Visa application processes around the world: your guide

All the information below applies to British nationals but is liable to change at short notice – always check with the embassy of the country you are travelling to and Foreign Office advice before travelling or applying for a visa.

Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)
Airlines will sometimes ask for passenger information in advance, depending on where you’re travelling, and separate of visa requirements. This is most commonly known as API. Your airline will tell you what is required and it is normally dealt with when booking or at check-in. Information required might include your date of birth, passport number and the address of your first night’s accommodation.

The countries that require API is changeable and includes, but is not limited to: Australia; Canada; China; Costa Rica; India; Ireland; Japan; Mexico; Turkey; USA; Spain; Russia and Korea. Note the inclusion of some EU member states, but if unsure check with your airline.


A visa is not necessary for a tourism visit of less than 90 days. If you wish to extend your stay seek advice from the Argentine Migrations Office.


British visitors can obtain a free eVisitor visa from the Department of Immigration & Border Protection, or a Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) via a travel agent or online for about A$20 (£10). You may be asked to undergo a health examination before a visa can be granted – if you are aged 75 or older, for example – take this into account when timing your application.


British nationals do not require a visa for a tourist stay in Bolivia of up to 30 days. Extensions of up to 60 days can be obtained as long as you apply before the initial 30 days runs out.


A visa is not generally needed for British citizens entering Brazil as tourists, however, you may be required to show proof of accommodation, return travel and financial means for your visit on arrival. Ensure your passport is stamped on arrival.


You can apply well in advance of travelling at a Burmese Embassy or Consulate or apply online and print your approval letter for travel once received. The country has some restrictions, though partially relaxed, on where you are allowed to enter and exit the country – check with the Burmese Embassy or UK Foreign Office before you travel.


A visa on arrival is available but can only be purchased with US dollars (around $30, but check before travelling). An electronic e-visa is available before travelling from the Cambodian Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation website (above).


A visa on arrival is available but can only be purchased with US dollars (around $30, but check before travelling). An electronic e-visa is available before travelling from the Cambodian Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation website (above).


British nationals do not usually need a visa to travel to Canada. When you arrive you may need to prove that you have sufficient funds to support your stay, even if you’re staying with family or friends. The Foreign Office warns against using uns to obtain visas as they may charge. It was anticipated that from March this year, visitors to the country would require an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA), however, due to issues with the introduction of the system, the Canadian government has said that until “fall 2016”, visitors may still board their flight without an eTA “as long as they have appropriate travel documents, such as a valid passport”.


A visa is needed to enter China but not Hong Kong or Macao. The Foreign Office advises that you contact your nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate (there are three in the UK: London, Manchester and Edinburgh) in good time before travelling to ascertain which visa is required and how to apply.


The Foreign Office says British nationals can enter Colombia for up to 90 days as a visitor without a visa “at the discretion of the Colombian Immigration Officer on arrival”. Be prepared to show proof of return or onward travel.


A tourist visa/card is necessary for travel to Cuba. These can only be obtained in person at a Consulate or by post. In both cases, a valid plane ticket with entry and return dates is required.


Visas are available on arrival, with payment in sterling, US dollars or euros (around £16/$25/€22). Buy from an official kiosk in the airport rather than an agent as they may charge more. If you’re travelling to Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba or Taba, you will receive a free entry permission stamp upon arrival valid for 15 days’ stay. If you stay for longer than 15 days you will require a visa.


As of June this year, tourists do not need a visa to visit Georgia, for stays of up to a year. If you are travelling with a child other than your own, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the consent of the child’s parents or guardian.


Apply online well in advance – anyone with Pakistani origin, or a Pakistani national, can expect a wait of seven to eight weeks longer than the norm.


From June this year, British nationals can enter the country at a number of points, including Jakarta, Bali and Surabaya, and stay for 30 days without a visa. However, stays can not be extended under this visa exemption scheme. If you’re travelling for any purpose other than tourism, you should apply for a visa before travelling, or purchase a visa on arrival that can be extended once only. Visit the for more information. Overstaying a visa is taken seriously by the authorities.

Contact the Iranian Consulate in London well in advance of travelling for advice on how to apply for a visa. There is also a consulate in Dublin. The Foreign Office says “the application process for an Iranian visa can be long and unpredictable”. It also says if your passport contains an Israeli stamp or stamps from other countries’ border crossing points with Israel, you may be refused entry.


Up until December 31 2017, British passport holders can travel to Kazakhstan for up to 15 days without a visa. If you wish to stay longer you will require a visa. Contact your nearest embassy for more information – there is one in Pall Mall in London.


A visa is required to enter Kenya. Since July, British nationals have been able to purchase an e-visa from the . Previously, they were available from the Kenya High Commission or on arrival, for £30 cash.


As of January 1, 2016, tourists have needed a visa to enter the country. A visiting visa is usually valid for a stay of up to 30 days.


British nationals do not need a visa for a tourism visit of up to six months. For visits of another purpose, seek advice from the Peruvian Consulate-General.

To obtain a visa to enter Russia you will need to visit an application centre in London or Edinburgh with a completed visa entry form, your passport, and a stamped and signed “tourist voucher” or “tourist confirmation”, obtained through your Russian hotel or an approved travel agent. Leave yourself plenty of time and check the exact requirements for your visa.

South Africa

Those travelling to South Africa for up to 90 days do not need a visa, however, the country has introduced complex rules governing travelling with children. Anyone arriving in South Africa in the company of a child has to prove parenthood or guardianship – by way of a birth certificate – while lone adults flying in with their offspring have to show that they have the consent of the absent partner. Seek advice from the Foreign Office and your airline or travel agent before travelling as the government is currently considering reversing the changes it introduced.


Travellers staying in Thailand for 30 days or less do not need a visa, under a visa exemption scheme, however the Thai authorities are strict when it comes to overstaying your welcome and you could be fined up to 20,000 baht (£375), detained or deported. Visit the Royal Thai Embassy website (above) with queries about visas.


It is best to purchase an e-visa online before travelling, as buying one on arrival will be more expensive (and the service is set to be phased out eventually). Visitors should also be wary to only buy e-visas from the as Turkish e-visas have been subject to a number of scams.


The Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) allows most British Citizen passport holders to visit the USA for up to 90 days. Those travelling under the VWP should provide details of their visit online at least 72 hours before travel via the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA). You will require an ESTA to enter the country. You do not need an ESTA to arrive by land.


As of July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016, British citizens are exempt from requiring a visa to enter the country for a period of up to 15 days. If you intend to stay for longer, a visa is required. Applications must be made by post or in person at the Vietnamese embassy in London.


Visas can be obtained from the Zimbabwean Embassy in London, online before travelling or purchased on arrival. If intending to purchase on arrival, ensure you have enough cash to buy a visa at the airport. Such a visa should allow you to stay for 90 days but check that the number of days given at the port of entry matches your intended stay. Authorities are strict on type of visa (do not conduct any business if you are on a tourist visa) and journalistic activity.

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