Gap Year Visas
Planning a gap year for either travel or work involves obtaining the right visa to allow entry into a particular country. Visas and their requirements vary from country to country and many can be obtained in your country of origin before setting off on your travels. It is essential to check visa requirements from the Embassy, consulate or their website when planning your gap year and to allow sufficient time and money to obtain the visa or visas.
If your travel route or travel plans change during the gap year, it is often possible to obtain a visa on route. For instance, if you decide to visit India while travelling in Thailand, it is possible to obtain an Indian visa in Bangkok before going to India. Just allow enough time & money to complete the process.
Check that your passport is valid and covers the dates of your trip for the countries you will be going to. Many countries will give a 30 day or longer visa at the airport on arrival for British and European citizens. If a visa is required, you will have to visit the Embassy or Consulate for that particular country. A list of Embassies and Consulates is available at the Foreign & Commonwealth website.
To avoid delays with regards to obtaining a visa, always answer all relevant questions on the visa application form and bring along all necessary documentation and proof of identity as stated on the the Embassy's website.
Many countries allow visas to be renewed for a set period once the original visa has expired and this usually involves a standard charge. For instance visitors to Thailand are normally granted a 30 day visa on arrival but this can be renewed at various visa offices dotted around the country for another 15 days for around £30 to £40 pounds. Tourist visas for extended periods of stay in Thailand can be issued in your home country before departure and these last for two months. It is important to remember that staying in many countries with an expired visa is taken very seriously and can result in a prison sentence for extreme cases. Most people in possession of an expired visa will normally be charged a fee for each day past the expiry date but rules and regulations will vary from country to country.
Working visas are very popular for countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They normally apply to people aged between 18 to 30 years but always check the current situation before visiting the country. For Australia, a working visa may be issued for twelve months on arrival so long as the authorities are satisfied that you have enough funds, a return ticket and look reasonably sane.