Visa Adviser® cultivates and regularly updates visa filing procedures and information for every country in the world. In doing so, we notice certain trends among countries about visa issuance and reciprocity all over the world. These are our observations.
- Short-term visa issuance is going online.
- More countries are outsourcing visa processing to third parties.
- More countries are issuing visas upon arrivals.
Short-term visa issuance is going online:
Nearly half of the world’s countries are currently using some form of online visa application. For instance, the United States’ visa application forms, the DS-160 for temporary visas, and DS-260 for permanent visas, are both online forms. Yet, in the United States, the visa is not approved until the applicant appears at the consulate for fingerprinting and for an interview to assess his or her qualification for the visa. Therefore, this does not qualify as a true “online” visa application process.
Instead, there are countries for which the visa application is submitted and approved online. And, your online print out of the approval is sufficient proof of visa for entry into the country. India and Angola, while issuing sticker visas for short visits, have carved out online filing procedures for tourist visas in the past few years. These applications can be submitted and approved entirely online. Other countries, such as Australia, have pioneered nearly exclusive online visa processing and issuance.
Depending on the nationality of the applicant, currently, the countries employing online visa issuance for tourism include: Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Benin, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guinea Bissau, India, Iran, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Malaysia, Moldova, Nepal, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zimbabwe.
Countries have begun to outsource their visa processing to third parties:
This category is interesting because it reflects the willingness of countries to recruit additional help for their visa processing. Countries that outsource their visa processing do not outsource visa issuance. In addition, sometimes the private companies are used as an additional option, so applicants may go directly to the consulate or to private processing centers to begin their visa application process. This is the case in Norway, where individual applicants may choose to go directly to the Norwegian consulate, or to Travisa and VFS to submit their visa application.
The twelve countries that have outsourced visa processing in the United States are Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, France, India, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, and Sweden.
More countries issuing visa upon arrivals:
On June 17, 2019, Brazil lifted visa requirements prior to arrival for Australia, Canada, Japan, and the United States nationals, allowing nationals of these countries to get a visa upon arrival for short visits of up to 90 days. Brazil’s move follows a trend wherein the visa upon arrival appears to have been adopted slowly but steadily by countries that previously required sticker visas. For instance, Qatar allows 80 nationalities to a get a visa upon arrival as of May 2017. Uzbekistan has also extended its 5-day transit visa, available upon arrival, to nationalities of 114 countries starting in July, 2018.
The following is a list of countries that allow visas upon arrival for selected nationalities: Bahrain, Benin, Brazil, Comoros, Cook Islands, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Macau, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia, Nauru, Nepal, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Qatar, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Suriname, Tanzania, Thailand, East Timor, Togo, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Of course, the lists presented here are not 100% inclusive and all of this information can change as countries update their procedures, so make sure to check for the most up-to-date information before you travel!
In the Visa Adviser® app, the visa processing and issuance methods are incorporated into the visa information for every country in the world. Updated visa information can be accessed in seconds. Travel professionals can register to the Visa Adviser® desktop web app where they can seamlessly switch between their booking program and information lookups. Individual travelers can download the free traveler’s Visa Adviser® Android App, and check it out!