These Frequently Asked Questions have been arranged into
categories to help answer questions that you may have about
visas, passports and travel to certain key regions of the
world. Please select a link from below to view all questions
and answers in that category.
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a member to conduct visa search requirements
to any country in the world.
General Visa Questions
Q. What is a visa?
A. A visa is the granting of permission to enter another country or region.
Q. The visa search says that my passport must have 1 blank visa page.
I have 1 page with 1 small stamp on, is this acceptable?
A. No. An embassy will not issue a visa over another visa or Immigration stamp.
Q. Once I obtain a visa does that guarantee that I will be able to enter the country I have obtained a visa for?
A. No. Only at Immigration on arrival is the final decision to accept or reject a visitor to a country made.
Q. I applied to the embassy for a visa and had all the documents required but was turned away and told to come back with additional documents. Why?
A. All embassies reserve the right to request further information for whatever reason or to change visa requirements or forms at little or no notice. Usually the additional information is to support a statement or provide evidence that the visit is for a limited period.
Q. I am arranging for a visa for my son who is a minor. I will not be accommanying him on this journey?
A. You should provide a letter authorising his visit. The letter must be signed by both parents. Some embassies will have a special form that must be completed for this purpose.
Q. What is meant by an Invitation and where do I get one from?
A. An invitation for a business visa is normally a letter from the company being visited. If you are visiting friends or relatives an invitation letter would be written by the family you will be staying with.
If visiting Russia a tourist invitation can be arranged through the hotel where you are staying or MyVisaAdviser can issue can arrange this for you. These invitations are authorised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Q. Can I take my documents to the embassy any day and get my visa
while I wait?
A. Different rules apply for different countries. Every embassy has its own proceedures. For many European countries including all Schengen Countries and the USA you must make an appointment to visit the embassy. The date of the appointment may be up to 4 weeks after the request is made. Register on MyVisaAdviser and you will be advise of embassy processing times etc. for each country.
Q. What is an Australian ETA visa and where can I get one from?
A. ETA stands for Electronic Travel Authority and can be arranged online through our website without any need for the applicant to visit the embassy. No visa sticker is put in your passport but a record of the authority is on the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) website and checked by Immigration on entry to Australia.
Q. How long can I stay in Australia?
A. An ETA visa is valid for multiple visits with each stay being valid up to 3 months. If you intend to stay for longer than 3 months in one visit you will need to apply for your visa through the Australian Embassy.
Q. Are all nationals issued an ETA visa when travelling to Australia?
A. No. An online ETA visa is issued to nationals of 32 countries including the United
Kingdom and most European countries. A full list is on About Australia Visas page.
Click here to see the list.
Q. I am not in good health but still wish to visit Australia will this make any difference?
A. You will not be able to apply for an online ETA visa. You will need to complete a visa application for and apply through the Australian Embassy enclosing a current letter from your GP giving a up to date assessment on an pre existing medical condition. Allow additional time for your application to be processed.
Q. I have a conviction will I still be able to visit Australia?
A. You will not be able to apply for an online ETA visa. You will need to complete a visa application for and apply through the Australian Embassy enclosing a written statement providing full details of the offence including dates and details of the sentence and or fine. Allow additional time for your application to be processed.
Q. On my last visit to Australia I overstayed the visa period?
A. If the visit where you overstayed the visa period was in the last 3 years you will not be able to enter Australia on an online ETA visa. You must complete a visa application form and apply for your visa through the Australian Embassy.
Q. I have a British passport but am a British Subject not a British Citizen can I still get an ETA type visa?
A. No. Only British Citizens are elegible for an ETA visa. Holders of British Subject and British National (Overseas) passports must apply for a visitor visa through the Australian Embassy by completing the visa application and submitting your documents and passport in the normal way.
Q. I have dual nationality does it matter which passport I use when I travel?
A. As a rule you should always arrive and depart either country of your nationality with that nationalities passport. If you are applying for a visa while in the UK you should always apply with the passport that holds your Work/ Residents Permit.
Q. Why does my place of birth matter when travelling to some countries?
A. When applying for some visas your original place of birth may be land originally belonging to a country which does not have friendly relations with the country you are travelling to, disputed territories.
Q. My passport expires in 8 months time and I am going on holiday to
Kenya in 3 months time and I am told I must have 6 months validity on my passport. If I change my passport now will I lose 8 months validity on my
A. No the passport office will add to your new passport the unepired validity of your old passport to the nearest complete month. Therefore if you apply now you received a new passport which expires in 10 years and 8 months time. This helps people to apply for renewal of their passports at quieter times in the year without being penalised.
