Making sure that you have the right visas in place is an essential part of your gap travel plans. Visas are necessary documents which give you permission to enter and stay in a particular destination for a period of time.
Many countries require that you get a visa in advance of travel, whereas other destinations will issue you with a visa on arrival at the airport or land border. Below, we have put together some useful visa advice and information for all of the destinations we travel to so you can get a head start on your visa preparations.
If you intend to do paid work aboard on your gap year, then you will usually be required to get a work visa in place before you leave the UK. Working visa regulations vary, so please check individual country visa information or our individual work abroad programmes for details.
In order to get a visa, please make sure that your passport has plenty of blank pages and that it is valid for at least six months after your intended date of return.
We always recommend that you check the latest visa requirements and travel advice on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website (FCO). Click here to go to the FCO page.
Visa requirements vary from country to country, and you should always ensure that you have checked the up to date visa regulations well in advance of travel. Check with the relevant country's embassies or consulates for detailed visa advice about each destination. You should do this well in advance of departure, in case you need to apply for a visa before you go. Entry regulations are subject to frequent change so check each country's visa rules carefully.
Check out our specific country visa advice below:
British travellers do not need to get a visa before entering Botswana, for stays of up to 90 days.
British travellers to Ghana will need a 3-month visa to enter Ghana and must be got in advance of travel. A 3-month holiday or visitor's visa can be applied for online for an approximate cost of £50.
You can get a 30 day visa on arrival in Malawi, although visa regulations are subject to change.
British visitors to Morocco do not need a visa to visit Morocco, for stays of up to 90 days.
British visitors will need a visa to enter Mozambique and it is recommended that you obtain a visa before travelling. Tourists may be able to get a 30-day single entry visa on arrival but this cannot be guaranteed, so it is best to get a visa in advance of your trip.
British passport holders can generally enter Namibia for up to 90 days without a visa, although you should check your visa duration as it can vary on arrival.
British nationals don't require a visa to enter South Africa, although you must have two completely blank consecutive pages in your passport. Travellers will be granted a temporary visitor's permit on arrival, valid for 3 months.
To enter Tanzania you will need a visa, and it's best to obtain this in advance from the Tanzanian Embassy in your own country. Alternatively you can purchase one when you arrive, but you will have to meet all immigrations requirements. A single entry visa is valid for 3 months. If you are volunteering you will need a valid work permit, arranged before travel.
British visitors to Zambia need a visa to enter the country and we recommend that you obtain this from the Zambian High Commission in London before you travel. Single and double entry visit visas are available on arrival and are payable in cash (please have the exact amount ready).
You will need a visa in order to enter Cambodia. 1-month Cambodian tourist visas can either be obtained online, or upon arrival at the border for USD30 (two passport photos required). If you are planning on extending your stay it is your responsibility to ensure that you extend your visa.
Travellers to China must get a visa in advance of travel, obtained in person from your nearest Chinese visa application centre (in London, Manchester and Edinburgh). You will need to book an appointment slot online, and travel to the visa application centre with your passport, application form and letter of invitation. You will then be asked to return to the visa application centre at a later date to collect your visa. Your letter of invitation will be issued to you within 3 months of your travel date so you can begin your visa application. British nationals doing paid work in China will require a type 'Z' work entry visa.
British travellers must get a visa in advance of travel to India. More information is available from the Indian High Commission.
As of July 2015, British visitors arriving in Bali (or anywhere in Indonesia) will be issued with a free visa on arrival, valid for a stay of up to 30 days. You must have a passport with at least 6 months validity from your arrival date.
If you wish to stay in Indonesia for longer than 30 days, you will no longer be able to extend your visa in-country, so you will need to apply for a 60 day tourist/social visa in advance of travel. Please contact us for further details.
British citizens will be granted a 90-day temporary visitor visa on arrival in Japan, which can be extended for a further 90 days if required.
Visas for Laos are usually issued to British travellers upon arrival at the border (for a cost of around USD35) but please check with the Lao embassy before you travel as visa rules change regularly.
British travellers will not need a visa to visit Malaysia for up to 3 months. Permission to stay is usually granted on arrival.
British passport holders must obtain an Independent Traveller tourist visa for Myanmar (Burma) before travel, through the Myanmar Embassy in London. If you plan to do paid work in Myanmar you must obtain an initial "Business Visa" in the UK before travel, which allows you to stay in the country for 10 weeks (72 days) at a time.
Visas are required for travel to Nepal and can be applied for in advance from the Nepalese Embassy in London. Visas are available on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu and at certain land borders. You may pay in pounds or dollars on arrival, and should bring two passport-sized photos.
Most nationalities can enter the Philippines without a visa for a stay of up to 30 days, provided you have a valid return or onward travel ticket and six months' validity on your passport. Please check with the Philippine Embassy before travelling.
British travellers do not usually need a visa to enter Singapore, for stays of up to 30 days.
If you are a British citizen you can enter South Korea for up to 90 days without a visa (provided you have an onward or return ticket). If you are planning on doing paid work in Korea you will need to comply with a strict visa application process. Please enquire for further details.
