Archive for October, 2009

Can You Still Use A Visa After Your Passport Has Expired?

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Many countries issue visas that are good for a number of years.  That means that it’s entirely possible to end up with a visa that expires after your passport. What happens if your passport is expired but your visa is still valid?

The answer depends on the type of visa in question and the country that issued it.  However, in most cases, you can use a valid visa even if your passport is expired.  You do need to renew your passport, though.

When you renew your passport, you can usually do one of two things. The first option is to carry the old passport with your visa in it along with your new passport. However, when you travel, you’ll have to be very careful to keep track of both passports. If you lose your new passport, you’ll be stuck trying to get a new one in a foreign country. If you lose your old passport, you will have to get a new visa.

However, some countries offer an additional option, allowing you to apply to have your visa transferred to the new passport. The advantage of going this route is that you only have to keep track of one passport on your trip. The disadvantage is that you’ll have to send in both the old passport and the new passport to get the visa transferred, and you need to make sure to send them in well before your trip.

Each country is different-before you try to travel, make sure to double-check what the requirements are in your specific situation.  RushMyTravelVisa can help-we’ll research the requirements of the country that issued your visa, and we can help you get it transferred.  Or, if you need to apply for a new visa, we can help you with that.

Apply for your visa with us today!

Getting a Suriname Visa

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Suriname is a tiny country on the coast of South America. A former Dutch colony that only became independent in 1975, Suriname is still largely undeveloped.

The main reason to come to Suriname is the rainforest. According to Wikipedia, approximately 80% of the original rainforest still remains intact.  To preserve the natural beauty of the country, Suriname has designated several national parks.  Two of the most memorable are Central Suriname Nature Reserve and Galibi Nature Reserve.

Central Suriname Nature Reserve is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Encompassing both highland and lowland forest, it is home to an extremely diverse selection of plants and animals, including jaguars, giant armadillos, giant river otters, tapir, sloths and eight species of primates. There are also tropical birds in abundance, including eagles, parrots and the Guiana cock-of-the-rock.

Meanwhile, at Galibi, you can see something that is sadly becoming less and less common on the condo-studded beaches of the USA-dozens of sea turtles coming to shore to dig nests in the sand and lay eggs.  The best time to go turtle-watching is between April and August.

To get to Suriname, you must apply in advance for a Suriname visa. Here’s what you’ll need to get a tourist visa:

  • Your  US passport.
  • A completed Suriname visa application.
  • 1 passport photo.
  • A copy of your round-trip plane tickets.
  • All necessary fees.

RushMyTravelVisa.com can help you research the visas you need for your trip, whether you’re just going to Suriname or whether you’ll be stopping somewhere else along the way.

We’ll also help ensure you get your Suriname visa on time by assisting you with the paperwork and expediting your visa. You’ll be assigned a visa specialist and receive clear, detailed instructions to help you with your application.  Then, we’ll expedite your visa with the embassy for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Suriname visa today!

Types of Sri Lankan Visas

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Sri Lanka is an island paradise  of mountains, rainforestdes and temples, fringed by picture -perfect tropical beaches. With the defeat of the insurgent group the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam earlier this year, the country’s popularity as a travel destination is back on the rise.

Americans traveling to Sri Lanka definitely need a visa, but the type of visa you’ll need depends on the circumstances of your stay. Here’s a brief overview of the different types of Sri Lankan visas:

  • Tourist (or visit) visa: Tourist visas are issued for free on arrival for American citizens.  They are valid for up to  30 days, but you can apply for an extension in Sri Lanka if necessary.
  • Business visa: A multiple-entry visa, valid for three months or up to one year, may be issued to businesspeople or investors.
  • Diplomatic visas are issued for diplomatic visits. 
  • Multiple-entry visas: Can be issued for business or leisure and may be valid for up to 5 years. However, you must apply in advance for the visa and you cannot stay in Sri Lanka for more than 6 months at a time.
  • If you plan to work, study or live in Sri Lanka, you must apply in person at an embassy or consulate. 

The US Department of State notes that “Foreigners entering Sri Lanka on a landing/tourist visa cannot convert their visa to a non-tourist one, and risk deportation if they engage in activities other than tourism without the appropriate visa.”

