Archive for October, 2010

Kazakhstan Visa Requirements to See the Archaeological Landscape of Tamgaly

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Tucked away in Kazakhstan’s Tamgaly Gorge, surrounded by high grasslands called steppes that have nourished nomads and their herds for millenia, is an incredible collection of petroglyphs.

The petroglyphs in Tamgaly, today’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site, date back to the Bronze Age in most cases. However, since the site has been continuously inhabited, some were carved as recently as the early 20th century. The carvings are definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in archaeology.

Here’s how UNESCO’s website describes them:

“The dense and coherent group of petroglyphs, with sacred images, altars and cult areas, together with their associated settlements and burial sites, provide a substantial testimony to the lives and beliefs of pastoral peoples of the central Asian steppes from the Bronze Age to the present day.”

US citizens need a Kazakhstan visa to travel to the Tamgaly Gorge and see the petroglyphs. If you’re visiting Kazakhstan as a tourist, the following documents are required to get your visa:

  • One visa application form
  • 1 passport-sized photo
  • A cover letter explaining what you are planning to do in Kazakhstan and when you plan to be there. If you are staying for 30 days or less, you can write the letter yourself. However, if you are staying 30 days or more, you need an invitation letter for you issued by the Kazakhstan department of foreign affairs. Your host will have to apply for this letter on your behalf.

Also, you may need additional transit visas if you are traveling through a third country, like Russia.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you move smoothly through the web of international visa regulations without becoming ensnared. We’ll review your itinerary and research the visa requirements for each and every stop, so that you’ll know exactly what documents you’ll need before you travel. Then, we’ll help you with your applications and expedite them for the fastest processing available.

Apply for your Kazakhstan visa today!

New Azerbaijan Visa Requirements for Tourists

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Until just recently, American citizens could visit Azerbaijan without having to apply for a visa in advance. It’s always been a good idea to do so, because getting a visa in the airport meant waiting through a number of long lines, but airport visas were an option if you didn’t have the time to apply at an Azerbaijani embassy before you left.

However, as Gadling notes, the rules have changed and travelers to Azerbaijan need to take note:

“Then, in the middle of October, Azerbaijan suddenly changed its visa regime, requiring visitors to obtain visas at the country’s embassies in advance. This requirement is not particularly annoying for tourists, who usually have time to drop their passports off at embassies prior to travel, but it’s a huge hassle for business travelers who often need to travel at the drop of a hat.”

The US Department of State further clarifies the new rules: “With limited exceptions, (diplomatic or official government travelers, or persons with invitations from high-ranking officials of the Government of Azerbaijan) you cannot get a visa at the airport. Nor can you get a visa at the land borders with Georgia and Russia.”

You can apply for your Azerbaijan visa at an Azerbaijani embassy. If you’re applying as a tourist, you will need the following documents:

  • 1 completed visa application form
  • 2 passport photos
  • A tourist voucher from a hotel in Azerbaijan with a confirmation number.

The default tourist visa for visitors to Azerbaijan is a single-entry visa. If you need multiple entries, you will also need a letter of invitation from someone in the country.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you get an Azerbaijan visa before you travel. We’ll walk you through the paperwork and deliver your application to the appropriate embassy or consulate for the fastest processing available.

Apply for your Azerbaijan visa today!

Chinese Visa Requirements To See the Silk Road

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

The Silk Road- the name brings to mind the slippery feel of silk fabric, the taste of spice, and the incense-like smell of opium smoke. For centuries, these goods and many others traveled the Silk Road, a series of routes connecting China with Europe, and the region of Xinjiang was at the heart of it all.

Now, you can tour both Xinjiang itself and the surrounding desert. Dan Levin, a travel writer for the New York Times, did just that recently, staying in the city of Kashgar for a few days and then riding a camel through the forbidding Taklamakan desert.

He writes:

“Travelers who retrace the Silk Road in Xinjiang find that despite the flood of economic development, much of this remote province remains a world apart from China. In the towns and villages along this ancient trade route few people speak Mandarin, and the traditions of their ancestors — whose kingdoms have been swallowed by the sands — live on in faith and food.”

If exploring Xinjiang sounds like your cup of tea, autumn is the best time to go, according to TravelChinaGuide. This is when you’ll have the best weather, without the extreme fire and ice of winter and summer.