A visa is required for entry to Sri Lanka. A short stay visa (for up to 30 days) can be obtained online, through the ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) or through the Sri Lankan High Commission before you travel. If you intend to stay for more than 30 days in Sri Lanka you will need to apply for a 90-day visa through the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Sri Lanka and make an appointment with the Sri Lankan embassy in the UK (fees apply).
British nationals arriving by air can remain in the country for a maximum of 30 days, though if you arrive across a land border you can only stay for 15 days or less. If you plan on staying for longer than 30 days you will need to make sure that you get a 60-day Thailand visa before you travel, which is available for a cost of around £25.
As of 1 July 2015, British tourists will be able to enter Vietnam for up to 15 days without a visa. If you are staying longer than 15 days you MUST apply for a Vietnam visa prior to travel, either by post or at the Vietnamese embassy. It currently costs around £50 for a 30-day visa.
All visitors to Australia (excepting those from New Zealand) will require a visa or Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to enter, applied for online before you travel. If you're planning on working in Australia you'll need a Working Holiday Visa (available for 18-30 year olds). For more detailed information on the Australian Working Holiday visa click here.
Visas are not required for British nationals to enter Fiji, for stays of up to 4 months.
UK citizens don't need a visa to visit New Zealand and can stay in the country for up to six months. If you are planning on working at all during your time in New Zealand, you will need to apply for a Working Holiday Visa (available to 18-30 year olds) and can do this by visiting the New Zealand Immigration website.
British passport holders do not generally need a visa to enter countries within the EU, although please check each individual country's entry requirements before you travel.
British nationals will not require a visa for Argentina for stays of up to 3 months, and will be granted a 90 day trip permit on arrival.
UK passport holders do not need a visa for entry into Belize for stays of up to one month. If you plan to stay for longer, visa extensions cost about £15 per month and can be obtained locally in Belize.
British nationals don't need a visa to visit Bolivia for stays of up to 30 days. You can extend your stay for a further 60 days, at no extra charge, if you apply during the initial 30-day period.
British travellers can currently enter Brazil without a visa.
British passport holders do not currently require a visa to visit Chile for stays of up to 90 days.
British nationals will not require a visa in order to enter Costa Rica, and can remain in the country as a visitor for up to 3 months.
A "Tourist Card", valid for 30 days, is required for most nationalities to travel to Cuba, for a cost of around £20. Many airlines to Cuba include the cost of this card in the flight cost and distribute the card during the flight. Some airlines do not provide this card, so it is best to call your airline and ask about it prior to travel. Tourist cards are also available from a Cuban consulate or embassy. If you wish you can extend your tourist card for a further 30 days for a cost of around £30.
British travellers can visit Ecuador and stay for up to 90 days without a visa. If you wish to stay longer you must apply for a visa before you travel.
British passport holders don't need a visa to visit Guatemala for stays of up to 90 days.
British nationals don't need a visa to enter Mexico but you will need a tourist card, which you get on arrival. You will need to complete an immigration form on your flight or at a border crossing in order to get your tourist card. You will need to keep your tourist card safe as you need it to leave the country. The departure tax for Mexico is USD48 but this may sometimes be included in your flight (please check before you travel).
British nationals won't need a visa to visit Panama and will be granted a stay of 180 days on arrival. If you arrive by sea you will need a visa. Travellers to Panama must have a return or onward ticket, plus US500 or a credit card.
British passport holders do not require a visa to enter Peru. On arrival at the airport you will be granted permission to remain in the country for up to 180 days.
It is compulsory for all British travellers to Canada who travel into the country by air to obtain an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) before they travel, even if you are just transiting through the country. Applications can be made online for a cost of CAD7.
Most eTA applications are approved within a few minutes or hours of submission, although we recommend you apply well in advance in case of any unexpected delays in the process. An eTA is linked to your passport and allows you to stay in Canada for up to 6 months. Once you have an eTA it is valid for 5 years or until your passport expires (whichever is sooner).
If you wish to stay for longer you will need to check entry requirements with the Canadian High Commission. You must be able to prove that you have enough funds to support yourself for the duration of your stay.
British Nationals visiting the USA will be able to travel (for tourism purposes) under the US Visa Waiver Programme, for durations of up to 90 days. All travellers going to the United States will have to complete the ESTA form online for authorisation under the Visa Waiver Programme. If you intend to stay for longer than 90 days or have ever been arrested (or hold any criminal convictions) you will need to apply for a visa.
If you plan to work in the USA you will need to get a J-1 working Visa, issued by the U.S Embassy in the UK. The J1 visa must be obtained before you go. Please contact us for more details.
Please note that the above visa advice is for guidance only and is subject to change at any time, without prior warning.
We advise all customers to check with the FCO and with individual country embassies or consulates for up to date travel and visa advice.
Visas are the responsibility of each traveller and Gap 360 does not take responsibility for any visa information and regulations which differs from the guidance advice given above.