The world has become harder to travel around. Travelling during Covid times is challenging enough with all the constant restrictions and nowadays it’s not just about visas. Countries also require you to have travel documents such as a health declaration or traveller registration form. And with the added complication of Brexit (where you can only stay in Europe for 90 days out of each 180), it’s important to check travel requirements for each country and how long you can stay with or without a visa.
No matter how experienced of a traveller you are, things can change so if you’re unsure what travel requirements apply, check your Foreign Office’s website for the latest advice.
Another service you can use is iVisa. As well as up to date information on the ever-changing red tape, they also offer visas. And they make the whole process simple.
What is iVisa?
I was planning on visiting both Moscow and St Petersburg and during my research for a two-week trip, I saw that I needed a Letter of Invitation (LOI) and was unsure how to obtain one. I searched the internet to find out how to get an LOI and came across iVisa.
I saw that they offer more eVisas than anyone else and have thousands of good reviews on TrustPilot.com. Plus having your visa approved is really high. In 2019, they processed 170,000 visas and had 98.6% approved. So I opted to go with them.
This was the first time that I had used a visa agency. Having travelled to 131 countries in the past, I usually organise my own visas. As my goal is to visit every country in the world in my lifetime, it was beginning to get harder with visas required for countries that I wanted to travel to.
The Application Process
The process was really straightforward and easy. Using the ‘Calculator Tool’ at the bottom of the ‘How To Apply’ page I could see the prices of their services for single entry or double entry. I chose single entry as I was flying into Moscow and out of St Petersburg. Standard processing was 24 hours and cost $20 or if I needed it quickly there was a rush option for $45.
All I had to do was scan my passport and upload it along with proof of my accommodation that I had booked in Russia. I sent my Booking.com email as confirmation (nowadays they also require a photo verifying payment). I then received the letter via email to print off.
I booked my appointment at the Russian Embassy and applied for the visa. Within a few days, I received my passport complete with my new Russian visa in the post. N.b. They also offer visas to Kaliningrad (called ‘Little Russia’).
Is iVisa Easy To Use?
Yes. At the bottom of the page are Frequently Asked Questions including ‘what is the Russian Visa Invitation Letter,’ and what to do after receiving the letter. After they have received payment, an account is generated. You can also track your application on the ‘check status’ box at the top.
It really guides you through the process and makes it less stressful than doing it yourself. They have a pop-up box where you can ask any questions you have and they are easy to contact too. For me, it was worth paying the cheap price of $20.
They are always launching new visas and keeping up to date with the relevant information. For example, in Jordan, instead of paying for a visa, there is now a Jordan Pass (valid for a year) that waives the visa fees and grants free entry to over 36 tourist attractions.
As well as both tourist visa and transit visas, their company now offer business visas for countries such as China – the Shanghai visa – and Kyrgyzstan, as an example.
And, you can obtain a Samoa Medical Clearance, a Comoros Sanitary Traveler Form, or a Traveler Registration Form, or Health Declaration for various countries.
Who Are iVisa For?
I have a British passport but iVisa can also be used by any of these nationalities. You can process the visa from whatever device you have, whether a smartphone, tablet or computer. Their most popular destinations are Egypt, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, India, and Sri Lanka.
Other examples of their visa services are:
- UK visa wavier (an electronic visa wavier)
- Tanzania health declaration
- Jersey traveler registration form
And if you’re travelling on a North American passport or even a British one (hello Brexit!), you may need a Schengen travel visa depending on how long you intend to stay. Plus, they offer China visas for American and Australian residents.
As well as standard processing which takes 4 days, there’s also rush processing for your visa application in 2 days. And they can arrange a super rush service within 25 hours if you’re in a hurry, for an extra fee.
Who Are They Not For?
If you can obtain a visa yourself then it could be cheaper to do it independently. As with any service, they will obviously cost you more as they are providing the admin, paperwork and the service. If you just need a Passenger Locator Form, from my experience you can easily do this yourself by going to your country’s Foreign Office website (for the UK it’s gov.uk). If you need a visa or possibly a health declaration and need the process to be less stressful, then I highly recommend using them.
I recommend iVisa and give them 5 stars! They made it so effortless and easy to get my Russian visa and I would definitely use them again in the future.
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