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Some destinations require a little more paperwork than a stamp from an immigration officer. Visas are just a pre-authorization from a particular nation, that outlines your intention for visiting, the duration of your stay, and the purpose of travel.

There is no universal Visa to travel the world, so when you’re venturing off to a new place, be sure to do your research and see if you need to apply for a Visa. To take away the guess work, we’ve got a quick list for you to follow.

Moscow
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Moscow

Russia

Americans must  apply for a Russian Visa by submitting a clear itinerary, with specific, non-extendable dates. You need to explicate the purpose for your visit, and outline exactly how you will spend your days. You will also need to be sponsored to apply for a visa, something that is typically done by a travel agent, a hotel concierge, or another type of tour operator (for a fee in most cases). The average tourist visa expires after two weeks. The cost can be anywhere from $140-$200. Even if you are just traveling through Russia to another destination, you will need a what’s called a Transit Visa. Again we stress, Russian Visa rules are strictly enforced.

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil

A tourist visa to Brazil costs about $140 for U.S. citizens, and you can add on another $20 if you’re applying by mail (Which isn’t always possible). Brazilian visas are issued by the Brazil Embassy and Brazil consulate offices, and there are tourism organizations devoted to helping you through the application process. Another piece of advice, if you’re unemployed or self-employed, you may have to provide a bank balance with your application. So be cautious of scams and don’t just give out your banking info without verifying eligibility.

Tourist visas must be used within 90 days of being issued. Once you enter, you cannot stay for more than 90 days, (in some cases this may be extended to 180 days per year).  So remember, if you get a 3 month Visa to Brazil in December, but don’t plan on going there until Carnival in March, you’ll need to go through the process again (and would be cutting it pretty close).

Sydney Harbor
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Sydney Harbor

Australia

Getting a tourist visa when you’re ready to head down under is simple, and affordable. $20 and you’re out the door. Apply online and be ready for verification at the airport. The visa is valid for one year, for a maximum duration of 3 months.

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Taj Mahal
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Taj Mahal

India

Visas start at about $100 on average at this time, but has been lower in the past.  These are valid for up to 10 years from the date of issue, and are typically multiple entry. It is important to remember is your entry dates must be at least 2 months apart. It is advised that you apply for your visa at least 15 days before you plan on traveling. Visitors typically apply online, in mail, person at a consulate or through an agent. Americans are limited to 10 Visa applications per year. The maximum stay is 6 months from date of entry.

Bhutan requires a seperate Visa. So if you plan on going back and forth, make sure your Visa is multiple entry, and that you have one for India and one specifically for Bhutan.

Shanghai Skyline
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Shanghai Skyline

China

A US Citizen’s tourist visa to China costs $130. That’s a flat fee for both single and multiple entries for up to 2 years from the day you applied. If you enter Hong Kong or Macau, it is considered an exit from China, so we recommend you apply for a multiple entry Visa, unless you don’t plan on ending your trip in one of these places and have absolutely no connecting flights that take you back into Chinese borders. When applying for a tourist visa in China, you must send in your actual Passport for processing. Plan on the entire system  taking about 1-2 months. Your passport must have at least 6 months of validity, blank visa pages, and a data & photo page. You submit your application to the Visa Office of Chinese Embassy/ Consulate General based on your state. U.S. citizens are eligible for 10 year multiple entry visa, with a remaining validity over 12 months.

Encarnacion & Jesuit Ruins, Paraguay
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Encarnacion & Jesuit Ruins, Paraguay

Paraguay

US Citizens are Paraguay Visas are issued through the Ministry of Foreign affairs. In the event you are arriving to the Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Asuncion, U.S. citizens may be granted a 90 day Visa on arrival. The reciprocity fee is $160 at the moment but must be paid in cash (US Currency is acceptable). If you are arriving at any other airport, you must pre-apply for a visa in person or by messenger at the Paraguayan embassy or nearest consulate.

Bac Son, Vietnam
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Bac Son, Vietnam

Vietnam

If your flight lands at either Ho Chi Minh city or Hanoi or Da Nang airport, you may choose to get a Visa on arrival. This process is a little more simple, and cheaper, than the alternative.

The VOA paperwork employs an agent in Vietnam to get a letter of approval for you to present at the VOA counter once you land. The cost is $45 for one month or 3 month single-entry, $65 for less than a month, multi-entry access, or $95 for either 30 or 85 days of multiple entries. The VOA agent fees are small, usually close to $10. You get this letter of approval by applying online through a reputable agent.

Alternatively, U.S. citizens can apply for a Vietnam Visa as early as 6 months prior to travel date by mail or in persona t the Embassy.

Happy Travels!

Remember: It’s always good practice to apply for a Visa when there’s plenty of time for it to process for your departure date. But, for those that are only valid for a short time, be sure not to apply too early and risk it expiring on you while abroad or before you takeoff.

Other destinations for which you need a Visa include Afghanistan, Bhutan, Pakistan, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Suriname and, since there are no consular regulations between it and the U.S., North Korea (Unless you find a travel agency that specializes in North Korean tours, in which case you need a Visa from China as well as it will be your point of entry).

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