Needing to send your passport away for a visa is slowly starting to become a thing of the past as more and more countries come on board with e-visas and visas on arrival.
E-visas are visas that you apply for online. You enter your details, usually upload a photo, pay the fee and generally within a day or two you get your approval letter by email. It doesn’t guarantee you entry into a country but it means you have the necessary paperwork to enter when you front up to immigration.
Visas on arrival mean that when you rock up to a country, you can apply for a visa at the airport. It’s a simple process of filling out the paperwork, often providing a photo and paying the fee. In many cases such as Egypt and Jordan, a visa on arrival is merely just a formality to enter the country and all you do is pay a fee.
The information below relates to Australian passport holders only based on my experiences and relates to tourist visas only.
Note that the information in this article is correct as of August 2017 but is subject to change at short notice. For up to date entry information for Australian passport holders, take a look at the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website.
You can now apply for a 90 day visa for Turkey online via https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/
This is an easy site to navigate. It’s also possible to get a visa on arrival in some entry points such as the Istanbul Ataturk International Airport, but the e-visa avoids at least one queue. Istanbul’s airports (there’s two international airports) get very busy so be prepared for huge queues even if you have the e-visa. The visa fee depends on your nationality.
Myanmar has only recently introduced an e-visa system, making it easier than ever to visit the country. It’s easy to apply online at https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/ and pay the fee for a 28 day visa. Visa applications are usually approved within three days and you will receive the approval via email.
You have 90 days to enter Myanmar from the date the visa is approved and can stay for 28 days once you enter the country. When you arrive in immigration, you’ll need to hand over a printed copy of your approval letter to the immigration officer. Ports of entries for tourists with an e-visa are listed here: https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/visafees.aspx
You can get your 30 day e-visa for Sri Lanka at http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/
It’s also possible to get a visa on arrival but it’s a lot more efficient to organise your visa beforehand. The Sri Lankan e-visa provides a double entry as long as you don’t exceed 30 days over the two stays.
Jordan offers a visa on arrival at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport and some land borders. More information on land border visa entries can be found here on Jordan’s tourism board website.
At the Queen Alia airport, hand over your passport at immigration, pay your money and you’ll get a sticker in your passport.
You’ll need to pay in Jordanian Dinar. There’s money changers located just before you reach immigration and US Dollars are recommended to exchange for the best rate.
A full list of countries that can obtain a visa on arrival can be found on the Jordan’s tourism board website.
Laos offers a visa on arrival. You need to produce a passport sized photo and fill out the paperwork at the airport. The fee ranges depending on your nationality. Payment is via cash. US Dollars is preferred and make sure you have small bills.
Nepal offers a visa on arrival. You can get a 15, 30 or 90 day visa on arrival. Cost is dependent on the visa length. Major currencies are accepted, but it’s easiest to bring US Dollars or Euros. Small bills are best if you’re getting the 15 day visa.
When you land at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport, you need to fill out an immigration form, provide a passport size photo or use the machines to take a photo, and pay the visa fee.
Note that the visa on arrival machines do not work very well and there’s often large queues to use them. You’re better off just bringing a passport sized photo with you and filling out the paperwork.
Egypt offers a visa on arrival. Landing at Cairo International Airport, simply head over to the visa counter just before immigration when you arrive, pay the fee and stick in the stamp they give you. Then proceed through immigration. Be aware that you can only pay with US Dollars – not Egyptian Pounds. Credit cards are not accepted.
Ukraine now offers a 15-day visa on arrival for many nationalities including Australia. Catch is you have to arrive by air through Boryspil International Airport (Kiev), Zhuliany Airport (Kiev), and Odesa International Airport. The Australian Government’s Smartraveller website recommends landing during business hours otherwise you might find no one at the visa on arrival counter.
If you’re entering Ukraine from Poland, Hungary or via the Odessa seaport, you’ll need to organise a visa before you arrive. You can apply through the Embassy of Ukraine in Canberra.
To be granted a visa, you have to provide proof of accommodation or tour bookings, and your passport. You’ll then be asked to fill out a form detailing your name, address, contact details, occupation and duration of your stay. You can also find the link to download this application form on the Smartraveller website. Fill this out before arrival to speed up the process.
When I visited, it was possible to pay by credit card at Boryspil International Airport, but it’s best to carry cash as a backup in Euros or US Dollars as the situation is subject to change.
One of the Immigration officials will take your passport, paperwork and process your visa. Expect this to take about 30-45 minutes depending on how many others are in the queue. Your passport will then be returned to you with a visa sticker inside and then you proceed to immigration.
Ukraine is a fascinating destination to visit. From Kiev, you can join a tour to visit the abandoned town of Pripyat, following the Chernoby nuclear disaster. Find out more about how to visit Chernobyl.
So there you have it. There are plenty of destinations around the world that are making the process easier by having e-visas available for tourists. What are you waiting for? Time to go see the world.
Lisa Owen is a pint-sized Australian following her dreams to travel to as many places as she can, and loves to share her photography, travel hacks, hiking adventures, and food discoveries along the way. At last count, she has travelled to more than 60 countries in between working in public relations and discovering hidden gems in Australia's great outdoors. Instagram: @thelittleadventurer. Facebook: The Little Adventurer Australia.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.