The reality of visas

My job at present is one dealing with US visas for New Zealand passport holders, so as far as things go, I thought I understood or could guess somewhat accurately the system of most countries visas…

Naively, I thought that visas for many countries in Asia were going to be a simple process, that would allow me to stay in each country for around about 90-days at one time.  What a rookie assumption!

Looking into it in more detail, here is the list of time frames for each country we are planning to travel to (with a New Zealand passport):

Australia – No worries, we’re basically the same country right?!
Indonesia – No visa required, 30-days maximum
Philippines – No visa required, 30-days maximum
Singapore – No visa required, 30-days maximum
Malaysia – No visa required, 90-days maximum
Thailand – No visa required, 30-days maximum (if arriving by air)
Cambodia – Visa on arrival (or online), 30-days maximum
Vietnam – Visa required
Laos – Visa on arrival, 30-days maximum
Bhutan – Visa required
Nepal – Visa on arrival, 90-days maximum
India – e-visa, 30-days maximum
Japan – No visa required, 90-days maximum
China – Visa required

So this does help us plan exactly how long we will stay in each place – the amount of time we are allowed to!

Some countries (notably Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand) seem impossible to fit into 30-days!  I don’t want to have the trip of having to jet around a-mile-a-minute, where it feels like you’ve spent more time traveling to rather than enjoying the destination.  I guess it does mean prioritising the things we really want to do and places we absolutely cannot miss at least a little in advance.

I always say to my clients at work, “Make sure you think of all the things you’d be gutted you missed before hand, so you avoid that happening.” which is exactly the advice I’m going to have to take to make sure I’m making the most of the short time frames these visas seem to allow.

I’ve since found out, after delving deeper into some of the country’s visa regulations, that some can be extended through application – for example, Indonesia (up to 60-days).  So that’s where I’m at tonight, sitting in bed having eggs on toast and researching all of the visas and how on earth we are going to organise so many!

Can you help?  Have you travelled to any of these countries and have some insightful tips or visa advice?  Any great websites you’ve found?  

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