Before you leave, you’ll need to apply for a Chinese visa. Chinese tourist visas are available from Chinese embassies and are referred to as “L” visas. Depending on your travel needs, you can apply for a single-entry Chinese visa valid for 3-6 months, a double-entry visa valid for 6 months or a multiple-entry visa valid for 6 months.

Either what you need to apply for a Chinese tourist visa:

  • A Chinese visa application
  • Your passport, which will need to be sent to the embassy along with your application. Your passport must expire no sooner than 6 months in the future, and it must have at least one blank page in the back. If it expires prior to 6 months or it’s too full, you will need to get a passport renewal or add pages before you apply for the visa.
  • A clear copy of your passport’s information page (the page with your name, date of birth, etc on it)
  • One passport photo glued or stapled to the application.

If you are leaving within the next week, you can expedite your visa by including a copy of your itinerary.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you get your Chinese visa, as well as any other visas required for your journey. Some countries require you to get a visa even if you’re just stopping in the airport, so we research your itinerary to make sure you have all the documents you need. We’ll also help you with the application, reducing the chance of common mistakes that can hold things up. Finally, we’ll expedite your visa for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Chinese visa today!

Get an Indian Visa and Save Big on a Tour With Friendly Planet

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Frommer’s Deal of the Week for this week is pretty exciting: a 9-day tour of India from Friendly Planet for only $1,199 per person. The price even includes round-trip airfare to and from New York’s JFK Airport, though you’re on your own when it comes to getting to JFK. Hotels with private bathrooms, breakfast, ground transportation and the services of a tour guide are also part of the deal.

The Taj Mahal Express tour takes you through Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, plus the Taj Mahal (naturally). Although it would take more than 9 days to experience even a fraction of the excitement that India has to offer, this tour will give you a good start. Plus, you have the option of adding on a trip to nearby Nepal after the Indian tour is over, for an additional $799-1397.

Prices are good if you book before December 15th, or until the tours sell out, whichever happens first.

Take note: the tours do not include the cost of an Indian visa or a Nepal visa. You will need to obtain your Indian visa on your own before you travel.

Here are the documents you’ll need to get the Indian visa:

  • Your US passport
  • 2 passport-sized photos no more than 6 months old. Glasses are not allowed in the photos.
  • One Indian visa application form. Write neatly-penmanship counts! There is a section on the visa that asks why you are planning to visit India- write “tourism” here.
  • A photocopy of your plane tickets or your itinerary.
  • A clear copy of your driver’s license or a utility bill showing your name and address.
  • A copy of your birth certificate

RushMyTravelVisa can help you get your Indian visa quickly and easily. We’ll walk you through the application process and help you catch common mistakes that could delay your visa approval. Plus, we’ll expedite your application with the appropriate Indian Embassy for the fastest possible processing.

Apply for your Indian visa today!

Vietnam Visa Requirements to Visit Hoi An

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is a gorgeous example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating back to the 15th through the 19th centuries. During those years, Hoi An was a famous port of call for traders searching for silk, spices, porcelain, traditional Chinese remedies, tea and other goods. Eventually, many merchants from China and Japan came to live in Hoi An full-time and brought their families.

The city ceased to be an important trading port after the 19th century, when silt made the Thu Bon River impassable for large ships. Now, it’s a beautifully preserved tourist town, with shops and hotels surrounding a traditional city center. The historic area, called Hoi An Ancient Town, was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. The UNESCO website calls it “an outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures over time in an international commercial port” and “an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Asian trading port.”

One unique way that Hoi An has chosen to retain its old-fashioned atmosphere is to declare the 14th day of each lunar month, when the moon is full, “Hoi An Legendary Night.” On this night, there are no electric lights allowed in the city’s old quarter. Cars and motorcycles are forbidden, too. People walk, talk and play games bathed in the light of artfully designed lanterns and candles instead.

To visit Hoi An, you will need a Vietnamese visa. Make sure you apply in advance, well before starting your trip, as you must have your visa in hand before you arrive at the airport.

If you are traveling as a tourist, here are the documents you’ll need for your visa:

  • A valid US passport
  • A completed Vietnam visa application
  • A passport photo that’s no more than 6 months old.

Also, if your trip requires you to enter and exist Vietnam more than once, you must request a multiple-entry visa when you apply. If you don’t request a multiple-entry visa, you will be given a single-entry visa. and this could wreak havoc on your itinerary.

