How to get a last minute travel visa


THE V SIGN

First things first, with last minute holidays: check your passport is valid. If you need to send it off for renewal, you are taking a big risk with booking at the last minute. If you go through our Travel Team, and also then get to deal directly with one of our tour operators, they will tell you if there are any last minute visa details that may prevent you from plumping for late availability in that country. They might also have to give you a letter to confirm that you are travelling – a requirement for many visas. And remember, you sometimes need to submit your passport to get a visa, and it often needs to have six months left on it before it expires. If you are booking as a UK citizen, your first port of call for entry requirements should be the FCO. If you are booking as a USA citizen, check out visa requirements here.

Read on to find out about the destinations that will involve a little more time, money and energy.
You can use companies that will help you gain a visa, but for a service charge. Usually between £50-£150, depending on the actual visa fee. They can be very useful, especially in the case of late availability. Two recommended companies include Travcour and Visa Central. You can lose a morning waiting for information with some embassies, so sometimes paying a company to help ease the pain is a good way to go when choosing how to get a last minute travel visa.

India


The visa application process was made simpler (and cheaper) in 2015. Over 100 nationalities are able to apply for the “e-Tourist visa”. Apply and pay online for holidays of 30 days max, make sure your passport has six months’ validity from the date of your arrival, has at least two blank pages, and apply a minimum of four days before you travel.

Russia


The ideal amount of time to get a visa is 1-2 months before you travel, and most citizens will need to apply in person at an application centre to submit fingerprint data. The processing time is on average 20 business days. And you also need an ‘invitation letter’ which your tour operator will organise for you. It is for single entry only, so if you are planning a trip with double entry, you need to specify this.

China


Chinese authorities require documents with details of accommodation and flights. Tour operators will be able to provide these, so it’s worth booking your flight through them if possible to avoid extra admin. You need to apply 4-6 weeks before you travel and give it a week to be processed. As of 2018, you'll need to apply in person and have your fingerprints scanned as part of the process.

Burma


It's best to give yourself eight weeks before you travel to get a Burmese visa. Apply online, however, and it can take just three days to process.

Vietnam


It varies from citizen to citizen, but most online e-visa applications should be processed in three days. Some citizens have it even easier (we're looking at you, visa-free UK folk). For others, it's best to get your application in six weeks before travel.
Tip: Holders of UK, Australian, New Zealand and most EU country passports can travel to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program, which allows you to stay for up to 90 days. You do need to apply online for this, however, from the oval via the US Embassy website's Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA)
Hello.
If you'd like to chat about last minute holidays or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team.
01273 823 700
Photo credits: [Top box - passport: King Huang] [Visa image: Jon Rawlinson]
Written by Catherine Mack
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