Thursday, November 13, 2008

Visas, Visas, Visas

We went to the Chinese Consulate after a late lunch and got in line to retrieve our passports and, hopefully, our Chinese Visas. After a fairly short wait, and for a mere $260 cash, we now have our passports with one year, multi-entry visas. It is obvious that we will have to make another trip before November 10, 2009 to get our money's worth!

Tomorrow, after getting a cashier's check for $130 we will submit our passports to the tender mercies of the US postal system in hopes of getting our Vietnam visas back within a reasonable time; say December 1st.

We should be OK in the visa department as soon as we get the ones for Vietnam. All total we will need twelve visas. Princess will get our visa for New Guinea and charge the $50 fee to the cabin. Dick filled out a form online for the Australian visa and it is just in the computer system that the airlines and Australian Immigration access. There is no visa, as far as we know, placed in your passport. The charge was $16.69 each and no lines. It was a very civilized way of doing it!

Cambodia may be a third world country but their visa process is almost the same as Australia’s. The only difference is we will pay $25 dollars to get the visa added to the passport when we arrive at immigration in the Siem Reap airport.

South Africa is another whole ball game! They require 4 full empty, consecutive no less, visa pages in the passport if you are just coming to South Africa. If, like us, you are going to another African country and coming back to South Africa then you must have six empty pages! Fortunately, we can fill out the forms and just give them to the officer at the airport immigration along with the fee and get a "visa on arrival". We will travel through Johannesburg on the way to Zimbabwe, then come back to South Africa for a while. We have read that South Africa has denied entry to people who didn’t have the required empty pages. Don’t want that to happen! Hence the reason for getting all the extra pages.

For the next three visa countries, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and United Arab Emirates, we can fill out the paper work, give it to the immigration officers when we arrive and get a "visa on arrival". Of course we will still pay the fee’s, but at least we don’t have to mail our passports somewhere! We may or may not have to get a visa for Kenya; the regulations seem to indicate that since we stay in transit and are there for less than 24 hours each time we don’t need a visa. Even if we do, we can get it when we arrive.

Seabourn will get the last three visas we need, Oman, Egypt and Turkey so that is one more thing we don’t have to mess with. Again the fees will be charged to the cabin.

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