Homepage
Holiday planning

Destinations that need a visa for travel (and how to avoid a visa rip-off)

15 December 202210 min read

A picture of a beautiful Goa province beach in India with fishing boats and stones in the sea

Dreaming of an adventurous holiday to a far-flung, trip-of-a-lifetime destination? We don’t blame you. But the further you go (think Australia, India and the USA), the more likely you are to need a visa for travel.

Unfortunately, there are fraudulent websites out there looking to capitalise on this. These sites offer fake visa services that charge well over what’s necessary. For example, we have found charges of up to £75 on top of the normal visa fees for doing nothing other than directing you to the correct website.

So, to help prevent you from becoming a victim of these sites, we look at the popular holiday destinations that require a visa for travel, and the correct process and costs for travellers with a full British passport.

Turkey: No visa required

British citizens do not need a visa to enter Turkey for visits of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This is a relatively new process – before March 2020, a visa was still required.

To enter, your passport will need to be valid for at least 150 days from the date of your arrival in Turkey.

If you hold another type of British nationality (eg British Overseas Citizen or British Subject), check the requirements before you travel. You can apply for a longer visa if you plan to remain in the country for more than 90 days. Full details on entry requirements can be found on the FCDO website.

India: e-Tourist Visa

Cost: Short-stay from US$10 (around £8)

India has reinstated the online electronic visa service to Brits (the e-Tourist Visa) following its suspension during the Covid-19 pandemic – great news if you’re after a winter sun holiday to Goa or a once-in-a-lifetime trip to visit the Golden Triangle. The service, first implemented in August 2019, is completely online, meaning no trip to London to visit the Indian visa agency.

There are three e-Tourist visas for India available from the UK: 30 days, 365 days or 5 years. The scheme is designed for shorter visas to be approved quickly.

Apply for a visa for all Indian tourist trips arriving at one of 29 airports including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Goa. You can apply for a visa as late as four days ahead of your arrival and up to a maximum of 120 days ahead of your trip date.

You can stay 30 days under the short-stay e-Tourist visa; with the longer-term visas, you’re allowed up to 180 continuous days. Passports will need to be valid for a minimum of six months from the date of your arrival in India. Apply on the official website here.

USA: ESTA

Cost: US$21 (around £17)

The visa waiver scheme for trips to the US, including the holiday favourites of Florida, New York and Las Vegas, is known as the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) and has been in place for many years.

However, many holidaymakers get caught out by spurious websites charging over the odds – and which may not even give you the correct documentation for arrival in the US. Use the official site below only.

It’s also recommended that you purchase your visa when you book your holiday but if this is not possible, you must apply no later than 72 hours before departing for the US or you may be denied boarding.

The length of trip permitted under ESTA visas is 90 days. Once issued, the ESTA is valid for two years allowing you multiple trips into the USA without the need to buy a new visa; if your passport expires in this time, you will need to reapply. Passports need to be valid for the duration of your intended stay. Apply on the official website here.

Canada: eTA

Cost: CAD$7 (around £4)

Brits will need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) in order to enter Canada. The scheme acts similarly to the ESTA visa waiver programme for the US and you should apply at least seven days before you travel.

You’lll need a valid eTA code in order to complete your check in, whether Canada is your final destination or you are only flying through in transit. The eTA is electronically linked to your passport and will last for five years or until your passport expires.

The eTA generally allows you to stay in Canada for up to six months, but this is determined by a border services officer at the port of entry. Passports need to be valid for the duration of your intended stay. Apply on the official website here.

Australia: eVisitor

Cost: Free

Australia's excellent eVisitor visa scheme is easy to use, though you must apply from outside the country. Be aware that airlines charge for this service, so do it yourself using the official website below.

With the eVisitor scheme, you can stay in Australia for up to three months at any single time, allowing for multiple entries within twelve months. Passports need to be valid for the duration of your intended stay. Apply on the official website here.

Cuba: Tourist Card

Cost: £19

Planning a trip to Cuba? You’ll need to obtain a Tourist Card before departing the UK. For DIY holidaymakers, these can be obtained from the Cuban Embassy in London – you can find the address and contact details on the official website below. Tourist Cards are issued the same day as application.

If you have booked a package holiday or cruise, check with your tour operator. Some companies will organise a tourist card for you, while others may require you to purchase this before you travel.

With a Tourist Card, you’re allowed to stay for up to 30 days on a single entry, with the possibility of extending for an additional 30 days. According to the Cuban Embassy, passports need to be valid for two months from the date you leave the country. You can find more information on the official website here.

