Visas are far from the most exciting part of planning a trip, but knowing what countries you need a visa for should be at the top of every travellers pre-travel checklist. The first thing to remember when taking visa advice from the internet is that visa regulations can and do change, so it's hard to be certain that the information that you are reading is accurate. At HeadingThere whenever we provide information regarding visas we try to be current and accurate but of course as a user generated guide we can't guarantee the accuracy of information provided. It's fine to use the information in the guide as a source of reference when planning your trip, but make sure you double check before travel. Although it can be annoying, contacting the embassy of the country in question is a good way to be sure of the rules.
Remember, visa regulations for a country are different depending on your nationality. Just because friends or travelling companions do not require a visa does not mean the same thing applies to you.
Image: Ken Mayer
If you do need a visa you have two choices; to go it alone and apply yourself to the embassy or to use a visa agent. Obviously a visa agent will charge you a fee for applying for the visa on your behalf, so it can be cheaper to do it yourself. Remember though, if you do apply independently and get your application wrong the eventual costs can be a lot higher than the visa agents fee! They can also save you the time and expense of visiting the embassy in person where that is required and help you to get fast track visas.
A good starting point is to visit the website of the embassy of the country that you are visiting. They will almost always have a page outlining the costs and procedures involved in applying for your visa. If it looks straight forward, particularly if you don't have to visit the embassy in person, and you have plenty of time to get the visa then by all means try and do it on your own. Applying early for necessary visas gives you the time to do this. If, however, the application seems complex or you are short of time a reputable visa agent can be a good option.