Visas are required for visitors seeking entry to certain countries and application must therefore be made well before an intended travel date. Additionally, some countries issue special visas for those seeking to work there or for those whose activities involve lecture or performance fees and the like.
Visa applications must be made on special consular forms and will invariably involve one or more passport size photographs being supplied. In the unlikely event that a transit visa is required a consul usually first needs to see the visa of the country of eventual destination. All forms of visa attract a fee payable by the applicant.
The granting of a visa does not guarantee the holder permission to enter the country concerned. Permission to land is, in many cases, at the discretion of the immigration official at the port of entry.
The validity of a visa is usually indicated in the text of that visa. Expired visas will not be accepted and must be renewed before travel to the country concerned. It should also be remembered that visas are, in many cases, valid for one entry and/or transit only through the country involved.
If you are well travelled with many visa'ed destinations already in your passport, please be aware that some countries require at least two clear pages of your passport to be untouched on arrival by any form of visa or associated arrival/departure stamp!
Multiple entry visas are usually available at additional cost. Entry visas are invariably required of passengers who intend to enter a country and subsequently to return direct to the original departure point. Transit visas are not acceptable for journeys of this nature. With effect from 12 January 2009 passengers travelling to the USA will be obliged to complete an electronic travel authorisation form some 72 hours prior to boarding a US bound aircraft or ship. This procedure will operate alongside the current visa waiver programme.
British passport application forms together with visa application forms are available from OTS ... but please action such requirements months, rather than weeks, before the intended travel date.
For detailed and supplementary Passport advice please refer to the IPS Website (Identity & Passport Service) or our passport information page
If seeking Foreign Travel advice please visit the Uk Government Advice page at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice