Being sure to get the correct visa in the correct timing before leaving for your world trip will save you time and avoid useless worries. If you held a passport of European Union, the passports are quite “powerful” as the touristic visas associated to them are relatively easy to get (some countries, like in South America, even don’t require visas in most cases). Of course, no problems in European Union. If you are holding a double passport, it can be also very convenient as a passport can have an advantage that the other one doesn’t have.
Obviously, the passport need to be valid at least 6 months at the end of your trip. It is a mandatory condition that is required by most of the countries to come in. And in order to ask for it or renew it, it is usually pretty simple; Just go and and for it at your town council, fill the administrative papers (birth certificate, address, police check…) and you are able to receive it within one or two months by mail. Passports are now biometric, and it may be compulsory to enter in some countries, like the US or Canada.
If you lose it abroad, it has to be redone seeing a consulate or an embassy after having declared to the local authorities you lost it or it has been stolen. I takes around 2/3 weeks but usually you will be granted an “urgent” passport which only takes a few days, valid for one year and which allow you at least to get back home. Indeed, you can be sick, require an immediate leaving…just be aware that some countries may not accept it and require a “proper” passport. This is a temporary passport which function is just to give you legal papers while you wait your new real passport. Just bear in mind you will also have to ask for a new visa associated with the new passport. So you see better to keep a close look at your belongings and particularly your passport while you travel! A tip: scan all your important papers (like the identity page of the passport, the visa…) and send them on your mailbox so yo can have a copy of them at anytime. This will make the procedures easier with the local authorities in case you lose them.
Finally, if you are a dual citizen (for example French-Mexican national), be aware that it is the passport of the country you come in that you have to present (if you go to France or Mexico, as the other one may not be recognized anymore) and the more appropriate one in other countries (like the French one in other European Union countries).
Three main cases. First, no visa required (like in most of South-American countries for European nationals, or visas to be made at the border (most of South-East Asian countries), or visas to be made before leaving (India, Russia, Mongolia…)
- Doing the visas before leaving. In some countries it is mandatory. Keep informed on specialized websites and blogs, touristic websites or your country Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ one, as local legislation may change from time to time. Some organizations (like Action Visa) can do their best to make simple more simple just looking after everything that is required. More “problematic” visas among the “touristic” countries include Russia, India, China, Mongolia, and Central Asian countries. Also the working holidays visas for young people from 18 to 30 or even until 35 years old sometimes!
- Visas to be done during your world trip. It is also possible to do visas while on world trip, even before you arrive to the border (for example consulate of India at Kathmandu, Nepal or consulate of Indonesia in Bangkok…) and will help you if haven’t done the procedures in your home country before leaving. And if you are already in the country and wish to extend you visa, just go and meet with local immigration authorities before your visa expires.
- The visas at the border. The case for many countries, sometimes delivered for a shorted period, like in Thailand (15 days if you arrive at a land border against 90 days if you arrive by flight, keep informed!)
- Countries without visa required for touristic purposes. Easy peasy. For example for European Union nationals heading to most of South American countries. Usually the limit for touristic purposes in 90 days.
Other documents that are likely to be asked at immigration counters
Other papers/information may be potentially required by local authorities. Indeed, coming in the country, you may be asked several things. Among the most likely to be asked:
- A return ticket? Some countries will ask you to have a return ticket certifying you will leave the territory within the limited period of your temporary visa. This is the theory and it is rarely asked by the customs. Up to you to choose what you want to do.
- A certification you have enough money to support yourself financially? Almost never asked for touristic visas (may be different for longer-period visas like the Working Holidays visa, in Australia or Canada). If you are worried, print a bank account statement and show it to the customs just n case, of print a copy of it, or show it on your smartphone.
- Vaccines certificate? May be asked if you come from a “risk” region, mainly Africa or Central America. In this case, it is almost the yellow fever that is scrutinized. Rarely the case, but better if you them with you.