Visa 101

How to get a Visa.

Visas have a lot of information and stipulations. I’m hoping this guide will help you in your travels.

Most countries you will attend will have a requirement for a visa. Some have to be purchased ahead of time, some can be bought upon entry, and price can vary quite a bit.

The best site to find the specific requirements for each country (from the US) is the US Department of State or from the UK is the travel advice section for the UK Government. Type your intended travels into the search bar and select your country. This will bring up everything you may need including travel advisories.

Let’s use Egypt as an example. For Egypt you will need to have at least 6 months validity left on your passport after your trip is to end, one blank passport page, and a visa. Egypt is one of the easier countries to obtain a visa because it can be purchased upon arrival in the airport.

China, however, is more difficult for a US citizen to gain a visa. Again, validity is 6 months but requires two blank passport pages. Each visa type has different instructions and can generally be found online. Depending on which visa you apply for you will have to send in your actual passport to a Visa Office of Chinese Embassy/ Consulate General based on your State of residence, proof of US residency, hotel bookings, flight information, etc.

All of this information can be found on China’s embassy page, however, my traveling friends have told me the easiest way to go through China’s process is to go to a Consulate or use a Visa service like Travisa or CIBT Visas.

Last piece of advice is to make sure you have plenty of time for these processes. Russia states it may take up to 20 business days for a visa application to be approved whereas some other countries don’t list a specific time frame.

I wouldn’t let visas deter you from traveling, instead, use it as a way to explore more about the country and their processes before arriving.

Vaccines and Travel

Worth it?

Um yes – they are mandatory. There are both recommended vaccinations and required vaccinations depending on your location.

The best way to find necessary vaccinations is by checking visa requirements. There are some helpful sites with this information and make sure you pay special attention to the time frame the vaccination is needed and keep all proper documentation.

Vaccines all travelers should have – Hep A, Hep B, Rabies, Influenza.

Here is a list of current vaccinations needed if coming from the US.

  • Afghanistan – Polio
  • Albania -Documentation required
  • Angola – Yellow Fever
  • Bangladesh – Hep A, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis, Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk or under 1 year
  • Benin – Yellow Fever
  • Bhutan – Documentation required
  • Bolivia – Yellow Fever
  • Botswana – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Benin – Yellow Fever
  • Burkina Faso – Yellow Fever
  • Myanmar/Burma – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Burundi – Yellow Fever
  • Cameroon – Yellow Fever
  • Central African Republic – Yellow Fever
  • Chad – Yellow Fever
  • Colombia – Yellow Fever, Documentation required
  • Republic of the Congo – Yellow Fever
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo  – Yellow Fever
  • Costa Rica – Yellow Fever
  • Djibouti – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Ecuador – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Equatorial Guinea – Yellow Fever, Polio Booster
  • Eritrea – Yellow Fever
  • Ethiopia – Yellow Fever
  • French Guiana – Yellow Fever
  • Gabon – Yellow Fever
  • Gambia – Yellow Fever
  • Georgia – Hep A, Pre-Exposure Rabies
  • Ghana – Yellow Fever
  • Granada – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Guinea – Yellow Fever
  • Guinea Bissau – Yellow Fever
  • Honduras – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk, measles, rubella, typhoid
  • India – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Ivory Coast/Cote d’Ivoire – Yellow Fever
  • Kenya – Yellow Fever
  • Lesotho – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Liberia – Yellow Fever
  • Madagascar – Yellow Fever
  • Malawi – Yellow Fever
  • Maldives – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Mali – Yellow Fever
  • Mauritania – Yellow Fever
  • Mauritius – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Mozambique – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Namibia – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Nicaragua – Yellow Fever
  • Niger – Yellow Fever
  • Nigeria – Polio, Yellow Fever
  • Oman – Yellow Fever
  • Pakistan – Polio
  • Panama – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Peru – Yellow Fever
  • Philippines – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Rwanda – Yellow Fever
  • Sao Tome and Principe – Yellow Fever
  • Saudi Arabia – Depends on your visa class
  • Senegal – Yellow Fever
  • Seychelles – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Sierra Leone – Yellow Fever
  • Singapore – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Somalia – Yellow Fever
  • South Sudan – Yellow Fever
  • Sri Lanka – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Sudan – Yellow Fever, Cholera
  • Suriname – Yellow Fever
  • Tanzania – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Thailand – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Togo – Yellow Fever
  • Uganda – Yellow Fever, Polio
  • Venezuela – Yellow Fever
  • Zambia – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk
  • Zimbabwe – Yellow Fever if coming from a location with risk

These are the current 2018 required vaccinations, however, some countries have other precautions you should be taking. Ex. Peru has some areas prevalent with the Zika Virus, Malaria, Dengue Fever, etc.

When looking at which vaccinations are required, be sure you’re getting them in the correct time frame for them to function properly and protect you.

Countries that require documentation of vaccinations generally follow the WHO International Certificate of Vaccination but could vary. The CDC recommends all US adults to have the following: Hep B, Rotavirus, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus Influenzae, Pneumococcal Conjugate, Inactivated Poliovirus, Influenza, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella, Hep A, Meningococcal, HPV, Pneumococcal Polysaccharide.

There are several places to get these vaccines. If your primary care physician doesn’t have access to these you can find a clinic online. The best source I have found is the CDC. You will have to find a clinic that is an authorized vaccine center so you can get proper documentation.

For all vaccine information from the CDC please visit their current information statement site. This will give you all information as far as how to document your vaccinations, if you’re eligible for them, who should avoid them, etc. Also, no matter what, be careful of your drinking water and food as this is how most diseases spread.

Vaccinate or don’t vaccinate your children – this is NOT that kind of post.

Just be aware of your health and required vaccinations for travel.