So, it’s important to make sure you have the right type of visa for your trip. RushMyTravelVisa.com can research your situation and help you determine your visa needs. We can also help you with the paperwork, providing clear, easy-to-follow  instructions to help you avoid common mistakes.

Want to visit Sri Lanka? Apply for your Sri Lankan visa!

A Tanzanian Visa: Your First Step To Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, is the highest mountain in Africa,  soaring up 19,336 feet above the valley below.  The challenge of making it to the summit attracts many tourists and adventurers. A big part of the draw is the fact that Kilimanjaro is the world’s highest walkable mountain.

However, it’s important to bear in mind that “walkable” does not mean “cakewalk,” even with porters to carry your baggage.  Every year people try to conquer Kilimanjaro and fail. According to Wikipedia, each year 10 climbers and 10-20 local porters die on the mountain.

To maximize your chances of success, here’s a list of things you’ll need to do to prepare:

  • Start training. You’ll need to be in top shape to tackle Kilimanjaro.
  • Book your trip through a reputable guide service. You can’t climb Kilimanjaro without a guide, but the quality of different guide services can vary considerably.
  • Allow yourself enough time to acclimatize to the change in altitude as you climb. You are more likely to get altitude sickness and have to turn back if you try to ascend too quickly.
  • Apply for a passport early, and consider applying for a Tanzanian visa before you leave as well. You can obtain a visa on arrival, but after spending so much time on a plane, you’ll probably want to clear customs and get to your hotel as soon as possible.

Here’s what you need to get a Tanzanian tourist visa:

  • 1 completed visa application form
  • 2 passport photos
  • A copy of a  recent bank statement
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate
  • A travel itinerary. If you don’t have one yet, you can substitute a bank statement showing a minimum balance of $2,000.
  • If you’re going on an organized tour, you will need a letter from the tour operator showing you are paid in full.

RushMyTravelVisa can research your visa needs, help you with your paperwork and submit your application to the right embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.  With RushMyTravelVisa.com, you can ensure your trip gets off to a good start.

Apply for your Tanzanian visa today!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Kilimanjaro

Do You Need a Panama Visa to Visit Panama?

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Unlike other countries in Central America such as Costa Rica or Belize, Panama is not yet a well-known tourist destination. However, that may be changing-Wikipedia reports that tourism to Panama has been steadily increasing over the last few years.

It’s easy to see why-Panama is covered with lush, green cloud forests and fringed by picture-perfect white sand beaches.  It is also surrounded by tropical islands, including the island used to film the original Survivor!

If great views are what you crave,  check out Parque Nacional Volcán Barú,where you can climb to the top of a dormant volcano, Volcán Barú.  If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see all the way to the coast on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides of the country!

If you’re looking for wilderness, you might check out Parque Internacional la Amistad, located on the border with Costa Rica. This enormous park encompasses a variety of local habitats and protects many different species of plants and animals-so many, in fact, that it’s been a World Heritage site since 1984.  Among the animals that flourish in the park: anteaters, tapirs (a relative of the elephant), jaguars, mountain lions, ocelots, and many different types of birds, fish, insects, reptiles and amphibians.

To visit Panama, you may or may not need a Panama visa.  US citizens arriving in Panama by air have the option to purchase a tourist card in the airport. The card may even be provided by the airline and included in your ticket fees. If you’ll be stopping in Panama on a cruise, you don’t need visa or a tourist card unless you want to get off the boat. Your cruise line should provide a tourist card for you.

However, you can also apply for a multi-entry visa at a Panamanian embassy or consulate  before you leave.  And if you plan on crossing into Panama by land, you will definitely need to have your visa before you leave for your trip.

Here’s what you need to get a Panama tourist visa:

  • A valid US passport
  • 1 completed Panama visa application
  • 1 passport photo
  • A copy of your itinerary.
  • A copy of your plane tickets (if you’re flying in)
  • A  letter if invitation or a copy of your hotel reservation.
  • A  copy of your bank statement.

RushMyTravelVisa.com can help you through the visa application process. You’ll work with a visa specialist and get clear, easy-to-follow instructions to guide you through the paperwork, preventing common mistakes that could interfere with your application. Then, we submit your application to the embassy for you for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Panama visa with us today!

