Simple Tips for an Easy Visa Application

Applying for a visa can be one of the most stressful parts of traveling. From figuring out what type of visa you need to how to apply for one and gathering the MANY documents required.

Not to mention getting the timing right to make sure that you get your visa in time!

While we can’t take away all the admin that often comes with visa applications, it is possible to have a relatively easy visa application process.

Here’s a few simple tips to ensuring that you have an easy visa application!

Applying for a visa might seem daunting, but it’s not impossible. Here’s a few visa application tips to help make the process much easier.

Get help if you need it

If you don’t have time to figure out the whole visa application process yourself, or just don’t feel like going through the hassle, then hire a visa application service, like ByeVisa.

ByeVisa are eVisa experts and make international travel simple and stress free. Not only do they provide all the information that you need, but you can apply for your eVisa with them – in just a few clicks!

Not all visa application services assist with all visas. ByeVisa, for example, assists with Canada, USA, Vietnam, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Cambodia eVisas.

Start your application process early

If you know that you’re going to need a visa for the country that you’re visiting, start planning your travels early. Most countries accept visa applications up to 90 days before your date of travel, so don’t wait until the last minute.

While some visas may come through really quickly, others can take a few weeks. Each country has different turnaround times, which you can usually find on their dedicated websites. Be aware that during peak season visa processing can take longer than anticipated.

If you do need a visa in a hurry though, you can always opt for Priority Visa Service (available for certain countries). However, you will need to pay extra for this service.

Make sure that your passport is valid

We often forget to check the expiry dates on our passports, but it’s an important detail for your visa application.

Most visa application requirements include your passport being valid for at least three to six months beyond the date that you plan to leave the destination.

Some visas, like the US ESTA Tourist Visa, may require your passport to be an electronic passport that includes a digital chip with biometric information.

Follow ALL the requirements

You’ll usually be able to find a checklist of the requirements for the visa for your destination. It’s important that you follow ALL of the requirements by getting all of the documentation ready.

The last thing that you want to do is waste a visa appointment slot by getting rejected purely because you left out a document.

The standard requirements are usually:

  • Your visa application form (accurately filled out).
  • Recent passport photos.
  • Valid passport.
  • Round-trip flight details (here’s how to get cheap flights).
  • Accommodation bookings or letter of invitation.
  • Proof of financial means.
  • Travel insurance policy.
  • Proof of paid visa.

Every visa is different, so make sure that your research specifically for the destination that you’re visiting as some might require additional documents.

Depending on the type of visa that you’re applying for, whether it’s a business visa, working holiday visa or long-term visa, you may need further documentation. Some countries may require you to submit a letter of employment from your country.

If you have all of these documents ready beforehand, you’ll more likely have an easy visa application process.

Be clear on your reason for travel

Why do you want to visit that country? You’re going to be asked this question on your visa application form, during your interview (if required), and probably also at passport control when you arrive. So, it’s a good idea to be clear on your purpose of travel (and stick to it).

Are you visiting family? Are you going for work or a conference? Is this purely a holiday trip?

You will be asked to prove your reason. If, for example, you’re going to visit family, you may be required to provide a letter of invitation along with a copy of your family members passport. If you’re going for work, then you’ll likely be required to produce a letter from your work.

Include a cover letter

This tip is mostly geared towards those applying for a Schengen Visa where it’s quite common to include a cover letter in your application.

This is your time to shine, and PITCH yourself. Include your reasons why you’re traveling to the country (including that you love their country), your planned itinerary, your financial means, and your reasons to return home. They want to know what you’re going to be getting up to in their country and that, when your visa expires, you’ll be leaving.

Easy visa applications come to those who are prepared. Do your research, get your documents ready and start the process early!

Hiking in Hong Kong: Easy & Beautiful Trails

Despite being a large, bustling city, Hong Kong is an excellent place to get outdoors in nature!

Since ~70% of Hong Kong’s land is covered in greenery and country parks, hiking is a popular activity for locals and expats. Often the trails have gorgeous views and lead to some spectacular destinations.

On your next Hong Kong trip, I highly recommend trying a hike to experience Hong Kong’s outdoors and see some beautiful nature.

 

Here are three easy, yet beautiful trails to get you started!

1. Quarry Bay Tree Walk

Distance: 3.2 km / 2 miles

The Quarry Bay Tree Walk is an easy trail through the forests behind the Quarry Bay neighborhood on eastern Hong Kong Island. Start at the Taikoo MTR station (exit B) then walk west on King’s Road. Turn onto Greig Road and walk up until you reach the Tree Walk.

The trail is mostly paved and has a slight elevation gain (124 m/406 ft). Along the way, you’ll encounter remnants of the Wartime Communal Kitchens (listed as Wartime Stoves on Google). These kitchens were used during the second world war in Hong Kong as an influx of refugees after the fall of Canton led to increase of food demands.

Continue along the Quarry Bay Tree Walk until you reach Mount Parker Road. At this point, you can turn and head back down towards Quarry Bay or choose another trail for a longer hike.

 

2. Dragon’s Back Hike

Distance: 5.4 km / 3.4 miles

The Dragon’s Back hike is a meandering ridge trail located in Shek O Country Park in southeastern Hong Kong Island. Because the trail is on a ridge, you’ll have spectacular views of the sea and Hong Kong’s south side as you hike.

To get there, ride the MTR to Shau Kei Wan station (exit A3) then take the number 9 bus to the trailhead. The first part of the hike is a gradual climb up to the ridge. Once you reach the ridge, you’ll be able to see Shek O Beach off to the right and Tai Tam Bay on the left. The trail undulates across the “dragon’s back” for ~2 km (1.25 mi) and offers amazing views. Some days you’ll find paragliders setting up for flight on the hillside.

Once you’re finished the ridge, you’ll descend into a forest and have a flat and shady walk for the remainder of the trail. At the end of the trail, turn left to head back to the road to catch the bus.

If you’d like a longer hike, turn right and continue on to Big Wave Bay (~2 km extra). The descent to Big Wave Bay is rather steep and consists mostly of stairs.

 

3. Sai Wan Pavilion to Ham Tin Beach in Sai Kung

Distance: 5.1 km / 3.2 miles

Although it’s a bit difficult to get to this hike, the views and secluded beaches along this hike make it worth the effort!

The hike from Sai Wan Pavilion to Ham Tin Beach is located in Sai Kung East Country Park in New Territories. To get there, you’ll need to take a combination of MTR and bus to Sai Kung town. Once you arrive in town, you can take a taxi to the Sai Wan Pavilion.

The trail begins along the stunningly turquoise High Island Reservoir. Even on a cloudy day, the color of this water never ceases to amaze me. Most of the first part of the trail is flat or downhill until you reach Sai Wan Beach – the first of four gorgeous beaches in Sai Kung East Country Park.

At this point, you could stop your hike. I prefer to continue to Ham Tin Beach – the second beach – which is larger and even more beautiful. Both beaches have restaurants, toilet facilities, beach equipment for rent, and places to purchase boat tickets to return to Sai Kung town.

 

Any Questions?

Do you have any questions about hiking in Hong Kong or these three beautiful hikes? Please let me know in the comments below!

If you’re looking for other Hong Kong hikes or tips on traveling to Hong Kong, be sure to check out the Becky Exploring blog.