How to obtain visas

How do I get started on obtaining visas for my adventure?

The first step and often one of the most up to date places to start searching for more information is on the Department of State Travel website.  Here you can find travel advisories, which are often a little misleading in terms of the level of safety in the country.  The US government often tells of the worst case scenarios in the places you might travel, so do not let them scare you with the advisories and warnings. This is the best place to start your research as it will let you know about visa requirements, health issues and more, giving you a base to do better more in depth research.  Regularly the visa requirements change, so remember that while this site is often correct in its information, you need to make sure that requirements have not changed and calling your destination country’s embassy in Washington DC is often a good idea to get the final word on what you need to do for your visas.

I am going to multiple countries over the course of my adventure, do I need to get all of my visas upfront?

If you are going to multiple countries and spending a lot of time on the road, obtaining visas is something you might need to spread out over the course of your trip. Since we were gone for over two years, if we obtained all of our visas before we left, many of them would have expired by the time we got to a particular country. Most visas have a shelf life of six months but some may only be valid for as little as one. Most major cities around the globe have a decent representation of foreign embassies and consulates and often, it is easy enough to apply for visas while abroad. For example, we got most of the visas we needed for Central Asia in Beijing. If you are going to be traveling for a while, take note of what major cities are on your route and check to see what embassies are located there.

You may have to spend a few extra days in these cities, but we found in some places the turnaround on visas at consulates in other countries can be a lot quicker and the cost might actually be cheaper, especially if you are getting a visa at an embassy or consulate in a neighboring country. In some parts of the world, such as southeast Asia, there are even companies that for a reasonable fee will get you all of the visas you need for countries in the area for a fee, just ask taxi drivers or hostels where one of these companies are. Based on the amount of time it takes to run around town to multiple embassies, the fee might be well worth it.

Check back soon for more information, or post questions in the comments.