RushMyTravelVisa can speed up and simplify the Vietnam visa application process. We’ll take a look at your itinerary to make sure that you have the right documents for each step in your journey, and we’ll walk you through filling out the paperwork. Then, we’ll expedite your paperwork for the fastest processing available.

Apply for your Vietnam visa today!

Tanzanian Visa Requirements to Visit the Ngorongoro Crater

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Two to three million years ago in Tanzania, a massive volcano collapsed, scarring the land with a huge crater. Today, this ancient crater, called Ngorongoro Crater, is home to one of the densest wildlife populations in Africa. All of the famous “big five” African animals live here: lions, leopards, rhinos, African buffalo and elephants. There are also cheetahs, zebras, hippos, flamingos, ostrich, hyena and many more rare and beautiful animals.

Inside Ngorongoro Crater, there are forests, swamps, great salt lakes and grasslands. The diversity of habitat is one reason that there are so many different animals here. The plentiful wildlife attracts around 450,000 visitors each year, and there are many companies offering tours inside the crater. Just do your research ahead of time and make sure you get someone reputable to guide you!

To visit Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania requires all US citizens to apply for a Tanzanian visa. You can get one ahead of time or at the airport when you fly in. Here are the documents that you’ll need to bring in order to get your visa:

  • 1 Tanzanian 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.
  • Your US passport, which must be valid for at least 6 more months after the date you obtain the visa. If your passport expires in 6 months or less, you’ll need to apply for a passport renewal before you can travel.

RushMyTravelVisa can help you get a Tanzanian visa quickly and easily, as well as any other visas that might be required for your trip. We’ll look up visa requirements for each stop on your journey to make sure that you aren’t caught by surprise, and we’ll expedite your applications so you have them as soon as possible.

Apply for your Tanzanian visa today!

Travel Visa Requirements for Discovery Adventures Newest Destinations

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Guided tours can be a wonderful, relatively stress-free way to see some amazing destinations-but you have to make sure you book with a good group. With their Discovery Adventure packages, the Discovery Channel is attempting to help take the uncertainty out of booking a guided tour. The website promises that “Each trip boasts carefully chosen and exhilarating activities so you can experience your chosen destination to the fullest.”

The Discovery Channel’s latest destination (h/t Gadling) is Indochina, with a 15-day “Indochina Cultural Journey” package that offers time in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. For $2899 per person, not including airfare, the tour promises to allow you to “Explore the cultural best of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Encounter history, both ancient and modern, and witness the unbelievable splendor of Angkor Wat. From the natural beauty of Halong Bay and Chiang Mai’s temples to Kantoke dinners and Khmer lunches, our expert guides will share the natural, historical and cultural beauty that has persisted in this region. More than a tour—this is an adventure of discovery.”

One thing that you’ll have to discover on your own, though, is how to get the travel visas you’ll need for the trip. If you are an American citizen, you shouldn’t need a visa for Thailand since you’ll only be staying 15 days. Visas are required to visit Cambodia and Vietnam, however.

You can get a visa for Cambodia in the airport when you fly in with your group. However, you will need the following documents to do so:

  • 2 passport-sized photos.
  • Your US passport. Make sure that yours is valid for at least 6 months past the date you plan to enter Cambodia and that you have enough room in the back for your visa.
  • A copy of your travel itinerary.

For Vietnam, you’ll need to apply in advance, before you leave the United States. See Vietnam Visa Requirements for Tourists for more details.

Whether you’re traveling independently or with a group, RushMyTravelVisa can help you get the documents you’ll need. We’ll help you with all the logistics and paperwork, and expedite your applications for the fastest processing available.

Apply for your travel visas through us today!

Step Back In Time With a Chinese Visa

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Although China has hurled itself head-first into the 21st century, there are still pockets of the country where life hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years. That means that your Chinese visa can take you through time as well as space-just include one or more of these 4 places on your itinerary:

Qian Nian Yao Zhai

Over 1,000 years old, Qian Nian Yao Zhai is the largest remaining enclave of the Yao minority group in China. The “Yao” are actually a collection of different but loosely related traditional cultures, usually characterized by colorful clothing and either red or black turbans. This village of 200 people offers a glimpse into what their lives were traditionally like before they began to disperse. (via Bootsnall)

Tianluokeng

Tianluokeng is a fortress-like village built in the “tulou” style of the Hakka people. Large, extremely strong communal homes built from earth shelter and protect up to 80 families each. The unique buildings have been standing for up to 700 years.

