Hong Kong & Macau

My wife and I recently visited both Hong Kong and Macau on our Indian passports. Our passports were brand new with new previous visas from any country. We were issued visas on arrival and allowed entry into both HK and Macau with no questions asked, no visa fees or any other complication. We got 14-day stay permissions. Both regions no longer stamp visitor passports, but instead give you a small paper slip with details of how long you can stay – try not to loose this slip.

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Fiji – Hassle free Visa on Arrival

Fiji gives visa on arrival to a large number of countries. My wife and I recently visited Fiji using our Indian Passports, and had no trouble entering or exiting without a visa. We had to fill an immigration form and a health-declaration (ebola related). The immigration officers didn’t ask for anything else. They just stamped our passport with a 4 month stay permit and let us in. Didn’t cost any money either.

FYI – we used fresh passports – with no previous visas or even entry stamps from any other country.

India’s Visa on Arrival – torn down

For those of us hoping that other countries would reciprocate and give Indians visa on arrival – I hate do dash your hopes.

Quoting the Indian Express: “The Bureau of Immigration will set up a website for this and upon submission of an application, it will email an electronic visa/travel authorisation within 2-3 days, allowing the tourist to enter India and also facilitate easier verification at airports.” (http://bit.ly/1fyO2U2)

You may have noticed statements like the above buried at the bottom of all newspaper articles announcing “Visa on Arrival” in India for 180 countries. This above statement doesn’t suggest “visa on arrival” at all!!

For it to be actually “visa on arrival”, the tourist should just be able to turn up at an Indian airport and complete all visa formalities there. Looks like India will still be requiring tourists to get a visa before travel. 

Of course, if they implement what they promise, applying for a visa online and receiving it electronically is a far cry above having to wait in line for hours at various Indian Embassies around the world. So Kudos anyway!

Indonesia Visa on Arrival (Denpasar, Bali).

Visa Type: Visa On Arrival

Country: Indonesia

Airport: Ngurah Rai Airport, Denpasar, Bali

Experience:

It was a breeze. No questions asked. No documents viewed. Only a fee of USD 25 per head taken. Good idea to have US Dollars at hand – they do take other currencies but exchange rates are bad.

I did not have side-by-side blank pages in my passport. I had 2 blank pages but far apart from each other. This did not present any problem. The officer used literally half-a-page for the visa sticker and his stamps (the entry & exit stamps were both on top of the visa sticker – no additional space used).

Official guidance says the following are required: Two blank pages in passport, 6 month passport validity, onward air tickets, hotel bookings. But the officer didn’t look for any of these things (except I presume he checked my passport for validity – but that wasn’t an issue for me as the passport is valid for many years yet).

Note: You need to pay IDR 150,000 per head departure tax on your way out. Ensure you keep that much in Rupiah at the end of your trip.

Land of Smiles … (Thailand Visa Experience)

Target Country: Thailand
Passport: Indian Passport
Visa Purpose: Tourist Visa
Processing Consulate/Embassy: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
Documents submitted:

  1. Onwards tickets (electronic itinerary was acceptable).
  2. Address in Thailand.
  3. Baht 1000 fee (cash was OK).
  4. Filled application form (available at Bangkok Airport)
  5. 1 passport-sized photos
  6. Valid passport

Experience:
Too easy! You just turn up at Bangkok Airport (or most other ports of entry in Thailand) and you apply for the visa at a dedicated desk before the immigrations area. There was no queues.

Time frame: 15 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on how many flights arrive at the same time.

NEW!!! Update as of July 2016: Our flight arrived in Suvarnabhumi airport at the same time as a number of flights from India, China and other Visa-on-Arrival countries. As a result the visa queue was at least 1.5 hours long. Luckily we had filled in the online visa form before traveling – this helped us jump the queue. The visa processing still took 20 minutes. The online visa form is available here. Don’t worry about the security warning about an invalid certificate. This is the genuine form.