Archive for December, 2009

Indian Visa Requirements

December 31st, 2009

American citizens traveling to India are required to have both a valid passport and an Indian visa.  India won’t issue a visa for you at the airport, so it is crucial to gather all of the necessary documents and submit your visa application well before you plan to depart.

Indian visa requirements vary depending on what type of visa you are applying for (for more information, see Types of Indian Visas). Here are the requirements for the two most common types of visas, tourist visas and business visas.

Indian Visa Requirements for Tourists.

If you are going to India as a tourist, you will need the following documents:

  • Your valid US passport
  • 2 recent passport-sized photos
  • A completed Indian visa application form. To ensure that your visa application is approved, make sure that you write neatly and that you do not make any mistakes on the application.  Make sure that you enter in “tourism” in the section that asks you to state why you are traveling to India.
  • A photocopy of your plane tickets or your itinerary.
  • A legible copy of your driver’s license.

Indian Visa Requirements for Business Trips

If you are traveling to India on a business trip, you also need the following:

  • 2 business letters of responsibility. One must be from your employer, and the other must be from the Indian company you will be meeting with. The letter should describe the nature of your business and the length of your trip, as well as how long your visa needs to be valid for.
  • A conference invitation letter, if you are going for a conference.

India has what’s called a jurisdictional visa system, so you have to sent your application into the appropriate consulate. Jurisdictions are based on your home address, which is why you must send in a copy of your driver’s license or a utility bill.

RushMyTravelVisa makes it quick and easy to apply for an Indian visa by assisting you with the application and then forwarding it to the appropriate embassy or consulate based on your jurisdiction. Our expedited visa service provides you with the shortest possible processing times.

Apply for your Indian visa today!

Get a Cambodian Visa To Visit Phnom Penh

December 27th, 2009

Phnom Penh, the bustling capital of Cambodia, is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. The city encompasses almost 7 centuries worth of history, some of it beautiful and some of it incomprehensibly tragic.

According to legend, Phnom Penh was founded in 1372 by  a Buddhist nun named Penh. As the story goes, the old woman was going about her daily chores, and went down to the Mekong River to get some water. Miraculously, she found a dead tree floating in the river with five  statues of the Buddha inside.

After retrieving the statues, the old woman had her neighbors pull the tree onto dry land and use the trunk to build a pagoda. The statues were placed inside the pagoda, and the shrine came to be known as Wat Phnom Daun Penh, after the old nun. It is from this temple, which is still standing today, that the city of Phnom Penh gets it name.

Another Buddhist temple worth a visit was built later in the city’s history, after it had been made a royal capital.  The Silver Pagoda, aka Wat Preah Keo, is decorated with enough artwork and precious metals to rival any cathedral in Europe.  Inside are famous statues of the Buddha, including a crystalline statue called the “Emerald Buddha” and a life-sized gold Buddha encrusted with 9,584 real diamonds.

Other destinations in Phnom Penh are equally moving but much less serene. For example, at Tuol Sleng Museum, you can pay your respects to the 17,000 victims of the Khmer Rouge who were held here prior to being executed in the killing fields.

To visit Phnom Penh, you will need a passport and a Cambodian visa. You can apply for a visa at the airport when you arrive, but it’s best to apply ahead of time.  Here’s what you need to get your Cambodian visa:

  • A Cambodian visa application, available online
  • Two passport photos
  • Your passport, which must have an expiration date that’s at least 6 months after you plan to enter Cambodia.
  • A copy of your itinerary.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you apply for all of the necessary visas for your trip, quickly and easily.  Apply for your Cambodia visa today!

Get an Ethiopian Visa to See the Stone Churches of Lalibela

December 27th, 2009

Lalibela, Ethiopia is named for an Ethiopian king who reigned from 1189 to 1229. Originally called Roha, the town was renamed in honor of King/Saint Gebre Mesqel Lalibela.

Christianity became established in Ethiopia during the 4th century AD, long before Europeans ever set foot in the country. King Lalibela is famous for building a “new Jerusalem” in the town that was later named after him, after Jerusalem itself was taken by a Muslim army led by Saladin in 1187. Depending on the source, King Lalibela is said to either have spent time in Jerusalem as a young man, before he ascended to the throne, or to have seen it in a vision.

As a result, many of the landmarks in the town of Lalibela are named after areas in Jerusalem.  King Lalibela also commissioned many stunning cross-shaped churches, carved directly from the ground out of solid rock. Today, these fantastic churches are the town’s main attraction, inspiring both pilgrims and tourists.

The largest of Lalibela’s stone churches is 40 feet high. To enter the churches, visitors walk down flights of carved stairs. The churches are decorated both outside and inside with relief carvings of crosses, biblical scenes and other symbols, including the swastika, which was originally an ancient symbol that could be another version of the Christian cross, a symbol of the sun, or a symbol of good luck, depending on the circumstances.

