Archive for June, 2010

The Top 5 Reasons to Get an Indian Visa

June 30th, 2010

Why travel to India?  There are too many reasons to count, really, but we’ve managed to narrow it down to the top 5. Your mileage may vary of course-if there’s something we should have included or something you think we should have left out, let us know in the comments!

1. The Taj Mahal

India’s most famous building, the Taj Mahal is practically the national symbol. Built by an emperor to immortalize his beloved wife, the Taj never fails to impress.

2. Indian Food

So much more than just curry, Indian food has countless regional variations, all of them delicious.

3. Goa

This countercultural playground is known for more than just its beach parties-the beaches themselves are stunning and the region’s rich history makes for interesting excursions.

4. Khajuraho

Khajuraho is best known for the gorgeous statues that decorate its three groups of temples. Be forewarned-although many of the sculptures depict scenes from the lives of ordinary people, some of them are most definitely NSFW!

5. Elephanta Caves

Thousands of years ago, on an island in the ocean to the east of Mumbai, unknown builders carved a series of Hindu and Buddhist caves into the rock. The caves fell into ruin after the Portuguese took over the region, but they have since been restored and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Gorgeous, intricate carvings and impressive rock-hewn architecture make these caves a must-see while you are in India.

If you are a US citizen, you will need both your US passport and an Indian visa to visit the country.   You must apply for your  Indian visa ahead of time, as visas on arrival are not permitted.  For more information on what you need to get your visa, check out Indian Visa Requirements for Tourists.

RushMyTravelVisa can make applying for your visa much faster and more convenient. Let us help you expedite your Indian visa application today!

Do You Need a Chinese Visa to Go to Hong Kong?

June 29th, 2010

Hong Kong, a former British colony that is now part of China, is often described as “the place where East meets West.” Englad took control of Hong Kong from  China during the first Opium War in 1841. It was finally returned to Chinese control in 1997.

Today, the island is a major financial hub and tourist attraction. Tourists visit Hong Kong for shopping, dining and to see impressive attractions like the Giant Buddha of Po Lin Monastery.

Hong Kong is part of China, but do you need a Chinese visa to visit it?  Not necessarily. If you are just visiting Hong Kong as a tourist and will be staying less than 90 days, all you need to enter is your US passport, enough money to support yourself while you are there, and a return ticket.

Even though you don’t need a visa, there are few important things you should be aware of before you book your flight. First, check the expiration date on your passport. Hong Kong only requires that it be valid for one month past your visit.  However,  since many of the surrounding countries require you have at least 6 months left on your passport to enter, the US Department of State recommends renewing your passport if it expires in less than 6 month.

Also, if you plan to cross over into mainland China, you will need a Chinese visa and you should apply before you leave the US. Technically, you can apply for a Chinese visa at the PRC Embassy in Hong Kong, but the Department of State website notes that travelers who do this often find themselves unable to get a visa because they lack the required documents. For example, the Chinese government requires a certified U.S. birth certificate to issue a visa for a US-born child in Hong Kong. In any case, it’s best to have all of that stuff taken care of before you leave the US, while you are still on familiar territory.

For more information on getting a Chinese tourist visa, see Chinese Tourist Visa Requirements. can help you apply for any visas you may need for your trip to Hong Kong, including any required transit visas. We’ll research your itinerary and let you know what documents are needed, help you apply and expedite your applications.

Need a Chinese visa? Let us help you apply today!

Indonesian Visa Requirements to Visit the Borobudur Temple

June 27th, 2010

This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Indonesia. The Borobudur Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple that dates back to the 8th or 9th century AD. This colossal structure was once abandoned to the surrounding jungle, perhaps because the local populace converted to Islam or perhaps due to a volcanic eruption.

Either way, it was rediscovered in 1814 by H.C. Cornelius, a Dutch engineer working for the British government in Java. Excavating the monument took decades-it was not fully unearthed until 1835.  In the 1970′s, UNESCO sponsored a major renovation and restoration of the temple, and today Indonesian Buddhists worship there once more. Vesak, a major Buddhist holiday, is celebrated by visiting all three of the region’s major Buddhist temples, walking from Mendut to Pawon and finally to Borobudur.

