Quick Tips: Visa & Passport Requirements

Quick Tips: Visa & Passport Requirements
April 20, 2017

5 Things to Know about Visa & Passport Requirements

Not knowing your destination’s entry and exit requirements — and subsequently being denied passage or deported — is one of the most common travel mistakes, but it’s easily avoidable with some basic research.

Apply for travel documents well ahead of your departure. Photo credit: iStock.com/belterz

1. Each country's visa requirements vary and depend on your citizenship, reason for travel, length of stay, and whether multiple entries are needed.

Most countries offer some version of the following visas:

  • Tourist: for travel that doesn't require another kind of visa.
  • Business: typically for business meetings; sometimes for short-term research or study.
  • Student: for enrollment in an educational institution.
  • Resident or Employment: for long-term stays or work; a separate work permit may also be required.

Some countries require other types of visas for certain work — e.g. specific types for researchers, journalists, or missionaries — or for particular family or immigration situations.

2. Transit visas may also be required for countries you pass through or stop over in en route to your final destination.

3. Visa waivers may be offered to citizens of certain countries traveling for specific reasons in a short amount of time.

4. Expiring passports can result in denied passage or detainment. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after you plan to leave your destination country. If your passport will expire while you’re abroad or shortly thereafter, you’re encouraged to renew it before departure.

5. Visa and passport applications can take up to 10 weeks — and you may need to make a personal appearance at your destination country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S. — so apply early, or utilize a visa and passport services vendor who can submit expedited applications on your behalf. The State Department is currently experiencing a surge in applications and renewals and expects this to continue through 2018. 

Advice & Application Assistance

You can research your requirements through your destination country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S.

We’ve negotiated a reduced rate with A.Briggs, a visa and passport services vendor with a Boston office. For free, they’ll advise you on your requirements, and for a small fee, they’ll assist you with routine and expedited applications. To ensure you receive the reduced rate, access the vendor portal with your HarvardKey.

And as always, you can contact us if you have any questions.