I hardly ever remember to check if I need a visa before I book air tickets, but so far I haven’t had any mishaps simply because the Singapore passport lets citizens travel to so many countries and territories visa-free or with a visa on arrival—193 countries and territories at last count. It’s no wonder the Singapore passport is the second most powerful passport in the world!
Most of the countries Singaporeans actually do require visas to enter are either in Sub-Saharan Africa (Mali or Sudan, anyone?) or not exactly the sort of place people think of when planning their holidays (North Korea or Syria, anyone?), whether because of war, terrorism or political problems.
There are also frequent updates to the visa requirements. For instance, in 2016, Singapore and Myanmar announced a mutual agreement to exempt visas for trips up to 30 days, effective from 1 Dec that year. And from 10 February 2017, Singaporeans were able to travel to Uzbekistan visa-free for up to 30 days.
Do note that if you are travelling to the US, Singaporeans don’t require a visa technically, but you do have to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) as part of the Visa Waiver Program. You’re recommended to do so at least 72 hours in advance. So much for a visa waiver, right?
Five countries Singaporeans need a visa to travel to and their costs
1. Five countries Singaporeans need a visa to travel to and their costs
Let’s look at the 5 countries intrepid Singaporean travellers can’t visit without a visa or visa-on-arrival—and how much these visas cost.
5 Countries Singaporean Need Visa
USD 200 to 250 (per night per pax)
$300 – $500 approx.
2. Singaporeans travelling to Australia—Visa requirements and costs
If you’re one of the many blur Singaporeans who are googling at the airport: Do Singaporeans need a visa to go to Australia? The answer is YES.
This may come as a surprise, since Australia is one of Singaporeans’ favourite destinations. But Singapore citizens actually do need a visa to visit Australia, along with every other nationality in the world except New Zealanders.
Thankfully, the visa application process is very quick and can be done electronically using the Australian Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) system.
How much does an Australian visa cost?
There is no charge for the ETA itself, but if you do it online, the application service charge fee is AUD $20. Reportedly, you pay less if you get it through certain travel agents, though there’s the hassle of applying in person.
How long does applying for an Australian visa take?
You can usually get your visa in a matter of hours, although you are advised to apply for it at least 3 working days before your date of travel. Once you get your visa, you can enter Australia as many times as you like within a period of 12 months. And each time you visit, you can stay up to 3 months at one shot.
Want a visa with even longer validity? As of 1 Jan 2018, Singaporeans are also eligible for an exclusive long-validity visitor visa to Australia. It’s just like the regular Australian visitor visa (subclass 600), but it allows you multiple entries for up to 3 months at a time, and has a validity of 6 years. The catch? It costs AUD $145 and an additional application fee of about SGD $50—so only get it if you want to avoid the hassle of applying for the ETA every year.
Sydney Opera House, Australia / Image credit: Skeeze via Pixabay
3. Singaporeans travelling to India—Visa requirements and costs
This is another surprising country on the list, considering the number of Singaporeans who have relatives in India.
But yes, Singaporeans do indeed need a visa to travel to India—unless they are travelling to Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Trivandrum, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Goa or Kochi airports, where visas-on-arrival are available at USD $25.
If not, you will have to apply your visa through a visa agent, or via the High Commission of India in Singapore. You can also apply for an e-Tourist visa online, which is fairly straightforward.
Applying for visa-on-arrival at Indian airports takes a long time, so it’s a better idea to you apply before departing to India.
How much does an Indian visa cost?
It costs USD $25. If you’re of Indian ethnicity you might be able to apply to be recognised as an Overseas Citizen of India, which then grants you visa-free travel to India.
How long does an Indian visa take?
You should make your visa application at least 4 working days before you are due to travel. The visa enables you stay in India for up to 30 days from the date of arrival in India.