The base of the  temple measures approximately 403.5 feet on each side, and it took more than 72,000 cubic yards worth of stone to construct. It is decorated with statues of the Buddha, bas-reliefs and sculptures. Viewed from above, it looks like a sacred mandala.

If you want to see the temple, you’ll need an Indonesian visa.  Indonesia does issue visas on arrival at certain airports and sea ports, but you can also apply for one before your trip. Either way, here’s what you need:

  • Your US passport, which must have at least 6 months left before it expires. You’ll also need one whole blank page free in the back for the visa.
  • 2 completed Indonesian visa application forms
  • 2 passport photos
  • A copy of your most recent bank statement
  • A letter from your employer verifying that you are employed or on a leave of absence. If you don’t have a job, simply include a detailed letter explaining that fact.
  • An itinerary letter that explains why you are going to Indonesia.

RushMyTravelVisa can help expedite your Indonesian visa as well as any other visas you may need for your trip. When you apply with us, a trained visa specialist will answer your questions and help you with your application. Then, we’ll deliver your paperwork to the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Indonesian visa today!

Get a Vietnam Visa to Visit Magical Ha Long Bay

June 27th, 2010

One of Vietnam’s most exquisite natural treasures, Ha Long Bay is located along the coast in Quảng Ninh province.  Local legend has it that the bay was created by a family of friendly dragons, send by the gods to help the Vietnamese defend their land against the Chinese.  Over 3,000 islands and islets rise out of the crystal blue waters, covered with jungle and surreal rock formations. Many of the islands have caves to explore, and some even have lakes. Is it any wonder that Ha Long Bay was nominated to be one of the World’s 7 Natural Wonders in 2009?

However, conservation-minded tourists should be careful that they don’t inadvertently cause harm to this special place. Environmental Graffiti has an excellent first-hand account of a visit to Ha Long Bay that includes this caution:

“Unfortunately there are often downsides to tourist success and this magnificent site is no exception. The bay is under threat as many people have removed rare coral and seashells from the seabed and also taken stalactites and stalagmites from the caves. These are often taken and made into trinkets such as key rings to be sold to visiting tourists, so be wary and try not to buy.”

To visit Ha Long Bay, you need a valid passport and a Vietnamese visa. You need to plan ahead and have your visa in hand before you leave the US, as Vietnamese visas are not available on arrival.  See Vietnamese Visa Requirements for Tourists for more details on what you need to do to get your visa.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you get your Vietnamese visa, as well as any other visas you’ll need for your trip. We’ll research the visa requirements for your planned itinerary, then help you with the necessary paperwork and deliver your application to the right embassy or consulate for expedited service.

Apply for your Vietnamese visa today!

Get an Ethiopian Visa to Visit the Ancient City of Aksum

June 27th, 2010

Beginning around 400 BC, a new power emerged in Ethiopia, based in the city of Aksum. Over time, the new kingdom took over territory and valuable trade routes from the nearby Kingdom of Kush, eventually becoming one of the most important and powerful kingdoms in the entire world.

The Kingdom of Aksum converted to Christianity early, and local legend states that the city was also the home of the biblical Queen of Sheba and the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.  The Axumites also developed their own language and their own style of architecture, including impressive obelisks.

Today, Aksum is much smaller, but you can still see the remains of the old city. There are ancient castles, royal tombs and towering obelisks. The Obelisk of Axum was recently returned to Ethiopia from Italy and is on display again, along with other monuments in the Northern Stelae Park.

You’ll need more than just a passport to see these ruins. You will also need an Ethiopian visa. It’s best to apply for your visa while you are still in the United States and have it in hand before you travel.  This is an absolute must if you will be entering Ethiopia by land or from any airport other than Bole International Airport. In theory, you can buy an Ethiopian tourist visa on arrival at Bole International Airport, but at least according to the Department of State, it’s not always that easy in practice.

Here’s what you need to apply for an Ethiopian visa:

  • 1 completed Ethiopian visa application form
  • 1 passport-sized photo of yourself
  • A copy of your round-trip itinerary
  • Your US passport

RushMyTravelVisa can help make sure your trip to Ethiopia is a success. We’ll research your itinerary to make sure you have the appropriate documentation for every step of your journey. Then, we’ll help you apply, providing personal assistance and delivering your application to the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Ethiopian visa today!