for hotel details, bring them as well as your tour bookings, flights or trains. Basically give the embassies more information than they request. Once they see you have everything they need and are well organised, they can’t help but give you that visa!

How to Get a Belarus Visa in Warsaw, Poland

How to Get a Belarus Visa in Warsaw, Poland

3.Be Patient

As much as I hate this point, it’s true sadly. Saudi Arabia took me almost 3 months to get, despite the fact I was working there for Young Pioneer Tours! Burundi took 4 weeks and yet Tajikistan took merely a few hours. However you must bide your time. And to do this, make sure you apply for the visa long in advance of your trip! Patience brings its rewards.

How to get an Ivory Coast Visa at Abidjan Airport

4.Respect the Rules

As a young backpacker I didn’t always like to respect the rules of embassies, consulates and visa companies. However, you need to respect the rules in order to secure the visa so please note this. If they ask for flight details, go and get them! If they ask you to “come back in a week” then do it.

My Visa for the Kingdom of Romkerhall

5.Be Persistent

Embassies have a habit of taking your passport and keeping it for weeks. The Algerian corrupt embassy in London infamously held onto my passport for about 3 months in 2015. I had to bribe them and the girl pocketed the cash, all this for a 17 hour transit visa and the worst country from my travels. My persistence paid off and that corrupt embassy won’t forget me. Just keep trying until you get success!

My Russian visa, for 4 days (96 hours), granted at Mamonovo, Kaliningrad.

My Kaliningrad Visa

As a final note, I thought I’d share some of the many visa articles I have written and shared over the years. I also got visas for these countries but have yet to write about them – Russia, Turkmenistan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Togo, Benin, Kenya, Rwanda, DR Congo and Burundi…



My Indian Visa – not actually needed for the permit though!

My visa for the Republic of Uzbekistan

How to get a Tajikistan Visa in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

How to get a Tajikistan Visa in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Getting an Afghanistan Visa in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Getting an Afghanistan Visa in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

How to Get A Bangladesh Visa in Hong Kong

visa for east timor

Getting my visa in East Timor.

hong kong working visa

A Guide to getting a Working Visa for Hong Kong.

north korea backpacking

The sky blue cover and tourist card for North Korea.

ethiopian visa addis ababa airport

A guide to getting an Ethiopian Visa at Addis Ababa Airport in Ethiopia.

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