Q. Can I travel on my passport if it is damaged?
A. It does all depend on the extent of the damage. If your passport has been through the wahing machine you must renew your passport enclosing your birth certificate together with new photos that are countersigned.
Far greater attention is now placed on the condition of the photo page of your passport. If the film covering the data and photo is peeling in any way this is regarded as damaged and a replacement passport should be obtained.
Q. Why do passport photos have to be countersigned sometimes and not others?
A. Your photos will need to be countersigned if your previous passport was lost or stolen or your appearance has changed since your previous passport was issued. This includes having facial and then not or vice versa. Other occassions is when you go from a child passport to an adult passport your photo must be ountersigned.
Q. My passport has been lost or stolen what action should I take?
A. If your passport was lost or stolen away from the home you must first report it to the police and then complete an LS01 form and submit it to the Passport Office. This must be done irrestective of whether you are applying for a replacement passport. For further in formation follow the link to the UK Passport office website.www.ukpa.gov.uk
Q. What is a machine readable passport?
A. A machine readable passport has 2 lines of arrows along the bottom of the biographical page (page with your photo and personal details). Within the arrows is your name and passport number.
Q. Why do some people have a machine readable passport and some not ?
A. In the United Kingdom machine readable passports have been issued for at least 10 years. However, United Kingdom passports issued at consulates and embassies abroad were often not machine readable. For example a UK passport renewed in Singapore or Tokyo would not have been a machine readable passport, although now they are issuing machine readable passports.
Some countries like France and Belgium have only recently introduced Machine Readable passports.
Q. I have dual nationality does it matter which passport I use when I travel?
A. As a rule you should always arrive and depart either country of your nationality with that nationalities passport. If you are applying for a visa while in the UK you
should always apply with the passport that holds your Work/ Residents Permit.
Q. I hold a national identity card can I travel abroad on it instead of a passport?
A. If your Identity card was issued by a European Country such as France or Germany you can use this to travel to Europe.
Q. What is a biometric passport?
A. A biometric passport is one which uses the most advanced technology to verify a persons identity. Biometric identifiers include facial recognition. fingerprints and iris recognition. The biometric data can be scanned and matched against information
stored on a chip in a Passport or Identity Card.
Q. When will I be issued with a biometric passport ?
A. UKPS will introduce biometric passports for United Kingdom passport holders from from 2006. This will be a gradual process starting with the introduction of facial recognition biometric passports. It is intended to introduce fingerprint scans from 2008.
Q. What is this I hear about the passport office issuing free passports ?
A. Yes. If you are a British national born before the 2nd September 1929 you can pply for a free 10 year passport through the UK passport Service. The service is free for the Standard Service. If you require the Fastrack or Pemium Service a fee will be charged although not the full fee.
Q. Why a Schengen Visa?
A. It is called such after the the Schengen Agreement, which was signed in the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, agreeing to the removal of internal borders. Note that the United Kingdom and Ireland are not members of the Schengen Agreement as the United Kingdom wishes to main its own borders and Ireland wishes to retain its position within the Common Travel Area giving free movement between the UK and Ireland.
Q. What is a Schengen visa and how can I get one?
A. A Schengen visa allows you to travel freely within the Schengen states within the validity of the visa. Hence 1 visa allowing visitors to travel to all 15 member countries.
Q. What countries can I visit with a Schengen Visa?
A. There are currently 15 countries who are signatories to the Schengen agreement and other countries will join in 2007. The Members of the Schengen Agreement are; Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.
Q. How long can I stay in the Schengen states for?
A. This all depends on the visa that has been issued to you. Usually the maximium period of stay ranges from 30 days to 90 days, although some visas may be limited to 7 days duration.
Q. I have been issued with a multiple entry Schengen visa which is valid for 6 months. It also says that valid for 60 days, what does this mean?
A. The visa is valid for 6 months from the date of issue and for multiple visits. The 60 days validity is the total number of days you may stay in the Schengen States on this visa. You may make 1 single visit for 60 days or a number of shorter visits up to a maximum stay in total of 60 days.
Q. I have been issued a Temporary passport and wish to know if I can get a Schengen visa with this passport?
A. You can obtain a Schengen visa in a Temporary Passport but it will be restricted to certain countries. A Schengen visa issued in a Temporary Passport excludes permission to visit Greece, Denmark, Iceland, Luxembourg and Norway.
