A Visa, the Ticket to Avoiding Awkwardness
Now you may be asking yourself, how can a Visa help me avoid awkwardness? Well, not many things are more awkward that being really excited about your trip, have all your ducks in a row and fly in…only to get turned away at customs because you are not allowed to enter the country.
That’s very extreme, but it highlights the importance of knowing the entrance requirements.
Visa: an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country.
Investigating the Visa – The very first thing you should do
This should be done well in advance of buying tickets or setting up any rentals. For many trips you might not need a Visa, for others, the processing time might take months – it all depends on country of residence and length of stay.
A quick 5 minute search might be all that is needed initially. It will tell you whether or not you will actually need one and might help plan out your trip.
For example: When I did an Italian Study Abroad trip in Undergrad, I did not need to obtain a Visa. While visiting the European Union (Schengen Area), I learned that if a person spends less than 90 days in a 180 day period, there is no Visa needed. Because of this, I only spent 84 days in Europe before coming back home to Seattle.
So, you need to get a Visa?
Once you learn you actually need one – figure out what the requirements and paint your timeline. Some of the things you might be asked:
- Entry Date
- Departure Date
- Health Insurance
- Past Pay Stubs
- Current Savings
- Passport Number
- Others in your party
The timeline: Some Visas, you must apply months in advance (to ensure adequate time for meeting, processing, and delivering), others you should do as close to entry date. Proper planning will result in the trip operating smoothly.
Visas range in requirements – so it is important to know prior to applying, rather than risking being denied.
For example: With New Zealand, I determined the working holiday Visa was the best fit for my trip. The working holiday Visa requirements are simple:
- Be under the age of 30
- Have health insurance
- Have $4000 or your return ticket
So I prepared, then applied one month before my entry date (as the total processing time took less than 1 week).
Note: if it is going to be an extended trip, look up tax laws!
Make sure you travel with an electronic copy of the visa, a photo of it, and a physical copy. You can never be too prepared.
For more information about the EU Visa (including how to obtain one and further requirements for non-us citizens) this link will take you to their webpage: Schengen Visa Application
For more information about the NZ Visa: Visit New Zealand
Another great blog – full of updates on Visas: https://www.visablogs.com/
“We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?” – Eleventh Doctor