Your One-Stop Guide to Understanding Travel VISAs

By Irene A, 24 April 2018 1611

A 2013 survey shows that 75% of Asian travellers choose a destination based on their destination's visa requirements -- are you one of them? VISA applications may seem complicated, but that shouldn’t be the case. 

Here, we break down the different VISA types so that you can start preparing for your trip with ease. Don't let your VISA be an excuse not to visit new and exotic locations! 

1. VISA-free 

Rejoice, Singaporeans! Our passport is officially the most powerful in the world, ranked according to the number of visa-free countries. Singaporeans can go to 162 countries without a VISA -- bypassing the hassle of preparing additional documents! However, do take note of the maximum duration of the visit, which varies from country to country. If you plan on staying longer than the stipulated period, you will still have to apply for a VISA.

Some of the countries that do not require any VISAs are ASEAN member countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and many more), Brazil, China, France, Japan, and South Africa. Exotic countries such as Bosnia, Herzegovina and Kenya are also VISA-free for Singaporean travellers. If you're looking for a fuss-free vacation with no VISA required, head to any of these 162 destinations!

2. VISA on arrival 

VISA on arrival allows travellers to obtain their VISA upon reaching their destination's arrival immigration and checkpoints. Likewise, you don't have to prepare any documents when visiting countries that require VISA on arrival. As long as you have your passport, you're eligible to obtain a VISA when you land at your destination. Countries like Egypt, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates let Singaporean travellers get their VISA upon arrival. Always check the immigration website of your destination country to understand their VISA requirements! 


Here's an example of how you could get a VISA on arrival in Nepal:

1) Fill in Nepal Arrival Card 

2) Once you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport, fill in the Tourist Visa form on the computers provided. Select the duration of the VISA that you need for the trip. Once your application has been submitted, you will be issued a receipt. 

3) Bring the receipt to the payment desk to make payment for your VISA. Make sure you have your Nepalese rupee ready!
Cost of Nepal's VISA on arrival:
15 Days – US$25
30 Days – US$40
90 Days – US$100 

3. e-VISA 

If you're travelling to countries that require a VISA, you should check if they allow you to apply for an e-VISA. If so, you can apply for a VISA online instead of going to an embassy. Once approved, the e-VISA will be sent to you via email. You can keep the soft copy for scanning during immigration or print it out before you leave for your trip. Several countries like India, Kuwait and Gabon offer the e-VISA option for Singaporean travellers.

Usually, you can apply for an e-VISA through the country's immigration website. However, the duration of validity and the price of each VISA varies from country to country. Different places may also have different policies for when you should apply for the e-VISA. To be safe, you should apply for your e-VISA at least 48 hours before departure.

For example, to apply for India's e-VISA, you need to submit the online application form and make payment online at least four days before your departure. The cost for Indian's VISA is US$25 for 60 days. 

4. VISA prior to arrival 

Some countries have a rigorous screening process for all VISA applications. The exact application period between countries ranges from at least 90 days before departure to no more than three weeks before departure. You will need to provide different sets of documents depending on where you're travelling to, but passport-sized photographs and the receipt and documentation for your return flight are common requirements across countries.  

Bhutan, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela are some countries who still need you to apply for a VISA prior to arrival. You need to contact the country's consulate or embassy in Singapore to request for information on their application procedures. It is the safest to arrange for an appointment at least 90 days before your departure. Some countries, like Bhutan, require you to book your trips through their domestic travel operator and will settle your VISA requirement for you. 

5. VISA Alternatives 

Some countries have specialised VISA alternatives. These include the Electronic System for Travel Authorization(ESTA) for travellers entering the United States (U.S.) and the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) for travellers entering Australia and Canada. An ESTA costs US$14 for a 90-day tourist or business stay in the U.S., while an Australian ETA allows Singaporeans to enter and exit Australia for a year, with the maximum duration of each visit being three months. The application fee for an Australian ETA sets you back AUD$20 and must be done at least 72 hours before your departure. 

Getting your VISA and travel documents means that you are one step closer to your destination. To ensure that your trip is smooth-sailing, don't forget to purchase travel insurance! Income's Travel Insurance allows travellers to obtain a plan that best suits their needs.  Start packing your bags - your exotic holiday awaits!