It can be hard to remember everything that you need to pack for an international trip. Besides making sure that your personal belongings are gathered, some countries require that you obtain a visa to enter. One way that you can go about this is by obtaining a visa on arrival (VOA). This allows you to get your visa upon landing at your destination country instead of getting your visa ahead of time. If you’re interested in getting a VOA, here’s what you should know:
What Does VOA (Visa on Arrival) Mean?
A visa on arrival (VOA) allows you to obtain a visa upon landing at your destination country rather than obtaining your visa before your trip. People may choose to get a VOA instead of obtaining a visa ahead of time because they don’t have time to get a visa before their trip, or maybe they forgot to obtain a visa.
Things to Know About VOA
Though obtaining a visa on arrival may be a good option for some travelers, it may not be a good option for everyone. There can be some difficulties to obtaining a VOA that you may not know about, such as:
- VOAs Are Not Available in Every Country: Some countries that require a visa to enter do not offer a visa on arrival. If a country does offer a VOA, they may only offer it for tourist visas and not business visas or vice versa.
- Countries Change Visa Requirements Frequently: Some visa on arrival countries change their visa requirements frequently and with little notice.
- There’s Still Prep Work to Do For a Visa On Arrival: While you don’t have to go through the entire visa application process for a VOA, you still need to do some preliminary work. Vietnam offers VOAs, and the country requires you to secure an official letter of approval from an agent in Vietnam before you arrive in the country. Other countries may have different requirements, such as applying for a VOA online before your departure.
- Long Wait Times Are Common on Arrival: It’s not uncommon to wait 3 hours or longer during the busy season at some airports. Finding the line you need can be confusing and tough, and public holidays in your destination country can significantly delay your visa processing.
- Watch Out For Variable Fees, Cash Only, and Scams: You need to be careful when obtaining a VOA as you could become a victim of a scam. For example, the Department of State website warns that some American citizens reported being charged unexpected and exorbitant fees upon landing in Vietnam. The Vietnam Embassy website additionally warns about websites suspected of defrauding travelers.
Are There Alternate Options to Visa on Arrival?
An alternate option to a VOA is to obtain your visa ahead of time (if available). This is typically the best option as you don’t have to worry about dealing with obtaining a visa on arrival. You’ll already have your visa in hand when boarding your flight, which will give you peace of mind. If you’re looking to get a visa for an upcoming trip, you can learn more about obtaining an expedited visa or business visa on our website.
Please note that some countries don’t offer the option to get a traditional visa, such as the United Arab Emirates.
Who Can I Contact if I Need Help With My Visa?
If you have any questions about obtaining a visa through Swift, please contact our team. We’d be happy to help answer any questions you may have and can work on helping you obtain a visa for your international travels.