You would however be able to visit one of these countries on a Temporary Passport by making seperate application to the individual country for a single entry visa. (This would not be a Schengen visa and would not permit access to other Schengen countries.)
Q. Does it matter which country I apply to for my Schengen visa?
A. If you are only visiting 1 Schengen country you must apply to the embassy or consulate of that country for your visa.
If you are visiting several countries you must apply for your visa from the embassy or consulate of the country of your main destination. If you are visiting several Schengen countries without having a main destination you must apply for your visa from embassy or consulate of the country of your first destination.
Q. I have a valid Schengen visa but it expires halfway through my visit to Germany, can I travel on it?
A. You must have a visa valid for the full duration of your stay in the Schengen States. As you cannot have to valid Schengen visas in the same passport you will first need to get the original visa cancelled through the embassy that issued it and them apply for a new Schengen visa.
USA Visas and Travel
Q. What is a visa waiver and can anyone travel on one?
A. The Visa Waiver Program was introduced to grant visa free travel to nationals of 32 countries including the United Kingdom, for tourist, business or transit purposes only, and staying for 90 days or less. You will not be able to travel under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), if you have been arrested, whether convicted or not, or if you suffer from a serious communicable disease or have previously overstayed in the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. You must arrive in the United states on a participating carrier.
Q. What must I do if I want to travel to the USA under the visa waiver program?
A. First check that you are eligible to travel under the visa waiver program. Follow the link to the VP wizard. Once you have established that you are eligible to travel under the visa waiver program you need to register on the Electronic System for Travel Authorization ESTA.
For further information on ESTA refer to MyVisaAdviser information pages on US visas.
I have a postdated passport. Can I register under ESTA?
A. ESTA will only recognise a valid passport. Therefore, you will not be able to register your details until the date on which the passport becomes vaild for travel. It is recommended that a traveller submit a registration at least 72 hours before travelling. If there is insufficient time for you to do this between the wedding ceremony and date of travel, you may wish to delay applying for a postdated passport and travel on your exisiting passport together with a copy of your marriage certificate.
Q. What is a participating carrier?
A. A participating carrier is a carrier that has and agreement with the US Immigration authorities to carry visitors into the US visa free. Most scheduled airlines and cruise ship companies are part of the agreement. Notable exceptions are private aircraft and private yachts will note be and therefore you will not be able to use these means of transport to arrive into the USA visa free. However, some private aicraft belonging to US Corporations have entered into an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security and can carry passengers under the (VWP). You would need to check with the Corporation.
Q. Do I have to enter and leave the United States by a participating carrier when travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme?
A. No. You must enter the United States by a participating carrier, but your onward or return journey may be any mode of transport, provided you hold a return or onward ticket.
Q. What happens if I visit the United States on a Visa Waiver and stay longer than 90 days?
A. If you overstay your permitted 90 day visit to the United States you will not be able to use the Visa Waiver Programme to enter the United States on your next visit. Although you are a Visa Waiver national you will be required to apply for a Visitor Visa for your next visit.
Q. I have a valid visa in my old passport, can I transfer it to my new passport?
A. It is not possible to transfer a visa from one passport to another without making a new visa application.
Q. The visa in my old passport is an Indefinite visa can I still use it?
A. An 'Indefinite ' validity visa is nolonger valid for travel to the United States. You will need to either travel under the Visa Waiver Programme or apply for a new visa, whichever is appropriate.
Q. I have a United Kingdom passport which is valid for less than 6 months. Can I travel to the United States on it?
A. Yes. The United Kingdom and the United States have an agreement that the passport need only be valid for the full duration of the visit to to the United States.
If you are travelling visa free under the Visa Waiver Programme and your passport is not valid for 90 days, you will be admitted into the United States until the date on which the passport expires.
Q. I did not hand in the I-94/w when I last left the United States. Will this matter?
A. If you have left the United States and still have your I-94 or I-94W it is in your best interest to forward it to the appropriate authorities so that your record is corrected and no problems are experienced on future trips to the United States.
To ask your own question, please email myvisaadviser . Please note that we cannot guarantee that your question will be answered and published. Questions regarding visa search requirements cannot be answered in the FAQs section as this is a paid member service that we offer.
should register as a member to conduct visa search requirements to any country in the world.