An Indonesian Visa For a Holiday in Bali

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

If you’re already tired of cold and windy autumn weather, the island of Bali in Indonesia might be your dream vacation.

Bali is surrounded by crystal clear waters and colorful coral reefs, so it’s perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving.  In the warm waters off the coast of Bali, you could encounter a variety of different sea animals, including dolphins,  sea turtles, tropical fish, manta rays, sharks and more.

The interior of the island is a hotbed of biodiversity, as well, with 280 species of birds, monkeys, deer, bats, felines such as the leopard cat, enormous monitor lizards, snakes and more.

Bali is also one of the sources of the most expensive coffee in the world, kopi luwak. This is not your average Starbucks coffee-kopi luwak is made from coffee beans that have been eaten and then excreted by a catlike creature called the palm civet.

Yes, you read the sentence above correctly, and no, I am not making this up…Wikipedia says so!  Apparently, as the coffee cherries pass through the civet’s digestive track, the digestive enzymes take away the bitterness of the coffee and increase its aroma, resulting in an exceptionally smooth, fragrant cup.  Kopi Lawak can sell for up to $600 per pound.  Indonesian palm civets might as well excrete gold!

It’s hard not to wonder who first decided to try to roast and brew those coffee beans…

Anyway, tropical beaches, scuba diving,  sun, and interesting wildlife are only a few of the reasons to check out Bali. There are also gorgeous seaside Hindu temples, some of which are over a thousand years old, plus a rich and intriguing local culture.

To travel to Bali, an Indonesian visa is required. Here’s what you need to get one:

  • A valid US passport
  • 2 completed Indonesian visa application forms
  • 2 passport photos
  • A copy of your most recent bank statement
  • A letter from your boss verifying that you are employed or on a leave of absence. If you don’t have a job, you’ll need to include a detailed letter explaining that fact.
  • An itinerary letter explaining the  purpose of your trip.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you research your visa needs and secure all the necessary visas for your next trip. Apply for your Indonesian visa today!

Saudi Arabia Business Visas

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Most Americans who travel to Saudi Arabia go there for business or religious reasons-the Saudi government doesn’t issue many tourist visas, and the ones it does issue are only granted to organized tour groups following an approved itinerary.

Is there a business trip to Saudi Arabia in your future? Don’t forget to apply for your Saudi Arabia visa well in advance! The US Department of State’s website notes that they can take months to issue, and you need to have one ahead of time to enter the country.

Here’s what you need to get a Saudi Arabia business visa:

  • A valid US passport
  • 1 passport photo
  • An invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the company you are doing business with should be able to help)
  • A letter from your company, explaining who you are, what you will be doing in Saudi Arabia and how long you plan to stay there.

Saudi Arabia business visas are valid for 60 days, but generally you can only stay for 30. Don’t overstay your visa-you’ll get smacked down with a hefty fine when you try to leave.

Also, one thing you should know before you apply for a Saudi Arabia business visa on your own is that the process can take a long time and the forms aren’t user-friendly.

Check out this excellent post from Chris Guillebeau on the Art of Noncomformity for a description of the difficulties and delays that cropped up when he tried to get a Saudi transit visa. He ended up not getting it in time for his trip, going anyway, and having to talk his way past several immigration officials who wanted to deport him immediately. Not an auspicious beginning to a trip to a foreign country!

Fortunately, a private visa expediting service like RushMyTravelVisa.com can make the process of applying for a Saudi business visa much easier. RushMyTravelVisa can help you with the paperwork, make sure you have all the necessary documents, and keep you from making common mistakes that could delay your visa and ruin your trip.

Apply for your Saudi Arabia visa today!

Hiking the Annapurna Circuit? How to Get Your Nepal Travel Visa

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

With its rugged terrain and fabulous scenery, Nepal is a backpacker’s paradise.  In fact, the country’s most popular backpacking route, the Annapurna circuit, was recently named “the world’s best trek” by Backpacker Magazine.

The Annapurna circuit is a 128 miles long, and it runs along the edge of the Annapurna mountain range, passing through jungles, canyons and finally ascending into the mountains themselves. This is not a lonely, solitary hike-the route is well-stocked with hotels (which serve food but don’t necessarily offer lodging), and with lodges (where you can purchase a bed for the night).