Cambodia: Tourist Visa

Cost: US$36 (around £29)

If you’re visiting or travelling through Cambodia you will need to apply for a Tourist Visa. These can be obtained upon arrival in the country or applied for online (eVisa) before you travel. Allow at least three business days for your eVisa to be processed.

You also need to make sure your passport is stamped on arrival and keep the departure form you will be given.

Tourist Visas are valid for a single entry and stay of up to 30 days. Passports need to be valid for a minimum of six months from the date of your arrival in Cambodia. It’s worth noting that your entry may be refused if your passport is damaged or has missing pages. Apply on the official website here.

Egypt: e-Visa

Cost: US$25 (around £20)

Travellers heading to one of Egypt’s South Sinai resorts (that’s Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba) will not need a visa for stays up to 15 days. Instead, you’ll receive a free entry permission stamp upon arrival. If your trip extends this time frame or you intend to travel outside of the resort areas, you must apply for a visa in advance.

For everyone else, you’ll need to apply for a visa. Apply online via the official e-Visa website (recommended) or from your nearest Egyptian consulate.

An e-Visa entitles you to a maximum three-month stay on a single entry. Passports need to be valid for a minimum of six months from the date of your arrival in Egypt. Apply on the official website here.

New Zealand: NZeTA

Cost: NZD$17 (around £8) via free app or NZD$23 (£12) online

The New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) – a visa waiver – is your ticket to discovering Maori culture and Middle Earth. But it’s not the only requirement: you’ll also need to fork out for the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) when you apply. It costs NZD$35 (around £18).

The NZeTA is valid for up to two years and allows for multiple entries. You should allow up to 72 hours for processing.

On arrival, keep your documents handy as you may need to prove you meet the visa-free entry criteria at airport immigration. This can include showing an onward ticket and having sufficient funds to support you for the duration of your stay in New Zealand. Full details on entry requirements can be found on the FCDO website.

The maximum length of trip permitted with the NZeTA six months. Passports need to be valid for a minimum of three months from the date you intend to depart New Zealand. Find out more and apply on the official website here.

Sri Lanka: ETA

Cost: US$50 (around £40) online or US$60 (£48) on arrival

An Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) is needed to enter Sri Lanka. You can apply online via the official ETA website below or upon arrival in Sri Lanka. Applying online prior to travelling is highly recommended to prevent delays at the airport.

With a tourist ETA, you can remain in Sri Lanka for up to 30 days; it also allows for two entries into the country within this period. Passports need to be valid for a minimum of six months from the date you arrive. Apply on the official website here.

Tanzania: Ordinary Visa

Cost: US$50 (around £40)

To enter Tanzania (mainland and Zanzibar), you’ll need what’s known as an ‘Ordinary Visa’. You can apply for this online in advance of travel via the e-visa website or on arrival at a main entry port. Be aware that you’ll need proof that you meet immigration requirements to hand if you choose the latter. You can no longer obtain one from the Tanzanian High Commission in London.

You may also need to provide proof of your return or onward flight ticket upon arrival into the country.

With an Ordinary Visa – whether you apply online or on arrival – you can stay for up to a maximum of 90 days on a single entry. Passports need to be valid for a minimum of six months from the date you arrive in Tanzania. Apply on the official website here.

Our visa top tips:

  • When planning and booking a trip, always check to see if you need a visa for travel and the length your passport needs to be valid for. British Nationals can do that by visiting the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website.
  • Check your passport will be in date when you travel – follow our advice on how to renew your passport.
  • Find out if you need blank pages in your passport for visas.
  • Plan time to apply for your visa – every country has different requirements so the earlier you plan, the easier it is.
  • Use official sites only or trusted companies who specialise in obtaining visas on a fast-track basis.
  • When applying, keep copies of all documents and track your application.
  • When you receive your visa, photocopy it and travel with this copy in case your passport is lost or stolen. It’s wise to also keep details of the visa number in your mobile phone, plus a photo of the document for easy access.
  • If you are travelling with the intention of working, or for prolonged periods, you may need to apply for specialist visas. Check the official website of the country you are travelling to.
  • Note that people with any form of criminal record may need to apply for a visa in person. Check the visa website of the country you are travelling to.

Sign up and save on your next holiday

Be a savvy traveller and get top deals to your inbox, expert travel advice and the chance to win holidays

We won't pass your details on to anyone else. By clicking the sign up button you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.