28 December 2010

Dealing with Visa

Since I only have traveled to neighbor countries, I rarely needed to apply for visa. Except twice, when I went to Australia and Cambodia (I thought we're friends, Cambodia!). But after this agreement with our handsome foreign minister, Indonesia will be exempted from Cambodia Visa, hooray! You may need to check to the embassy for more details.

Cambodia has a system called e-Visa to apply the visa online. I applied it via this website which cost US$25 (US$20 + US$5 processing charge) per person. Not long time after submitting the application, I found this website saying that the site where I applied for visa was a scam. But this one only charges US$10 per person, quite strange because the normal price should be US$20. I didn't know which one was right.

On the next day my visa arrived, less than 12 hours! They sent it via email as JPG file. I had to print 2 copies and bring them for entering and departing Cambodia. No further issue when I arrived there and showed this print-out, so we can conclude that this website is not a scam, right?

E-Visa is only valid at 5 ports of Cambodia entry:
  • Phnom Penh International Airport
  • Siem Reap International Airport
  • Cham Yeam (Koh Kong) - Thailand Border
  • Poi Pet (Banteay Meanchey) - Thailand Border
  • Bavet (Svay Rieng) - Vietnam Border
So when I booked the bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, I made sure that it passed through Bavet border.

If you don't want to pay extra US$5, you can get the visa by visiting the embassy directly in your country or by visa on arrival. Visa on arrival is a good choice for those who are entering Cambodia via international airports with no limited time (possibly long queue lines). While for land traveling, there are many scam reports upon the borders where the staff asked you for more money (up to US$30), so better to have the visa already before traveling.

Now, my visa to Australia. On my first visit to Australian High Commission in Singapore, I had all the documents but I still got rejected, because my Singapore Employment Pass (EP) would be expired very near to my traveling dates. I traveled on 19-28 November 2010, while my EP expired on 2 December 2010. I said that my company would extent my pass for sure, but the lady who served me did not accept that statement, she wanted me to have my new EP first before applying Australian visa.

I was quite apprehensive. My company HR said we could not renew employee's EP until we got the letter from Ministry of Manpower which usually arrived 1 month before EP expired. After that, there will be few weeks to process the application, how could I get new EP AND Australian visa before November 19th?!

Two days after my first visit, I came back again to Australian High Commission, bringing the same documents. This time I was served by another lady. She scanned through my documents (while I was silently praying hard in my heart), asked me to pay S$142 by credit card (so expensive! Well, everything in Australia is expensive), asked me to sit for a while... 5 minutes later, voila, my passport was stamped with the visa!! Imagine my hands were shaking when I received it. The lady was so generous, she did not question my EP at all. I even got 1 year period for multiple entries, haha I'm happy! So sometimes it can also depend on your luck. And you know what, my new EP was finally issued on November 16th. How troublesome it was if I needed to wait until my new EP came up.

Okay, that was my story in dealing with tourist visa.

3 comments:

  1. very troublesome indeed, but i'm sure the troubles were worth it.

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  2. It's too complicated! From the US, we can fill out forms on the plane as we fly to many countries...but I'm not sure which require advance visas now--since security has gotten tighter.

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  3. thank you for this article, im now stay in Canberra, but i want back to Indonesia to finish my study, maybe if you want to know about Indonesian good place, you can visit turis indo thank you

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