There are many countries that provide on arrival visa service for its visitors.

Does visa-on-arrival mean every visitor arriving at particular country (which offers on arrival visa service) can obtain a visa for sure upon arrival? What would happen to a visitor who is denied visa-on-arrival by the visiting country?

  • 3
    This is more or less the same question as here: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/23622/… In many situations, you can be refused entry to a country even if you either don't need a visa or already have a preapproved visa issued. These situations are for all practical purposes equivalent to "visa-on-arrival refused". Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


Firstly it's important to be aware that normally only some nationalities are able to obtain visa-on-arrival visas for most countries that offer them, so before even considering using them you should confirm that you are eligible. If you are from a country that is not eligible for a visa-on-arrival, and you attempt to board a flight without a visa, then you will be denied boarding.

As far as being denied the issuance of a visa-on-arrival, this realistically very rarely or never happens.

Countries issue Visas for a number of reasons. The first is that they use the visa as an opportunity to pre-approve the passenger to travel to their country, and to be able to be able to carry out certain activities when they are there (eg, tourist only, carry out business, work, etc). This is basically the "intended" use of a visa, and visas such as this are always issued in advance, and normally only after providing significant details of your background, previous legal issues (arrests, charges, jail time, etc), details of what you intend to do in the country, etc.

Countries that issue "Visa on arrival" visa to certain visitors generally do not go through this background check process, and instead simply issue you with a visa immediately - meaning that the chances of you being 'rejected' are extremely low.

In many instances, the only reason that these countries even issuing visas in situations like this is money - they charge you for the visa, but do basically nothing in return.

For example, most nationalities can visit Turkey without obtaining a visa in advance, and simply obtain one just before going through immigration. For a fee of between US$20 and US$60 (depending on your nationality) they will open your passport to a random page, apply a "visa" sticker, and then hand your passport back. At no time do they even open your passport to the information page or ask any questions when "issuing" this visa, so there is basically zero chance of being rejected for such a visa.

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    One reason to have a visa-on-arrival rejected might be that you have been deported from or arrested in this country before. Unlikely that it happens unexpected though.
    – Phil
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 11:33
  • @MrTweek but then you'd be denied entry without a visa requirement as well (or arrested and thrown in prison, depending on the prior history).
    – jwenting
    Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 12:14
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    @jwenting: But not every border checkpoint has the means to check that, especially in poorer countries. That's why visa-on-arrival are often only available on certain entry points, i.e. major airports. If you enter somewhere else, you still need to get a visa in advance. This is true for Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan and Indonesia.
    – Phil
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 5:47

Visa-on-arrival rules depend on the country that you are visiting, as well as the citizenship of the visitor. For most countries, visa-on-arrival is available for only certain visitors and each comes with its own set of rules on accommodation, finance, etc. Basics are available on the Wikipedia category on visa requirements by country pages.

As for being denied a visa, airlines have liability to check at the time of issuing boarding passes whether a passenger is eligible for visa-on-arrival. If a checkin agent feels a passenger won't meet the requirements, they can deny boarding. However, if the visa is denied after you've already landed or entered the country, then you will be deported.

  • If the wikipedia says 'no visa required' does that mean that it's not even a visa on arrival?
    – J_rite
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 11:47
  • @Jungkook Typically yes, but given Wikipedia is edited/updated by 3rd parties always check with a second source as well. Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 12:01
  • is embassy-finder.com a reliable source?
    – J_rite
    Commented Aug 7, 2018 at 12:03

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