Pre-Trip Planning: Visas and Vaccinations

I’ve briefly touched upon this topic in recent posts, but I wanted to go into more detail and provide a bit more help in what can be quite a confusing travel area – what to do when getting vaccinations and visas for different countries around the world.

So let’s start with Visas (please bear in mind that this information applies mostly to British Citizens):

USA: You’ll need to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before you enter the States. It allows you to stay for up to 90 days, costs about $14 and is so simple to apply for.

Canada: For stays up to 6 months, most people do not need a visa. However, if you want to study for longer than 6 months or work in Canada you will need to apply for a visa.

Australia: Much like the USA, Australia now requires visitors to apply for an electronic visa before they travel. It’s called an ETA (Electronic Tourism Authority) visa, allows you to stay for three months, and again, is so simple to apply for.

New Zealand: British Citizens can stay in New Zealand for up to 6 months without needing to get a visa, and most other nationals (inc. Canada, USA and other EU) can stay for up to 3 months, whilst Australian citizens can stay indefinitely.

Thailand: Most nationals can stay up to 30 days (if arriving from an international airport) or 15 days (if arriving by land from a neighbouring country) without a visa.

Cambodia: All nationals are required to have a visa to stay in Cambodia, but it is easy enough to get this 30-day tourist visa upon arrival. Another option is to apply for an e-visa, allowing the simplicity of paying online and receiving your visa via email.

Vietnam: Like Cambodia, the majority of nationals need a visa to enter Vietnam, and you need to obtain your visa prior to travel. Go to the Vietnam Embassy in your country with your passport, the visa form and a form of payment, or send these items off by post. It takes about 10 days in total to get the visa sorted and sent back to you, but all in all, it’s a pretty simple process.

Laos: Nationals of most western countries require a visa to travel to Laos. The easiest thing to do here is to get a visa on arrival for roughly $35, which lasts for up to 30 days.

China: Most nationals require a visa to travel to China, however one of the main exceptions to this rule is that British Citizens travelling to Hong Kong only can stay for up to 180 days. Otherwise, single entry visas cost £30 and are valid for three months.

Japan: Nationals of the UK can stay in Japan without needing a visa for up to 6 months, whilst nationals of the USA can stay visa-free for up to 90 days.

These are just a small percentage of the countries for which you might need a visa, so please visit Project Visa or World Travel Guide for more info (or go direct to a country’s embassy).

And now for Vaccination information:
The best way to find out what vaccinations you need for specific countries is to go to the NHS site called Fit For Travel, which will provide you with information on each country and its risks.

As a general basis though, you should make sure you are covered for Hepatitis A, Typhoid and DPT (Diphtheria, Polio and Tetanus), plus any country specific immunisations such as Hepatitis B, Rabies, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Cholera (a rather yucky drink) and of course Malaria (available in a number of different types of pills, with varying prices and side effects).

*Please note: these lists are by no means definitive, so for visas check with the embassies of the countries you are visiting and for vaccinations talk to your GP or Travel Clinic for more details.

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