Will I need a visa?

by Bert Maxwell /
Bert Maxwell's picture
Feb 18, 2013 / 0 comments

When traveling overseas, it is almost a no brainer to do at least a bit of research to check the visa requirements of the country you visit. This is even more important when your purpose is for teaching or volunteering. As this usually implies a longer period of residence in the country, some special visa requirements may apply. The conditions may differ quite significantly depending on your nationality as well. While most Europeans and North Americans are allowed to stay in many countries for a certain amount of time without the need to apply for a visa, the requirements can differ for others. It is therefore impossible to give a comprehensive overview for each specific case, but there are certainly a few things that should be considered to avoid mishaps with your documents that could have you deported.



Finding out more about visa requirements


Travelers or backpackers from North America or Europe are usually allowed to stay in a foreign country for 30-90 days without having to apply for a visa. In saying that, if it is your first time to a new place, it is definitely always a good idea to get your facts right on each destination.

When volunteering, there are usually a few more things to take into account. If you stay in a country for more than the 30 to 90 days that are usually allowed, you may need to check if it is possible to prolong the permit, and which steps are necessary to do so. You may also want to check whether a simple tourist visa is enough when volunteering, even if you are not getting reimbursed with a salary. Each country has different rules, and information can be somewhat confusing to find. If you are volunteering with a specific organization, you should always contact your host organization first. They usually have quite a lot of experience with other volunteers from all around the world, and if they don’t have the answer, they would probably give you the right advice on where to find it.

If you are still uncertain, then take a minute to contact the embassy of the host country a few months before your departure date, as sending documents to be processed by foreign affair authorities can be like any bureaucratic procedure – a whole lot of waiting!



Working and travel to work and living


For those people aiming to teach in English-speaking countries, there is a likelihood of wanting to stay there for more than a few years. For places like the United States, for example, permanent residency might be the best way to make this dream a reality. A popular way for potential immigrants to obtain US permanent residency status is through the green card lottery. Those interested in applying for the lottery can find out more at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, as there is a load of relevant and useful information to see if the system would be beneficial to you.