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Very often when travelling about the world you need to check the official word on obtaining visas and visa extensions and other related information.

But increasingly it's getting very difficult to find the true official sites with so many "fake" sites offering up information on these services which mostly seem to be there to harvest clicks from search engines. Others are less evil sites run by tour companies but both tend to be inaccurate, out-of-date, and conflict with each other.

The problem is that many of them look official or have official-looking URLs.

What are some ways to decide which of these websites are the genuine ones?

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    A complication is that countries have started outsourcing visa processing to "third party" private companies. These sites aren't official in the sense of containing government content, but they're not fake or otherwise fraudulent, either; using them is generally a required part of the visa application process. – phoog Dec 14 '16 at 16:53
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    One thing i have tried is, if I cant find country X's embassy in my country 's website, I try to search for X ministry of foreign affairs, there they usually have a list of all of their missions world wide, and contact info. – DavChana Dec 14 '16 at 18:43
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The easiest ways to go about finding genuine websites is to look for them from the website of the Ministry or Department of Foreign Affairs or Department of State. Like the one from Singapore. These usually have links to embassies in the countries where they exist or in other cases they have indication on which government provides consular services for a government of a particular country in case there are no diplomatic presence such as US in Cuba.

In other cases you can look for embassy of some country in another country and look for sites that have a header on the page with an official seal though this is not foolproof by any means.

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The embassy finder is a good website, select a country and it lists all its embassies and consulates around the world with phone numbers, address, email and website if available. I have noticed it that it only lists official sites if found as most of embassies for the third world countries do not actually have official websites and if it does, not for all its embassies/consulates usually just the ones in big countries. The absence of official sites for embassies could be one of the reasons behind finding many fake sites for embassies.

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Another potential source is Embassy Worldwide. I have no idea how up-to-date and/or comprehensive it really is but it does claim:

Embassy-WorldWide.com is the most reliable and accurate directory of embassies, consulates and other diplomatic representations.

However, World embassy page (as linked to by @Nean Der Thal) makes a similar claim and does seem more 'substantial'.

Comparing just Saint Vincent Grenadines Embassy in United Kingdom the email addresses on the two sites are different (highcommission.svg.uk@cwcom.net cf. svghighcom@clara.co.uk, with neither that shown at the foot of their FB page: carolin@svghighcom.co.uk.)

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If official websites from the country whose embassy you are looking for are unhelpful, you can also try official websites from the receiving country. When it is present, this information is usually in the "Entry requirements" section of the Foreign Affairs ministry's travel advice. For example:

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    Some countries also have a list of foreign missions located in that country, for whatever reason whether travel related or otherwise. An example is state.gov/s/cpr/rls/dpl/32122.htm. – phoog Dec 14 '16 at 17:00
  • @phoog Yes, that was my initial idea. Somehow, given the way diplomacy works, the receiving state should have an up-to-date list. But when I tried to search for it for a couple of European countries, I was unable to find such a list on a public website anywhere else than in the "travel advice" section (hence "usually"). – Relaxed Dec 14 '16 at 18:00
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While I can't answer "around the world" a lot of countries have government secondary top domains which is a good indication of authenticity. For example

So you can always just Google Foreign Affairs countryname and then note the secondary level domain and from there on Google for whatever you need and if the domain is the same, it is legit.

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