Lebanese Backpackers: Far-East VISA Preparation
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|
(available for 30 days)
2)Airline ticket (In & out)
(available for 90 days)
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$||X working days||Tel:+9615953520
Add: Philippines Embassy building,
(available for 90days)
2)Airline ticket (In & out)
8am to 3pm
1)Ticket with “in & out”
|N/A||X working days
Add: 3rd floor,136 Allenby street, Beirut. Central District, Marfa’ sector. Beirut P.O.Box 11-1616
|LAOS||VISA NOT REQUIRED||N/A||N/A||same day||N/A|
|CAMBODIA||VISA NOT REQUIRED||N/A||N/A||same day||N/A|
|THAILAND||VISA REQUIRED 2month||
1)Valid passport (good for 6 months at least) + Photocopy of passport
|40$||4 to 5working days||Tel: +9615951708
Add: Basement, Samir Khoury building, Street no. 16, Mar Takla area
Hazmieh (Baabda) P.O.Box 11-4200
(available for 28 days)
1)Tourist Visa Application form
|80$||5 working days||
93, Charles Dejaulle
|BANGLADESH||UPON ARRIVAL||N/A||44$||same day||Tel: +9611842968
Add: Al Riyadh Building 3, 4th Floor Safara Al Kuwaiti Street, Bir Hassan Beirut Lebanon
(available up to 3months)
2)Airline ticket (In & out)
|up to 100$||same day||Tel: +9611386690|
|1) Online visa application form
2) two photographs
3) copy of return air ticket or confirmed reservation
4) copy of the hotel booking/place of stay in India.
PS:In case of multiple entry tourist visitors. Visors can re-enter the country only after a period of two months from the date of previous exit from India.
|N/A||3-4 working days||Tel:
+961 1 741270
Add: 239 Ibrahim Abdel-Al street
Beirut P.O.Box 113-5240
|SRI LANKA||ONLINE VISA||1)Online visa application form||same day||Tel:+9615956031
Add: Building no. 929, Mar Roucoz street
Hazmieh (Baabda) P.O.Box 175
BACKPACKING TRAIL OPTIMIZATION
In normal circumstances, embassies refuse to grant Visas far back in advance. So to avoid interrupting your backpacking journey and flying back to Lebanon just for a Visa application, make sure to optimize your trail. Start with the countries that do require a visa and fill out the applications while you are still in Lebanon.
If you fail to do so, keep in mind that some embassies don’t necessarily require your physical appearance when applying for a visa, a tour operator or a travel agency can take care of that, you just have to deliver them your passport.
Just note that the Filipino Embassy insist on your physical appearance when applying for a visa, so there is no possible flexibility with this one.
BEWARE OF SCAMS
For Vietnam, you’ll find a multitude of websites that promise you an easy online procedure to acquire a visa. But once you notice that there are no standard visa fees you start questioning the credibility of these sites.
Note that there is no Vietnamese Embassy in Lebanon, only a consulate. In other words, it means that visa processing cannot take place locally, your passport will have to be sent to the closest Vietnamese embassy at a nearby country (in our case, it is Egypt). At least that’s what we’ve been told by the consulate. It will cost you around 265$, 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.