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Do I need a visa? Guide to Asian holiday destinations

All you need to know about visas
All you need to know about visas

Bags packed, tickets booked and taxi on its way? Hang on, what about a visa? It’s a nightmare situation many have faced when travelling, sometimes leading to denial to board the aircraft at Changi. Don’t leave it too late! Check our handy guide for visa requirements to a selection of Asian countries.

Australia
With the exception of New Zealand citizens, all visitors to Australia require a visa or Electronic Ticket Authority (ETA), which is available online. Online application for ETA is free and extends to passport holders of Canada, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the USA. Others, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, the UK and the Vatican. These citizens must apply for the ETA through service providers. All other nationalities should check the website. www.eta.immi.gov.au

Cambodia
All foreign passport holders, except passport holders of Singapore, Laos, Malaysia and the Philippines, require a visa to enter Cambodia. Most visitors will require a tourist visa, which is available on arrival. A visa can also be prearranged at the Cambodian embassy or online through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at www.mfaic.gov.kh.

China
Citizens of Singapore, Brunei and Japan don’t need a visa for a stay of less than 15 days. Tours groups are also sometimes exempted. All others require a visa. www.visaforchina.org

India
Most nationalities require a visa. Citizens of Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and a few other countries are eligible to apply for visas on arrival. www.indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com

Indonesia
Most nationalities require a visa upon arrival, the exceptions being citizens of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, Chile, Morocco, Peru and Vietnam.

Japan
Countries with visa exemptions include the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and most of Europe. Stays are generally allowed for three months at a time. South Africans need to apply for a visa. A complete list of exempted countries is available at www.sg.emb-japan.go.jp.

Laos
With the exception of Japanese and ASEAN visitors, most visitors require a visa. Visas on arrival are available for most visitors at major points of entry (airports and certain land-border and ferry crossings). Persons who obtain an entry visa prior to arrival may enter at additional locations. Arrive with two passport-size photographs, a passport valid for at least six months and US dollars to pay the visa fee, which typically range from US$30 to $45. Thai baht and Lao kip are sometimes accepted, but at unfavorable exchange rates. Foreign tourists are generally admitted for 30 days.

Malaysia
Most nationalities do not need a visa to enter Malaysia for up to three months. However, citizens of China, India and Taiwan must obtain a visa prior to entry. www.imi.gov.my

Maldives
All nationalities are required to obtain a tourist visa upon arrival for a stay up to 30 days; a request for an extension can be made. www.immigration.gov.mv

Myanmar
All visitors to Myanmar, including infants and children travelling on a parent’s passport, must obtain visas. A tourist visa is $35 and allows a stay of up to 28 days. Writers, journalists, editors, film producers and photographers may have trouble obtaining a visa. Stating these occupations on your application may result in your visa being declined. Download forms at www.mesingapore.org.sg.

New Zealand
Most nationalities do not require visas for visits of less than three months. If you are unsure whether you require a visa, check the list at www.immigration.govt.nz.

Sri Lanka
As of 1 January 2012, all visitors except citizens of Singapore and Maldives must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) before entering Sri Lanka, which allows a stay of up to 30 days. The cost typically ranges from US$10 to $20. www.eta.gov.lk

Thailand
Citizens of Singapore, Australia, France, the UK, the US and Canada are not required to obtain a visa for stays not exceeding 30 days. For full list, visit www.thaiembassy.sg.

The Philippines
Most nationalities don’t need a visa, provided you do not stay longer than 21 days, have return tickets and a passport valid for at least six months. Citizens of India, China and a select group of other countries are advised to secure visas. For full list, visit www.philippine-embassy.org.sg.

Vietnam
Most nationalities require a visa on arrival. Exceptions are those from ASEAN nations, Korea, Japan, and Scandinavian countries, who are granted a 15-day stay without a visa. www.visaforvietnam.org

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