To ensure that you never have to worry about travel preparations, it is Kiango Travel’s mission to give you as much travel information as possible. This article outlines the travel documents you might require when traveling abroad.
What Travel documents do you need?
To travel abroad you will need a passport and in certain instances a visa.
What is a Passport?
A passport is a document which is used to verify your country of citizenship as well as to regain entry into your country of citizenship.
What is a Visa?
A visa is an endorsement placed within your passport that grants you official permission to enter, leave or stay in a country for a specified time period. The visa is usually stamped or glued into the passport. A visa or permit does not, however, guarantee entry into the foreign country, as the decision to grant entry remains the decision of the immigration officials of the foreign country.
A visa can be valid for single or multiple visits, meaning that you can either use it to enter the country once and then it expires or you can enter the country several times on one visa. Some visas require an application to be filed prior to entering the country and other visas are granted upon entering the country. Certain countries, such as the USA, UK and other European countries might require you to go for an interview as well as subjecting to biometrics prior to getting the visa.
The most common visa types are tourist, work, business and transit visas. Tourist visas allow you to enter a foreign country for touristic and leisure purposes only and stay for a predetermined amount of time. Tourist visa holders are not allowed to work or engage in any business activities in the host country. Work visas are required for people who want to get employed or engage in business activities in the country they visit. A business visa allows the bearer to enter the host country and engage in business activities without joining that country’s workforce.
If you do not correctly comply with visa or permit requirements or overstay on your visa or permit you will be subject to any or all of the following: criminal prosecution, imprisonment, deportation and/or being blacklisted from that country
How Do I Apply for a Visa?
The first step is to find the official government immigration website of the country you intend to visit or visit travel companies like Kiango Travel for advice on the process. Once you are familiar with the visa application requirements of the country you intend to visit, you must fill out the required travel visa application form. You may be able to send in the form electronically or you may be required to send it by mail or hand deliver it to the consulate. If your destination requires visa on arrival, then you don’t need to worry about applying for a travel visa beforehand. In this case, once you get to your destination you may be required to fill out a visa form and pay any applicable fees. Double check the requirements with the relevant consulate prior to your departure.
What Are the Requirements for a Visa?
Each country has its own visa application requirements. When filing your visa application with the consulate or embassy of the country you intend to visit, you will be asked to include supporting documents with the main visa application. These may include
- Letter of invitation.
- A photocopy of the information page of your passport.
- One or two photographs of a specific size determined by the visa office.
- Proof of financial support during the trip.
- Travel insurance.
- Airplane tickets.
- Proof of purpose of travel.
- Health documentation e.g. Yellow fever vaccination certificate.
- Visa application fees.
Please ensure you have the correct documentation when you present yourself at check-in, security and Immigration formalities. You must present the same documentation at the boarding gates. Travellers without the necessary documents will be not be allowed to board to avoid flouting immigration rules.
What Are the Fees for Obtaining a Visa?
Each country has different fees for obtaining a visa. You can find these on your intended destination’s government immigration website.
What Are Visa Processing Times?
The government website of the country you intend to visit sets out how on their immigration websites how fast they process visa applications.
Visa free travel for South African passport holders
South African passport holders enjoy visa exemptions for certain countries. This means that South Africans can travel, usually for holiday or business purposes, to these countries without a visa for a pre-determined time.
According to the latest Passport Index for 2019, which examines the number of visa-free destinations for each country and published by Henley & Partners, South Africa ranks 53rd out of the 199 countries featured. South Africa is the third highest African country on the index, with its citizens enjoying visa-free access to 101 countries in total. This includes 68 total Visa-free entry and 33 Visa on entry.
You must always check with the travel agent and/or the Foreign Representative in South Africa of the country you intend to travel to, whether a visa is required or not. Since requirements can change from time to time it is best to double check the requirements before each trip. Kiango Travel will gladly offer you all the information with regards to the visa requirements.