Tag Archives: tourist visas

The Tourist Visa: A Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery Hidden Inside an Embassy

So lets start where everyone, at some point, has to start – the dreaded visa. For the last seven years I have wielded the almighty power of the British passport so I tend to forget that once in a while a country might demand a tourist visa. However, prior to that I had a South African passport which is hardly the ticket to the world so I am well versed in having to get visas to go absolutely anywhere and everywhere.

It just so happens that our first destination , Sri Lanka, is one of the countries that requires a visa and I must be honest so far the process has been painless. Sri Lankan passport control have implemented an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) system http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp?locale=en_US which consists of a simple online form  that requires your personal, passport, flight and  accommodation details. After paying the standard $30 I received an email stating they were processing my application and within five minutes (I’m not exaggerating, I double checked the times) I received an ETA approval email. When I get to the airport I need to produce my passport together with return air ticket (we have onward tickets to India) and proof of sufficient funds. From reading other online discussions sufficient funds can be proven with a credit card of cash to the value of $30 a day, some are saying $15 a day but most people seem to think $30 to be safe. Interestingly enough most discussions are saying that they have never been asked to show proof of funds so we’ll see how that goes.

This has got me thinking about other country requirements so I have taken our prospective list of countries and done some poking around on embassy websites, it looks like a few of the countries don’t require tourist visas or they can be purchased at the airport but some visas will need to be acquired before prior to arrival.

I have summarised the results below for anyone that’s interested.

Please note: This is based on having a British passport, make sure you check with the countries embassy before you travel as there is always the chance they change their laws.

Country Fees Notes
Myanmar (Burma) £14 You will need to get a visa before you travel. You should apply at the nearest Burmese Embassy or Consulate well in advance of travelling. Or Myanmar Visa has an online service www.myanmarvisa.com. You can stay for 4 weeks from date of arrival, extendable by 2 weeks = $36, 4 weeks = $72. If you enter Burma via the Muse (Burma Shan State) or Tamu (Burma Chin State) border crossings you must exit at the crossing from which you entered.
Thailand N/A  British passport holders arriving by air can enter Thailand for 30 days without a visa. If you’re arriving at an overland crossing, you’ll only be given visa free entry valid for 15 days.
Vietnam £75 From embassy, you can apply for Visa in person or by post. A 90-day, tourist, multiple-entry visa fee cost £95
Philippines  N/A You can enter the Philippines without a visa for an initial period of 30 days. You can also get a tourist visa from the Philippine Embassy before you travel, which will allow an initial 59 day stay
Laos $35  You can get a visa on arrival. If you are in the region, you can get a long-stay visa from the Laos Embassy in Bangkok or Hanoi. If you are in the UK the nearest Laos Embassy is in Paris.
Cambodia $20 You can get a visa on arrival at most ports of entry.
The Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs operates an electronic visa (e-Visa) which costs US $20 for 1 month, can be extended for only 1 extra month.
Payment is in $US only. You will need to bring 2 passport photos.
Hong Kong N/A You can visit Hong Kong for up to 6 months without a visa. If you are travelling to mainland China via Hong Kong you must get a Chinese visa before arrival at the border.
Malaysia N/A British nationals don’t need a visa to visit Malaysia. You will normally be given permission to stay for 3 months on arrival.
Bali, Indonesia $25 British nationals need a visa to enter Indonesia. You can get a 30-day visa on arrival
Singapore N/A You don’t normally need a visa to enter Singapore for stays of up to 30 days for tourism
China British nationals need a visa to enter mainland China, you must get a visa prior to arrival, including for Hainan Island.
India £92.20 You must get a visa before travelling to India. Up to 6 months
Sri Lanka $30 You will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. You can get a short stay visa through an online visa application process http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp?locale=en_US
Nepal $25 – $100 You will need a visa to travel to Nepal. Visas are available on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport and at some land borders. You can pay in pounds sterling at the airport. Bring two passport-sized photos with you.
15 days=$25, 30 days=$40, 90 days=$100