TAK­ING THE RIGHT STEPS

Mem­o­ries of a ru­ined hol­i­day prompt Steve Ja­cobs to check on visa re­quire­ments early when plan­ning travel

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - TRAVEL WISDOM | VISAS - SARAH NI­CHOL­SON

Week­end To­day’s Steve Ja­cobs has more stamps in his pass­port than most, but it was an ab­sent visa that put an abrupt halt to a dream South Amer­i­can va­ca­tion with his wife Rose.

“My wife’s bucket-list des­ti­na­tion is Rio, so on a work trip to Chile I de­cided to make her dream hap­pen,” Ja­cobs says. “We got through the air­port to board the flight when the air­line crew asked to see our visas for Brazil. I had one from a pre­vi­ous trip so I was al­lowed to board but not my wife, and be­cause I thought that may be a mar­riage-end­ing idea, our lug­gage went to Rio but we both stayed in Chile.

“I had ac­com­mo­da­tion and tours booked and pre­paid in Rio, which I lost, so it re­ally was a hol­i­day dis­as­ter and while I was even­tu­ally for­given, we still haven’t been to Rio to­gether.”

Af­ter his Brazil de­ba­cle, Ja­cobs now al­ways checks en­try con­di­tions early in the trip-plan­ning process and ac­cesses em­bassy, con­sulate and high com­mis­sion web­sites to con­firm a des­ti­na­tion’s rules and reg­u­la­tions be­fore lock­ing any­thing down.

“I now check all coun­try visa re­quire­ments thor­oughly as they can all be dif­fer­ent,’’ he says. “We’re cur­rently plan­ning a work trip to Ar­gentina and the con­sulate here in Aus­tralia phys­i­cally wants my pass­port to is­sue a work visa.”

WHAT IS A VISA?

“A visa is a form of per­mis­sion to en­ter a coun­try for a pe­riod of time and may be re­quired for tourism, work, ed­u­ca­tion and some­times even in tran­sit,V”IHa em­l­loawIl oer­slcdaTper­avel Cam­ber@wneelwl’sso.cwOnme.aruNatalie Daw says.

“Some of the most com­mon des­ti­na­tions for Aus­tralians need­ing a visa are China, Viet­nam and the US, and while some are is­sued eas­ily by an­swer­ing ques­tions on­line – like Amer­ica – oth­ers are dif­fi­cult and you don’t want to make any er­rors on a China ap­pli­ca­tion as they can be re­jected for corrections and leg­i­bil­ity.

“A travel agent will run through your whole travel itin­er­ary and ad­vise which coun­tries need a visa, and an

agent will hVIaveemaal­lIlthese­cape as to which v@is­naeswtso.caOpmp.layu for first if mul­ti­ple coun­tries all re­quir­ing visas are be­ing vis­ited.

“If an air ticket is pur­chased on­line, and the pas­sen­ger is un­aware that coun­try re­quires a visa, board­ing is de­nied and the air­line will not grant a re­fund, so it’s im­per­a­tive to know the le­gal re­quire­ments of the coun­tries you visit.”

GET GOOD I@NeFscOaRpeMs­nAaTpIsON

Th­ese days des­ti­na­tions gen­er­ally fall into four cat­e­gories. Some spots al­low trav­ellers to make visa-free vis­its; oth­ers re­quire a phys­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tion be made well in ad­vance

somOen­stimwIpt­tliefry of ar­rival; the process by al­low­ing o@nel­sic­naepree_q­teuaem­sts; and a few places al­low vis­i­tors to ob­tain a visa on en­try.

The De­part­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade’s Smar­trav­eller web­site is a re­li­able source for up-to-date in­for­ma­tion. The gov­ern­ment’s on­line re­source has a page ded­i­cated to each coun­try, with the rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion found un­der the “en­try and exit” head­ing; as well as links to trusted web­sites should ad­vance ap­pli­ca­tionVsIbae

While trav@enl se­cure the nec­es­sary paper­work, it’s also pos­si­ble for con­fi­dent trav­ellers to ob­tain their own visas by ap­ply­ing only through re­li­able web­sites, com­plet­ing each step in the process care­fully, us­ing Ex­press Post en­velopes when mail­ing pass­ports, en­sur­ing de­tails on money or­ders are cor­rect – and start­ing early.

PIC­TURE: ISTOCK

No visa, no en­try is the hard way Steve Ja­cobs found out about en­try re­quire­ments for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

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