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Old 05-25-2009, 10:09 AM   #1
 
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dumbest question of life but please bare with me.

What exactly are visas, and why do we need them? I've travelled before, but I've never organized my own trip so all the paper work was done for me in the past. Is a visa just a "permission slip" saying: "I'm from ______, I'm visiting you on vacation. I am legally allowed to be here. Thanks!"

I'm traveling for a year (Central Am, South Am, New Zealand, Aus, southeast Asia), but I don't exactly know which countries I'm going to. We wanted to have alot of leniency on our trip... so I guess what I'm asking is should I be getting all my visas before I leave- will I have to get like 40 of them?

We aren't leaving until April 2010, so I have a while to research and plan... but for the sake of visas, what if we get into Thailand, then unexpectedly decide to spend time in Vietnam- can we get visa's while we're there? How much do they cost? How long do they take?
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Old 05-25-2009, 12:13 PM   #2
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Hey, welcome aboard!

Quote:
Is a visa just a "permission slip" saying: "I'm from ______, I'm visiting you on vacation. I am legally allowed to be here. Thanks!"
Yep. That's basically it.

Here's the official US Governments website.

Direct country links-

Go here and click on the countries that you think you will be visiting. It'll let you know if a visa for entry is required or not.
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Old 05-25-2009, 02:43 PM   #3
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As a Canadian you'll be able to most places in Central/South America, Australia/NZ, and Asia without needing a visa in advance. Most will just stamp you a tourist visa on arrival. But you should check in advance just in case, you never know where there are exceptions. Like for Americans we need to apply in advance to go to Brazil. You don't have to check every country while you're planning unless you're really paranoid. It's almost always possible to get a visa with a week or so's notice unless the country has tense relations with Canada for whatever reason.
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Old 05-25-2009, 04:50 PM   #4
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Basically a visa is like the other government giving permission to visit their country. When I went to China I had to go to the Chinese Embassy in London with my passport, photos and then fill in a form with my details. Once I handed all that in (and paid) They stuck my visa in my passport. Its all pretty simple.
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:41 PM   #5
 
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great thanks very much!!

Okay... so when I went to Fiji my passport has a stamp that says Nadi Fiji or whatever, and then says visa. They stamped it as I went through when we got off the planes..... is this a visa?
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Old 05-26-2009, 01:59 AM   #6
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yeah...kinda. Basically that was a stamp which is BASICALLY a visa in the sense that, like a visa the Figi government was giving you permission to stay in their country. Now in that case all you needed to do was to show up but in some cases-like China you need a paper visa before you go.
If you're worried, just ask your travel agent or look on the internet.
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