Archive for the 'Documentation' Category
Visas, we’ve learned, are a tricky thing. More than half of the countries we’re visiting don’t require a visa, and most of the visas we do need can be obtained upon arrival at the airport, averaging between $15 and $25 per visa per person. Our most expensive visa, for Chile, costs a whopping $131 per person! The cost and complexity of visas often has a great deal to do with current foreign policy. If the US increases visa prices for, say, Brazilian visitors, so, too, do American tourists to Brazil get squeezed. It’s a checks and balances thing.
Being clear on visa requirements and costs is a really important part of the planning process that’s easy to overlook. Without doing your research, you could waste days waiting around a capital city for a visa, or worse, be denied entry after you’ve flown halfway across the world. India was the one visa we were required to obtain in advance. It’s good for six months from the date of issue (not the date of entry, which is an important distinction). In order to obtain said visa, we had to send off a bundle of documents, two passport-sized photos, a credit card number, and our passports to — I kid you not — an outsourcing agency in San Francisco. (It’s true! We outsource to India, and India outsources to the US!)
I was a little nervous to send along my passport, the only thing I really need for this trip that I will be embarking on in less than six weeks. Apparently this is fairly common practice, but I still felt a little strange letting such an important document out of my possession. It’s not unlike the ticketing agent at the airport asking if you have let your baggage out of your sight since packing: relinquishing my passport felt illicit. But with any luck, we should have our Indian visas in about two weeks.