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  Red Tape
  Red tape
To figure out all the formalities we have to deal with for our trip has cost a lot of nerve, time and effort. Finding out what visa-regulations are valid in which countries, what you have to do to get a visum, finding the best travel insurance, etc. etc. has taken up several weeks. The most important tips that we would like to give our fellow travellers are listed below:

  • For most countries your passport should be valid for at least another 6 months, so your passport should be valuable for at least 6 months after the end of your trip.
  • If you travel with a partner, make sure you have a copy of each other's passports first page and a clear photo - in case you lose each other.
  • Medical data (blood type, allergies, etc.) should be recorded in a separate medical passport.
  • Apply for a business passport (65 visa pages) and an additional passport. In your application, write that you will be applying for a lot of visa and that you will have to identify yourself with the second passport while e.g. the Iranian embassy in Ankara is having your first passport during the visa application.
  • Store your passport in a "ziplock" (water resistant plastic purse) In case of a storm or heavy rain, the stamps in your passport are safe!
  • Make sure you carry another ID next to your passport.
Demaenovska dolina, Slovakia Car documents:
  • International driver's licence.
  • Circular letter of credit from ADAC / ANWB / AA / ....
  • Green insurance card.
  • Carnet de passage:
    • Turkey (sometimes)
    • Syria
    • Jordan (EUR 20 processing costs at the border)
    • Iran
    • Pakistan
    • India
    • Nepal
  • In South-America, you do not need a carnet de passage, even if you enter Ecuador or Venezuela by sea.
At home:
  • All tax formalities should be taken care of before you leave your home country.
  • If your country has no embassy, you can turn to the embassy of any other EU-state if you are a European.
  • Leave copies of important documents at home (passport, drivers license, vaccination certificate). In case you lose the originals, your family can send you a copy of their copies.
  • OOM Insurances in Holland (www.oominsurance.nl) offers a so-called expat-insurance for approx. EUR 600 p.p. per year, which includes travel, repatriation and health insurance.
  • Always read the small print of your insurance contract. Make sure nothing you need is excluded, since your situation is an exceptional one.
  • Sort out visa regulations of those countries you want to visit in advance. Some visa can be only applied for in your country of residence.
  • Try and get your visa as shortly in advance as possible, e.g. at the border or at the consulate in the neighbouring country.
  • Before applying for your visa, sort out which pretexts give you the best chances of getting it. In some countries only business travellers are welcome, in others you are only allowed in as transit visitor. These regulations change frequently, so it is best to ask other travellers for the lastest developments.
  • Find out in advance at which times the consulates are opened. Some consulates only issue visas once a week, e.g. Wednesday from 8 am to 10 am.
  • Some countries only allow you to enter if you have proof of your leaving (e.g. a return ticket or visum for the next country).
  • Our visa applications:

     Country  Application  Processing  Price pp  Letter/reccomendation  Validity
     Turkey  border  30 minutes  10 EUR  no  3 months
     Syria  Ankara, TR  1 day  35 EUR  yes  1 month
     Jordan  border  30 minutes  35 EUR  no  1 month
     Georgia  Trabzon, TR  1 hour  75 EUR  no  2 weeks
     Iran  Ankara, TR  10 days  50 EUR  yes  1 month
     Iran (2)  Islamabad, PAK  10 days  50 EUR  yes  1 month
     Iran (3)  Trabzon, TR  1 week  16 EUR  yes  1 month
     Pakistan  Ankara, TR  2 days  30 EUR  no  1 month
     Pakistan (2)    Kathmandu, NEP  1 day  30 EUR  no  2 months
     India  Ankara, TR  14 days  55 EUR  no  6 months
     India (2)  Kathmandu, NEP  1 week  40 EUR  no  6 months
     Nepal  border  30 minutes  30 EUR  no  2 months

  • We did not need any visa for South-America.
  • If you need a letter of recommendation, go to your own embassy in the city of application (e.g. Ankara). Note however, that prices can vary greatly between countries and embassies.
  • India: the 6 month tourist visa is ALWAYS from the date of issue, never from the date of entry.
  • From 2004, the German embassy in Islamabad does not issue letters of reccomendation anymore. This makes it near to impossible for Germans to get Iranian visa in Pakistan.
  • Germans do not need visa for Turkey.
Bribe money:

If you do not want to pay bribe money:
  • Stay friendly.
  • Wait for a bus if you want to pass the border. In the bus the border police can get more money and might lose interest in you.
  • Pretend you're a police officer in your own country: they won't cheat on colleagues.
  • Act like you are stupid and do not understand them.
  • Ask for an official receipt or price list.
Crossing borders:
  • Make sure you do not look too shabby, try to be as insuspicious as possible.
  • Check if all forms are being filled in completely and correctly. If they aren't, the custom officers at the exit border will send you back to the place of entrance to have the forms corrected / completed!
  • Carnet de passage: make sure all three of the coupons are filled out completely and correctly (difficult in Arab countries), or the customs at home will not accept your carnet.