Hard to get visas

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Swissdiver 22 Jun 2016
at 06:53

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)

  • Anonymous


    I’m just curious here, but which countries are the hardest to get work visas?


    The UK from Friday 😉



    Well worth a read. I seem to remember Sudan being quite high on the list, along with Saudi Arabia.


    Include Russia. They require the provision of a full travel itinerary going back to the beginning of time plus an HIV test result and answers to sundry other questions. Brits and Americans are particularly singled out for attention.



    Depends which country you’re coming from 😉


    A colleague and I went to Eritrea last year, the visa process was so easy. I sent my driver to the embassy to ask for forms, he came back and said all they wanted was a copy of the passport details page.

    That was duly sent and a week later they phoned my driver to get our passports and SAR365 each, the only contact with the embassy was the guy phoned me to ask if either of us had been to Ethiopia. All in all a simple process, no forms, no photos. But won’t be going back!


    Mauritania back in 2010. Arrived at the embassy in Paris however it turned out they had moved the day previously to a new address. Flustered and late I arrived at the new location. The facilities appeared to be a standard West African customs building transplanted into Paris – complete with greasy walls, no ventilation and lots of people aimlessly wandering around. 4 hours of waiting achieved nothing, I finally dropped my English manners and joined the scrum of people shouting at the official. Visa received several hours later. Somehow I managed to get my flight.


    @ AnthonyDunn – 20/06/2016 19:08 BST

    Along with what Anthony is saying, the ease in obtaining a Russian Work Permit, which usually entitles the holder to a renewable 3 year muti-entry visa is greater when the company inviting the person is a major player not just in business, but in the ‘court’ of the government such as Gazprom, Sberbank, Rosneft, Lukoil, etc. Along with the HIV test, the applicant must likewise prove a health insurance policy that exceeds 1 million USD coverage valid for the duration of the permit. Keep in Mind, in Russia, if for whatever reason your work permit is rescinded, you now have 30 days in which to leave the country where previously it was only 72 hours. Depending on your view that is an improvement or a punishment? 🙂

    As to nationality, Russia plays very much tit-for-tat and as the USA and the UK make life very difficult for Russians to obtain visas, the Russians do likewise, and they price their visas according to the prices charged for their citizens in the other countries.


    AnthonyD: they don’t seem too fussed if you can’t remember….


    @ PeterCoultas – 21/06/2016 11:30 BST

    Yes I do remember: they require inter alia anyone who has previously been a member of the military (and related organisations) to declare this. Am I about to provide chapter and verse on any and every question and nuance of the Russian visa system? Find it out for yourself if you wish to go.

    After what I consider to be flagrant Russian aggression against the Ukraine, I took my personal decision not to pursue my itinerary on the Trans-Siberian and pulled the plug on my visa application.


    China is certainly interesting if you’re a journalist.

    Now though it’s easier not to get a journalist visa at all, but get a business one instead (I have two passports, so have to be careful which one I use) though even that isn’t easy. A few years ago, I got a visa for a work trip to Shanghai, but when it came back they’d put the wrong return date (as you might expect it has to be exactly right, as the consequences of doing it wrong don’t bear thinking about).

    I went back to the visa agency and rather than just returning it, I had to re-apply all over again with the exact same forms and then the visa got refused! No explanation, nothing. This went on for five weeks with no sense coming from the embassy and my passport bouncing back and forth and the trip had to be cancelled as a result.

    I’ve been to China since, but my heart is in my mouth every time I hand over all the forms and passport. In my experience the visa agencies (can’t remember the name of the one just behind Victoria but I would recommend them) are well worth their fee, but even they can’t get it right every time.


    This depends a lot on your nationality. For instance, many Brits struggle to get a second business visa to Nigeria (the TWP thing) while Swiss don’t… What is common to all is the need for an invitation number from the ministry (Russia, KSA, Iran, …), which renders the visa request hard to time. But at the end, with few exceptions (North Korea?), it is mostly a question of timing.

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