Every year, more than 40,000  people hike the Annapurna circuit, so unless you are a complete misanthrope, you’re guaranteed to make friends along the way.  Plus, you’ll get to experience the local Nepalese culture as you make your way along the circuit- local foods, local hospitality, interesting historical sites and ancient Hindu and Buddhist Temples.

You can either travel on your own, carrying your own gear and finding accommodations as you go, or you can hire guides and porters to help you along the way.

Before you set out on your trek, of course, you will need the appropriate travel documents. To hike the Annapurna circuit, you will need your US passport, a Nepal travel visa and a trekking permit.

Once you have your passport, you can apply for a Nepal visa before leaving home  or apply for it at the airport when you arrive in Nepal.  The Nepal visa application process is refreshingly simple-all you need is a passport,  a visa application and a passport photo, plus the appropriate visa fees. A 15-day multiple entry visa is $25, a one-month visa is $40, and a three-month multiple entry visa is  $100.

If you’re planning a backpacking trip that includes Nepal, RushMyTravelVisa can help research your visa needs and help you obtain all necessary visas quickly and easily.

Call us or apply online today!

Obtaining a Russian Business Visa

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Over the past few years, Russia’s economy has grown by leaps and bounds. In 2008, according to the CIA World Factbook, Russia’s GDP was $2.266 trillion, the 7th  highest in the world. As Russia’s economy grows, business travel to Russia is increasing. This article from BCD Travel notes that in 2006, “Russian business travel volume grew to USD $13 billon — a 17 percent increase over 2005 numbers.”

Unfortunately, just because business travel to Russia is becoming increasingly common, that doesn’t make it easy to get a Russian business visa. Business travelers and tourists alike are caught up in a visa system that the US Department of State has called “restrictive and complicated.”

If you have a business trip to Russia, here’s what you need to get a Russian visa:

    • A valid US passport.
    • A completed Russian visa application form.
    • One passport  photo
    • A copy of your official invitaton letter from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The company you will be doing business with in Russia should procure this letter for you, sending the original to the embassy and a copy to you to be submitted with your visa application.
    • A letter from your own company signed by your boss.

    Note:  While some countries provide visas that are effective for 30 days, 60 days or longer, Russia’s visas are issued only for the time you plan to spend in Russia. That means that your letter of invitation must have the exact dates that you plan to spend in Russia on business, and those dates should also match the dates you put on your visa application.

    If your visa expires before you leave, a number of very bad things could happen. You could be fined, and in all likelihood you will be detained while the Russian government issues you a new visa-a process which could take up to 20 days. Not fun!

    RushMyTravelVisa.com can help you navigate the Russian visa system. We’ll research your travel needs, assist you with the paperwork and help you avoid common errors that could ruin your trip.

    Save yourself a headache-let us help you with your Russian visa application!

    Get a Bolivian Visa to See Lake Titicaca

    Sunday, October 18th, 2009

    Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America, as well as one of the region’s prime tourist attractions. The lake, located on the border between Peru and Bolivia,  has several unique characteristics that make it worth visiting. First, it is located high in the Andes Mountains, 12,500 ft above sea level.  The blue of the lake contrasted with the white, snow-capped peaks of the mountains makes for stunning scenery indeed!

    Second, the lake and the surrounding areas are home to native people with a unique and interesting culture. For example, some natives live on the lake on artificial islands made of reeds, called uros. The uros  must be rebuilt constantly with fresh reeds to replace the reeds on the bottom as they decompose into the lake.

    On the island on Amanti, you can stay for a few nights in a small farming village with local people. Suriqui, on the Bolivian side, is famous for the art of reed boat construction.

    As you might expect from a place with such an ancient history, Lake Titicaca is also full of interesting archael0gical sites, including the ruins of Incan cities and temples. In fact, according to Incan mythology, the Incan civilization itself was founded on the Isla del Sol on the Bolivian side of the lake.

    You can see Lake Titicaca from Peru or Bolivia, but to get the full experience, it’s best to visit both sides.  US citizens don’t need a visa to enter Peru. However, Bolivia requires US tourists to get a Bolivian visa, either before leaving the US or at certain border crossings.

    Here’s what you’ll need to get one: (more…)