Duolun Lu in Shanghai

Located in the Hongkou District of Shanghai, Duolun Lu is a street where cars are not allowed to go, and where the historic buildings still have the same atmosphere and charm as they did in the 20′s and 30′s. Although the street is technically supposed to be protected, the New York Times notes that in Shanghai this often doesn’t mean much, and this unique neighborhood may soon become a casualty of China’s march toward modernity.

Xidi and Hongcun

Located in Anhui province, Xidi and Hongcun are textbook-perfect examples of traditional Chinese feudal communities, so much so that they were named UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000.

To visit China, you will need a Chinese visa. To learn more about getting a tourist visa for China, see Chinese Visa Requirements for Tourists. Remember, RushMyTravelVisa can help you with the application process and expedite your paperwork so that you get your visa as quickly as possible.

Apply for your Chinese visa today!

Belarus Embassy Requirements to See Mir Castle Complex

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

This week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in Belarus. Constructed in the latter part of the 15th century, Mir Castle Complex is like something out of a fairy tale. This stunning castle was expanded and updated in the 16th century, and contains Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements, including turrets, towers and a drawbridge.

According to the UNESCO World Heritage site,  ”Mir Castle is an exceptional example of a central European castle, reflecting in its design and layout successive cultural influences (Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance) that blend harmoniously to create an impressive monument to the history of this region.”

Want to check out  Mir Castle? First, you’ll need to acquire a visa from the Belarus embassy. Apply before your trip, as you will not be able to apply for a visa at the airport.  Here are the documents you will need to apply:

  • 1 visa application form
  • 1 passport-sized photo of yourself
  • If you are  going on a tour, you need a letter from the tour company confirming your reservation with them and your  itinerary.
  • If you are going alone, you need a hotel reservation from an authorized Belarussian travel agency. The agency will provide you with an authorization number for your application form.
  • If you are a former Soviet/Belarussian, you will also need to prove how you lost your Soviet/Belarussian citizenship. Generally, you can use the documents you used to get your US citizenship.
  • Your US passport

In addition to getting a visa from the Belarus embassy, if you have connections in other countries, like Russia, you may need additional visas for those countries. RushMyTravelVisa can assist you by researching your itinerary and walking through the steps to get each one of the visas you need.

Applying for a visa from the Belarus Embassy? Let us help!

Don’t Overstay Your Thai Visa

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Thailand is a beautiful country. Many Westerners go for a visit and quickly find themselves enchanted. Just don’t get so bedazzled that you overstay your visa! And if you do overstay, make sure that you have enough money to pay the required fines.

This article on Phuketwan.com provides a cautionary tale to illustrate the point: An American tourist who called herself “Nick” was arrested earlier this month for overstaying her Thai visa. Apparently, the overstay was discovered when she went on a “visa run” to the Thai border, with the intention of getting a new visa issued when she re-entered the country.

Per Phuket Wan, the visa run did not go as planned:

Precise circumstances of the case are being clarified, but it appears the woman either misunderstood the conditions of her permission to stay in Thailand or failed to realise there was a 500 baht a day penalty for overstaying. As a result, she was arrested by Immigration officials when she attempted a one-day ”visa run” from Phuket to Ranong and was unable to pay the overstay fine.

“Nick” is currently in jail in Bangkok. Not how you want your holiday to end!

If you enter Thailand by air, you can automatically stay up to 3o days, with no need to apply for a visa in advance. If you enter by land, you get 15 days. Also, if you opt to come to Thailand without applying ahead of time for a visa, you are limited to spending 90 days in any given 6 month period in the country. For longer stays, you can get a Thai visa at an embassy before your trip that will be good for 60 days and can be extended if necessary.

To get one, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your US passport
  • A completed visa application
  • 2 passport photos
  • A copy of your round-trip ticket
  • A copy of a bank statement showing a balance of $500 per person or $1000 per family.

RushmyTravelVisa.com can help you get your Thai visa, as well as any other visas you need for your trip. We’ll research your travel needs and help you get the appropriate expedited travel visas in hand before you leave.

Apply for your Thai visa today!