According to Environmental Graffiti, the grandeur of these churches inspired the old European myth of Prester John,  who supposedly ruled a mighty Christian kingdom somewhere in India or Africa.

Prester John was a myth, but these churches are real. To see the stone churches at Lalibela, you will need both a US passport and an Ethiopian visa.

Do yourself a favor and get an Ethiopian visa before you leave the US.  Supposedly, if you are arriving by air, you can get a visa at the airport, but the US Department of State advises against this because travelers who try to take advantage of this option are not infrequently turned away.

To apply for an Ethiopian visa, you will need the following documents:

  • 1 visa application  form
  • 1 passport photo
  • A copy of your itinerary
  • Your US passport

RushMyTravelVisa can walk you through the visa application process to help you avoid delays and problems caused by common mistakes.  Then, we will submit your visa application to the appropriate Ethiopian embassy or consulate for the fastest processing possible.

Apply for your Ethiopian visa today!

World Heritage Site of the Week: Get a Tanzanian Visa to Visit the Stone Town of Zanzibar

December 26th, 2009

This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage site lies on an island off the coast of Tanzania. The Stone Town of Zanzibar is the old heart of Zanzibar, built when it was an ancient trading town.

Zanzibar is located on the island of Unguja. According to Wikipedia, people have been living here for almost three centuries, but the stone buildings that make the old town so distinctive today date back to the 1830s.

The old town consists of large stone houses, mosques and bazaars, all connected by a maze of narrow alleys. Walking is essential here, as most of the alleyways are too skinny to take a car down. One of the most interesting architectural features of the city is the elaborate doors on many of the houses.  The wealthy Arab traders and businessmen who originally owned the houses competed to see whose house had the grandest, most elaborately decorated door.

Before Africa was colonized by Europeans, the city was one of the trading centers between Africa and Asia. UNESCO calls it “outstanding material manifestation of cultural fusion and harmonization.”

To visit Zanzibar’s Old Stone Town, you will need a Tanzanian visa. To apply for the visa, you’ll need the following documents:

  • 1 copy of your Tanzanian visa application form
  • 2 passport-sized photos
  • A copy of a  recent statement from your bank.
  • An international yellow fever vaccination certificate.
  • A travel itinerary OR a bank statement showing a minimum balance of $2,000.
  • If you’ll be visiting Zanzibar as part of an organized tour, you need proof that you have paid the tour operator in full.

If you’re planning a trip to Africa, RushMyTravelVisa can help you research your visa requirements to make sure that you have all of the travel documents you need for your trip. As part of our services, we also provide clear, easy to understand instructions to walk you through the application process, step by step. Finally, we submit your application to the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest processing available.

Apply for your Tanzanian visa today!

Get a Kazakhstan Visa To Watch a Golden Eagle Hunt

December 23rd, 2009

You’ve heard of people hunting with hawks and falcons, of course, but what about eagles? In Kazakhstan and other nearby countries, hunting with golden eagles, called berkutchy, is an ancient tradition that goes back centuries.

However, it’s also a tradition that’s become very rare. According to this article on the Epoch Times, there are only about 50 professional eagle hunters left in the entire country. When the Soviets took control of Kazakhstan, people’s traditional nomadic way of life was disrupted and eagle hunting was banned.

Now, Kazakhstan is independent. Given how fast the country has modernized itself, you might not expect a traditional sport like eagle hunting to be making a comeback, but you would be wrong.  Eagle hunting is one way for the Kazakh people to keep in touch with their nomadic past, and it is actually growing in popularity.

Government official Yepemes Alimkhanov  told the Epoch Times that during the Soviet era, there was “Hunger, repression, collectivisation. People had no time to worry about their eagles. It was a tragedy. But the tradition is coming back. Our sons and daughters have inherited it.”

The hunt itself is an amazing spectacle. The eagles, which can have wingspans that measure more than 6 feet across, can dive for prey (usually rabbits or foxes) at 190 miles per hour.

To the see the golden eagles hunt, you must visit Kazakstan, preferably during winter.  US citizens need both a valid passport and a Kazakhstan visa. You must apply for your Kazakhstan visa in advance-they are not issued at the border. Here are the documents needed to get a tourist visa:

  • One Kazakhstan visa application form
  • 1 passport-sized photo
  • A  cover letter detailing your travel plans and dates in Kazakhstan.  Applicants can write this out themselves if they are staying for less than 30 days. For longer stays, your host must get an invitation letter for you from the Kazakhstan department of foreign affairs.

Also, keep in mind that you may need a visa if you stop in another country along the way, even if it’s just in the airport. can help you research your trip and apply for your Kazakhstan visa, as well as any other visas you require.

For visa assistance and expedited visa processing, contact us today!