Planning a trip can be daunting in terms of booking flights, hotels, local transportation and tours. Additionally, you need to worry about vaccinations and documentation like passport and visas.
Not everyone need visas to your destination country. While some countries offer visa-free travel for the passport you hold, some offer visa-on-arrival and then there are countries which mandate you to get a visa prior to your departure.
Depending on the country’s passport you hold, you may get a visa-free travel or you may have to go through the maddening process taking weeks or months of paperwork and visits to consulates/embassies. Applying for a visa does not guarantee an approval, which can make or break your trip. For example, getting a tourist visa to the totalitarian government-run Turkmenistan is almost impossible!
A word of caution – Treaties and collaborations between countries change very often and it is best to check with the consulate of the country making sure you do or don’t require a visa. In our experience, even websites of the consulates do not list the most updated information, so call or email the Consulate General for the most updated data.
Here are a few options where you can check if you need a visa or not:
1. Passport Index
Passport Index will tell you if you need visa to your destination country or not. Apart from exploring the passports of various countries on the main page for fun, the helpful part is in the visa comparison table, that allows you to select the country you hold a passport with, and see visa requirement is like for virtually every other country in the world. Compare processes by adding multiple passports to the comparison list.
The “compare by destination” tab specifies countries that put visitors from other nations through if they want to visit. There are no links to follow for applying for visas by providing links to the embassies or consulates. But this can be a good starting point to see if you need a visa to that exotic destination or not.
2. Henley’s Index
Reliability: Medium to high
Henley’s & Partners passport index is the most accessed and called-out by media companies as a measure of global access. Beyond its most reliable ranking, it also gives a picture of your travel freedom, including which countries you can access with which type of visa that will improve your mobility.
The Henley Passport Index is the only passport index that is based on IATA data making it one of the most reliable index of its kind.
3. Timatic / IATA
Timatic: The most robust, credible, reliable and up-to-date source of information that is also accessed by all airlines is Timatic Web, which is powered by IATA and requires monthly subscription service to access data.
IATA: You can also use IATA Website to access the same details, but it requires you to fill many form fields over three ‘pages’ before giving you the information.
Emirates: The best and cleanest resource to access the exact same IATA/Timatic details is go to Emirates’ websites Before you fly page. Just enter the nationality you hold, any residency and your destination country and it will give clean and simple to understand results.
If you are transiting through some other countries then you can add those (up to 5) and it will give you details of all the visas you might need across the transit countries as well.
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