Travel visas for a Canuck

I’ve been asked the following question: do I need travel visas for the places I’m visiting next year?

I hold a Canadian passport, which allows travel to 164 countries without a visa (as of August 2011).

The Wikipedia page, Visa requirements for Canadian citizens, provides an initial examination, before I checked various official sites for confirmation.

Below I’ve listed countries and places I’m planning to visit, whether I need a visa before entering the country, and the amount of time I can stay in the country :

  • United States — no pre-entry visa required; 6 months
  • Bahamas — no pre-entry visa required; 3 months
  • Hong Kong — no pre-entry visa required; 3 months
  • Macau — no pre-entry visa required; 1 month
  • Vietnam — pre-entry visa required; 1+ month
  • New Zealand — no pre-entry visa required; 3 months
  • Australia — pre-entry Electronic Travel Authority (ETA online) visa required; 3 months
  • South Africa — no pre-entry visa required; 3 months
  • Europe (Schengen) — no pre-entry visa required; 3 months maximum within one half-year period
  • United Kingdom (non-Schengen) — no pre-entry visa required; 6 months

If visiting Vietnam becomes a reality, I’ll be applying for a visa while I’m in Hong Kong. As I’ve traveled to Australia from Chile a few times already, I’ve gone through the ETA visa process. It’s relatively straight-forward, taking only a few minutes; once approved, the visa is valid for one calendar year from the moment/day I complete the online visa.

All of the European countries on my wishlist are presently within the Schengen area. All countries participating in the Schengen treaty are in the European Union (except for Switzerland), but not all European Union countries participate in Schengen. The Wikipedia page on the visa policy within the European Union provides a quick glance at the requirements.

However, “passport-free travel” within Schengen is being reconsidered. That would be a shame, but in many ways, that’s not a big effect on me, as I’ll always have my Canadian passport with me.

As various documents attest, a visa doesn’t guarantee entry; a visa provides minimum eligibility to enter the country. The Canadian government Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) also has a webpage about visa requirements.

For the world-trip in 2012, I’m happy that obtaining travel visas are the least of my worries.

This post was originally published on Fotoeins Fotopress (fotoeins.com).

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