Lebanese Backpackers: Far-East VISA Preparation

Lebanese passports

It is rare to find Lebanese Backpackers roaming the world although I bet that many dream about it. I can’t say that the reason for that is only related to the Lebanese passport limitations, but it definitely makes things difficult.

-No, you cannot apply for a VISA now!

-No, you have to be physically present to get the VISA!

-No, you’ll have to come back to Lebanon and apply for the VISA here!

This is all that we’ve heard from our last phone conversation with the Indian Embassy in Lebanon. Looks like our backpacking experience won’t be as smooth as we thought it would be, even in third world countries where supposedly entry access regulations are more flexible.

-Where is the logic behind those rejections?

-Why can’t we visit India after 8 months of travel in the Far East?

-Why should we stop our backpacking trail, comeback to Lebanon, pay extra 2000$ round-trip tickets, just to get a permission to visit a country?

We are not here to nag about how unfair life is for us Lebanese. We’re here to come up with practical solutions that will facilitate your backpacking experience as a Lebanese. So as a first step, let’s just accept the fact that the Lebanese passport can be a real hassle when it comes to visiting countries. In fact, as a Lebanese citizen you have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 37 countries only, ranking your passport 98th in the world according to the Visa Restriction Index. Now what can you do to conquer Lebanese passport related difficulties and still go for your dream backpacking adventure in the far eastern countries?

ASSESS VISA INQUIRIES

Most of the countries in Southeast Asia don’t require any VISA or you can get it upon arrival. However, some really amazing countries still do; such as India, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar. Check the table below for a complete assessment of visa inquiries. 

COUNTRY VISA LEGAL DOCUMENTS FEES PROCESS TIME CONTACT
INDONESIA UPON ARRIVAL
(available for 30 days)
1)Passport
2)Airline ticket (In & out)
3)Passport photo
4)Hotel reservation
Free same day Tel:+9615924682
Web:http://www.kemlu.go.id/beirut/
PHILIPPINES VISA REQUIRED
(available for 90 days)
1)Personal appearance
2) Visa application form
3) Passport (valid for 6 month after entry)
4) Passport photo (max. 6 month old)
5) Airline ticket (In & out)
6) Hotel reservation or Letter of invitation
7) Employment certificate or business certification
8) Bank statement (max. 3 month old)
9)Signed certification not to recruit Filipino workers
40$ X working days Tel:+9615953520
Add:
Philippines Embassy building,

Main road
Hadath (Baabda)
Lebanon
MALAYSIA UPON ARRIVAL
(available for 90days)
1)Passport
2)Airline ticket (In & out)
3)Passport photo
4)Hotel reservation
FREE same day Tel:+9611787144
8am to 3pm
VIETNAM E-VISA
OR
ONLINE APPLICATION
OR
1)Ticket with “in & out”
2)Passport
3)Passport photo
4)Application form
5)Hotel reservation
N/A X working days
OR
15
working days
Tel:+9617022930
Add: 3rd floor,136 Allenby street, Beirut. Central District, Marfa’ sector. Beirut P.O.Box 11-1616
Lebanon
Web:http://www.vietnamconsulate-lb.org
LAOS VISA NOT REQUIRED N/A N/A same day N/A
CAMBODIA VISA NOT REQUIRED N/A N/A same day N/A
THAILAND VISA REQUIRED 2month

1)Valid passport (good for 6 months at least) + Photocopy of passport
2)Two color photos of applicant taken recently ( max 6 months)
3)One Work History Form

4)Ticket copy
5)Hotel booking confirmation

40$ 4 to 5working days Tel: +9615951708
Add:  Basement, Samir Khoury building, Street no. 16, Mar Takla area
Hazmieh (Baabda) P.O.Box 11-4200
Lebanon
MYANMAR REQUIRED
(available for 28 days)

1)Tourist Visa Application form
2)One Work History Form
3)Two color photos of applicant taken recently ( max 6 months)
4)Valid passport (good for 6 months at least from the date of entry from Myanmar and with an available visa page.)
5)Soft copy of JPEG format (350 x 450 pixels) of same  photo by CD-Rom  OR BY EMAIL.
6)Ticket copy
7)Hotel booking confirmation

80$ 5 working days

+9611485375-9

93, Charles Dejaulle
Avenue

Debahy Center, Sinelfil
P.O. Box 11-03469
Beirut
Lebanon

BANGLADESH UPON ARRIVAL  N/A 44$ same day Tel: +9611842968
Add: Al Riyadh Building 3, 4th Floor Safara Al Kuwaiti Street, Bir Hassan Beirut Lebanon


