Monday, January 2, 2012

Singapore Citizen’s Travel Visa Guide

Singaporeans are the most well-travelled people in the Asia Pacific region according to the Channel News Asia based on a survey conducted by MasterCard that during the month of August 2011. The survey revealed that 85% of Singaporeans made at least one international leisure trip within the 12 month’s period the survey was conducted.

Having the passion for travelling, this guide for the latest visa requirement for popular travel destinations in Asia will be useful for Singapore citizens who are planning to secure an air ticket booking to spend a holiday abroad. This guide covers the Singapore citizens, holders of passport issued in Singapore and those who were born in Singapore who wish to attain Tourist Visa, not including Business and Diplomatic Visas.

Applying for a Tourist Visa can be sorted out in three categories – no advanced planning, three-day preparation and two-week preparation.

Asian countries like Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, India and Indonesia fall to the “no advanced planning” category. It means that a tourist visa will be granted automatically upon arrival to the airport thus no pre-arrangements or payments are necessary.

The number of days a tourist was allowed to stay or the date a tourist must leave the country will be stamped in the passport by the immigration officer. That stamp will serve as a “visa” which allows the tourist to enter the country multiple times within the specific number of days, starting from the date of arrival. It is also known as ‘a multiple entry visa’.

For countries like India and Indonesia, a visa on arrival comes with fee. Visitors will be asked to approach the ‘visa-on-arrival counter’ to submit a visa application. A passport sized photo will be required along with the stamping fee.

While other countries grant visa upon arrival, some countries in Asia such as Australia require visitors to submit a visa application in advance, before arrival to the entry point. Processing period takes at least three working days. Applying for visa can be done online without handing over the original passport then the letter of approval will be sent through e-mail. A visa will be valid only for a particular period of time thus the applicant will be asked to enter the country within a specific number of days. Some nations will grant the visa without payment however some will ask visitors to pay for a stamping fee at the visa-on-arrival counter.

On the other hand, tourist visa application for some countries such as Myanmar and Russia take around two weeks processing period. In this case, an applicant must approach the embassy of the country he/she wishes to visit to apply for a visa. Another option will be through travel agent as they have “runners” who can process the application in the embassy without the presence of the applicant. Usually the validity of the visa begins once it has been issued, not on the day the visitor arrived in the country.

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