We – as British passport holders – have become used to travelling where we like, with little or no restrictions on our movement. But there are some destinations that aren’t so straightforward to enter. In many cases, a travel visa can be bought upon arrival, but there are countries that will turn you away if you don’t have the correct paperwork.
Cuba: To get into Cuba you need a 30-day tourist visa for you and your children, and each costs £27 per person.
More info: Cuba Visas
Dominican Republic: British Citizens need a Tourist Card to enter, which you can get fairly easily online. They cost £12 each and you will need one for every passport.
More info: Dominican Embassy
USA: One of the most popular destinations that requires a visa is the US. However, those entering for business, pleasure or because they’re in transit can claim exemption under the Visa Waiver Program, (also called ESTA) provided they’re not going to be spending more than 90 days in the country. It costs $4 to process the application and a further $10 when it has been approved (this is automatically taken from your credit/debit card). You need to apply for an ESTA for your children with their own passports.
More info: ESTA website
China: Visiting China involves a fairly rigorous application process. Once you’ve sent it, it will take up to four working days to process and costs £30 per person. You need a separate visa for your children, and if you work in media be advised that the rules may be different.
More info: Chinese Embassy
India: Since the Indian e-Visa has been extended to UK citizens, the cost is around £45. Children and infants will need their own. If you work in media the rules are slightly different, so it is worth applying a month before travelling.
More info: Indian e-Visa website
Jordan: On arrival in Jordan you will be charged 40 JD per person, for a single entry visa, and 10 JD when you leave.
More info: visitjordan.com
Maldives: A 30-day free visa is issued on arrival at Mahe, however you will need a passport valid for at least six months on entry, a return ticket and a confirmation of your hotel reservation.
More info: Maldives Immigration
Nepal: You can buy a 15-day single-entry tourist visa when you arrive in Kathmandu, it costs $25 per person. Children under 10 need a visa but they are free of charge. You will need two passport photos for each passenger.
More info: Embassy of Nepal
Oman: Either one-month (20 Omani Rials) or 10-day tourist visas (OMR 5) are issued on arrival, your passport must be valid for six months from the date of entry, most major currencies are accepted.
More info: Oman Tourism
Sri Lanka: An ETA is needed for travel to Sri Lanka, it can be applied for online and costs $35 for a 30-day double-entry tourist visa. It is free for children under 12, but you still need to submit a form for them.
More info: Sri Lankan ETA
Thailand: If you’re travelling to Thailand for less than 30 days, you can enter without a visa. However, if you plan to stay longer you will need to apply for a 3 month tourist visa before travelling. It will cost 1000 Baht per person and takes 10 to 14 days to process. Children with their own passport need separate visas.
More info: Thailand Visa Information
Vietnam: Travel to Vietnam for under 15 days does not require a visa. For longer stays, you can buy a 30 day e-visa online. It costs $25, and takes up to 3 working days to process. On the application, you’ll need to state your point of entry and exit – if you require more flexibility, apply for a visa via the Vietnamese Embassy.
More info: Vietnam e-Visa
Africa: Most African countries require you to have visas before travelling, this includes Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt (see below), Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique,
Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Egypt: A 14-day tourist visa is available on arrival, free of charge, at Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba or Taba, provided you are staying in those resorts and not travelling onwards. For other entry points you will need a visa in advance, it costs £20 per person and can take as little as two working days if you apply in person, or five if you apply by post, but it’s always worth doing it at least two weeks before travelling. Children and infants with their own passports need separate visas.
More info: Egyptian Consulate
South Africa: If you’re staying in South Africa for less than 90 days, you won’t need a visa. However, you’ll need to provide a full birth certificate for children under 18, which shows both the child’s and parents’ details.
More info: Foreign Office advice
You must apply for a tourist visa before travelling to any part of Russia. It will cost £70 per person for a 30-day visa, for single entry, plus a £38.40 application fee. You can pay more to speed up the application process, but it will normally take up to 20 working days. All applicants over 12 years old will need to submit fingerprints at a visa application centre. If you’re visiting as part of a licensed cruise, and have prearranged authorised tours, you won’t need a visa for stays less than 72 hours.
More info: VFS Global website
An Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) is required for everyone travelling for stays for three months or less. It is free of charge but must be arranged prior to departure.
More info: Australian Department of Home Affairs
Often the smaller the state, the more stringent the entry requirements. So, if you’re thinking about a family break in Ascension Island, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan or the Marshall Islands, it might be worth downloading the forms now.