NEPAL UPON ARRIVAL
(available up to 3months)
1)Passport
2)Airline ticket (In & out)
3)Passport photo
4)Hotel reservation
up to 100$ same day Tel: +9611386690
INDIA VISA REQUIRED
(3month)
1) Online visa application form
2) two photographs
3) copy of return air ticket or confirmed reservation
4) copy of the hotel booking/place of stay in India.
PS:In case of multiple entry tourist visitors. Visors can re-enter the country only after a period of two months from the date of previous exit from India.
 N/A 3-4 working days Tel:
+961 1 741270
Add:
239 Ibrahim Abdel-Al street
Hamra sector
Beirut P.O.Box 113-5240
Lebanon
Web: http://www.indianembassybeirut.org
SRI LANKA ONLINE VISA 1)Online visa application form   same day Tel:+9615956031
Add:
Building no. 929, 
Mar Roucoz street
Hazmieh (Baabda) P.O.Box 175
Lebanon

BACKPACKING TRAIL OPTIMIZATION

In normal circumstances, embassies refuse to grant Visas far back in advance. So to avoid interrupting your backpacking journey and flying back to Lebanon just for a Visa application, make sure to optimize your trail. Start with the countries that do require a visa and fill out the applications while you are still in Lebanon.

If you fail to do so, keep in mind that some embassies don’t necessarily require your physical appearance when applying for a visa, a tour operator or a travel agency can take care of that, you just have to deliver them your passport.

Just note that the Filipino Embassy insist on your physical appearance when applying for a visa, so there is no possible flexibility with this one.

BEWARE OF SCAMS

For Vietnam, you’ll find a multitude of websites that promise you an easy online procedure to acquire a visa. But once you notice that there are no standard visa fees you start questioning the credibility of these sites.

Note that there is no Vietnamese Embassy in Lebanon, only a consulate. In other words, it means that visa processing cannot take place locally, your passport will have to be sent to the closest Vietnamese embassy at a nearby country (in our case, it is Egypt). At least that’s what we’ve been told by the consulate. It will cost you around 265$, which is ridiculous. Now that the facts are stated, feel free to choose whichever option suits you best. We, as 2 backpackers on a budget, decided to apply throughout the Vietnamese embassy in the Philippines considering that delivery service fees will be less impacting. We will keep you updated on how things turn out.

I got your backpack

Beatrice and Elie the Lebanese couple who decided to quit their desk jobs and pursue a life on the road. Extreme sports lovers, yoga practitioners, life philosophers, and adventure hunters, they hope to inspire and motivate people throughout their travel stories.

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8 Discussion to this post

  1. Chris A says:

    Wow, I never realized how difficult it could be to acquire a passport for the Lebanese. I stumbled across this site looking for a way to get a passport from the US to Lebanon. I hope it’s not as difficult for me as it is for you. Just out of curiosity, do you know anything about the complications in what I am trying to do?

    • Elie C. says:

      Hey Chris,
      well my friend you are a holder of a US passport which makes you entitled to visit more than 90% of the countries on this planet without having to apply far ahead in advance for a visa. If you are aiming to visit Lebanon, you just need to present your passport at the airport and you’ll get instant access. However, do note that if your passport has an Israeli stamp on it you’ll get a refusal of entry and that is due to the political tension between the 2 countries. Other than that your passport is just fine. Hope this was helpful.
      Elie

  2. Michelle says:

    Hey there.
    I really love your website. It makes me want to travel. It has great information and is easy to navigate.

    The pictures make me miss all my travels.

    You have really done your research

    Keep up the good work.

    All the best.
    Michelle

  3. Very nice post for backpackers, and for travelers/tourists form all over the world. I didn’t know how hard it is for Lebanese to trave. I like your site. looks very elegant.

    Damir

  4. Mara Sturton says:

    Hi there,
    As a New Zealander and UK passport holder, I think I’m pretty lucky about access to various countries around the world and I’m sure you have met many New Zealand backpackers on your travels so far – it’s something a lot of us do! I never realised it can be so difficult for some nationalities, and I think you’ve written a great article with really helpful guidance so others can think about journey planning and what they can apply for ahead of time. I really hope you get to India and enjoy your travels.
    Mara

  5. Rou'ya says:

    Hello, I just want to ask how much did the Indonesian visa cost you? I am traveling in October to Bali and I must say your articles are very helpful :)

    • Hello Rou’ya, really glad you find our articles helpful. Well we got a FREE 1-month stay VISA to Bali. You’ll get it as soon as you get to the airport. However, keep in mind, that if you intend on staying for more than a month, you need to specify this and get the renewable VISA which costs around 35USD.
      Happy travels :)

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