Taj Mahal, India / Image credit: Tim via Unsplash
4. Singaporeans travelling to Bhutan—Visa requirements and costs
You might already be familiar with the stunning royal couple ruling Bhutan, or maybe you just think of it as the place where Tony Leung and Carina Lau got married. The nation is also known for its Gross National Happiness quotient—which, at least anecdotally, kind of makes it the opposite of Singapore.
If you think it’s easy to take a trip to paradise, think again. The Kingdom of Bhutan has one of the world’s most stringent tourist visa requirements, and that’s not about to change anytime soon. You’ll only be allowed to step foot on Bhutanese soil on a case-by-case basis, if granted approval by Bhutanese authorities. Don’t complain— this “high value, low impact tourism” policy is what helps preserve Bhutan’s rich heritage.
To travel to Bhutan, you need to book your trip through a Bhutanese tour operator or an international partner of one. Only they can apply for the visa on your behalf. Here’s a full list of Bhutanese tour operators.
How much does a Bhutan visa cost?
The visa fee is USD $40, but you don’t pay for your visa fees separately when travelling to Bhutan. The USD $40 is included within the USD $200 to $250 per person per night (depending on month) that you are required to spend for those travelling in a group of three or more. This will cover not just the visa fee, but also the cost of your accommodation, meals, tour guide, international transport and equipment for trekking tours.
How long does Bhutan visa application take? As the visa application is included within your tour package, give yourself a lead time of at least 2 weeks to book the necessary before your intended travel dates.
Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan / Image credit: adliwahid via Pixabay
5. Singaporeans travelling to Russia—Visa requirements and costs
Given the current state of global affairs, you might want to hold off on your trip to Russia if you were indeed thinking about it. But if you plan on visiting Russia some time in your life time here’s what you need to know.
A trip to this mammoth of a country isn’t quite as easy as just buying an air ticket and praying you don’t freeze to death. Singaporean visitors need to apply for a visa which is valid for up to 30 days. And unfortunately, the application process requires you to jump through a few hoops.
The first step is to get a Russian travel agency or hotel to issue you a letter of invitation, also known as Russian visa support, which doesn’t come for free. The exact price varies by the issuer.
Next, complete the online Russian visa application form.
Once that’s done, gather the following documents and head down to Singapore’s Russian Embassy to get your visa:
Completed visa application you did online
A recent passport-sized picture of you. Read more about Russian visa photo requirements.
Your letter of invitation to Russia
Other required documents (depending on visa type).
Quite the hassle huh? Thankfully, there is another way to enter Russia visa-free. If you are entering Russia via an authorised cruise operator as part of a tour, you can stay in Russia for 72 hours without visas.
How much does a Russian visa cost?
A Russian visa can cost between 37,6 EUR to 451,4 EUR depending on your nationality, processing time required and number of entries required.
How long does the application for a Russian visa take?
Generally, it will require anywhere between 4 days to 6 weeks to get your visa. Apply early to be safe!
St Basil Cathedral, Russia / Image credit: Tom Grimbert via Unsplash
6. Singaporeans travelling to Venezuela—Visa requirements and costs
While it is not the safest country to go backpacking at, Venezuela is known for diverse natural attractions and beautiful women (ever watched Miss Universe?). Generally, it is safe for tourists visiting on organised tours. If you are doing a South American tour, take note that while you don’t need a visa for neighbouring Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru or Ecuador, you will need a visa for Venezuela.
How much does a Venezuelan visa cost?
To apply for a Venezuelan visa, you need to obtain pre-approval via email to the Venezuelan Embassy (email@example.com). The cost depends on a case-by-case basis. You will have to submit documentation such as passport photographs, proof of employment, yellow fever certificate, proof of financial means and proof of travel insurance.
How long does it take to apply for a Venezuela visa?
As there may be an interview during the pre-approval process, you may want to factor in at least 3 months of application time before traveling to Venezuela.
Lake Cainama, Venezuela / Image credit: Stig Nygaard via Flickr
Going to these exotic destinations? Make sure you’re covered by the best travel insurance. Find a good travel insurance policy here!
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