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I'm looking for general tips about how to get a visa cheaply when there are no embassies in one's country of residence. This has prevented us from getting visas more than one time. Think e.g. non-EU citizen living in Malta, a small country with only a handful of embassies and (expensive) flying being the only option to travel to neighbouring countries.

Some observations:

  • The "standard" way to get the visa would be to travel to a neighbouring country (Italy in the case of Malta) two times: once to apply, and one to collect the visa. (Note that the passport is needed for return, hence the need for going again to collect it instead of trying to get the passport mailed back).

  • Embassies don't seem to be open officially to applications either in mail or through a third person.

  • From the answers I get I have the impression that the people working at embassies are often not confident about what is allowed in what isn't. Perhaps sometimes they say no to reuqests such as sending the application through a third person only to "be safe". I'm not really sure how to handle them. They might give different replies when calling twice ...

  • There tend to be honorary consulates in small countries, often managed by companies, which may or may not be helpful with this. One time they offered a 200 EUR service fee, which was actually several times the visa fee and not worth it ...

So do any of you have experience with this? Have you been in a similar situation? Do you have any tips on how to avoid travelling abroad twice (very costly!!) to get a visa when there's no local embassy?

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I do think this is a good question for the general case, even if the correct answer turns out to be "There is no general answer that will work for everybody". But I think also asking specific separate questions for each of you with the specifics is also a good idea because if we find answers for those they will be good, lasting, long tail answers that future people can find value in. –  hippietrail Nov 14 '11 at 14:21
    
Hi Szabolcs, welcome to Travel.SE. You've asked a good question and it is a concern that many travellers face, but I don't see how this is an answerable question as a 'correct' answer would depend on your citizenship, what country you want to visit, and what country you are in. –  Ankur Banerjee Nov 15 '11 at 10:54
    
@AnkurBanerjee Yes, you're right. I was mostly interested in other people's experiences in similar situations. Do you suggest I remove it? I don't expect that I'd get answers for my particular situation (I'm interested in: resident in Malta, visa to Romania & Marocco) –  Szabolcs Nov 16 '11 at 8:40
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In its current form, it's more of a discussion than an answer-seeking question. Perhaps in your case you may get more useful advice if you edited the question to your specific case. –  Ankur Banerjee Nov 16 '11 at 9:56
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Can you not just get a second passport, so at least you don't need to make two trips? (You return home on one, leaving the second to have the visa added and posted back). That situation would normally be enough to qualify you for a second UK passport, not sure about from other countries –  Gagravarr Apr 26 '13 at 18:45

1 Answer 1

Quite often there are agencies that can deal with the problem for you (you see a problem, they see a solution!).

For example, it's quite likely that you may live in a country that doesn't have an Uzbekistan embassy or high commision. Or Tajikstan. Or Kazakhstan. If you're headed to central Asia, that either means dealing with them at the borders (you can get an on-arrival visa at Bishkek's airport in Kyrgyzstan) or applying for them in neighbouring countries when you get closer.

Or you could use a company like StanTours who can handle visa applications and invitations (Uzbekistan) for all central Asian countries. A lot of backpackers I met had used them.

You could also mail (make sure to track it) your passport and application to a friend or travel agency in the town that DOES have an embassy, and ask them to drop it off for you. I've done that for friends at the Russian and Zambian consulates in London, and have had it done for me for my first Tajikistan visa.

A final trick is to contact YOUR country's embassy in the country you want to go to (or closest). This applies also to any help you may need from your embassy. For example, I required assistance when in Bolivia last year. However there was no NZ services there. I contacted the NZ High Commisions in Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina instead, and they were able to help me from there, and also liase with the Australian and British High Commisions in Bolivia. SO as in that example, sometimes other countries' embassies can still help you out. And at the very least, they may be able to give you some ideas on how to achieve visas in your unique situation.

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Thanks again for the reply Mark! I haven't thought of contacting agencies. I am wondering, did any of you ever manage to get a visa to Romania or Morocco (the two target countries I was interested in) either by mailing your passport to the embassy directly or through a third person? (Actually I doubt that most people active here would need a visa to these places.) –  Szabolcs Nov 17 '11 at 9:03
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NZ passport so didn't need visas for those. But I suggest asking that as a separate question, including what visa you're on, someone will hunt down a way for you :) –  Mark Mayo Nov 17 '11 at 10:35

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