As you may know, in normal times when we’re able to travel freely, the UK has one of the most powerful passports in the world. By this, we mean that, as of 2021, Britons can enter 131 countries worldwide without applying for a travel permit in advance.
Fortunately, this makes going overseas – whether on holiday, for business or to study – much more convenient. Only a few nationalities in the world can enter more destinations visa-free, with Germany topping the list at 134 countries, according to the most recent Passport Index.
That said, even with the UK passport opening doors across the globe, Brits going abroad must still obtain travel documentation beforehand to visit some worthwhile destinations, such as Australia, New Zealand, America, Vietnam – and, in future, Europe.
So what are the easiest countries for British citizens to obtain visas for, and what can you see and do while you’re there? Well, here’s a list of the top 5 for you to consider for your next trip, according to visa website Byevisa.
Surprisingly perhaps, Britons intending to go Down Under must obtain a visa first. In particular, the Aussie travel document required is called the ‘eVisitor (Subclass 651)’. It’s valid for one year from the date of issue, allows you to repeatedly enter and exit this antipodean nation, and you can stay for up to 90 days per visit.
Fortunately, Australia’s government makes it nice and easy to get the eVisitor pass. You can apply online, there’s no government fee, and all you require is a passport that’s valid for at least six months after your date of entry. So this puts famous attractions like Ardens Rock, the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef well within reach!
Fancy a trip to Hobbiton, the set of Peter Jackon’s Lord of The Rings movies? To follow in the footsteps of Frodo, Gandalf or Samwise, you must first obtain what’s called New Zealand’s ETA (Electronic Travel Authority). This digital travel document is valid for two years, permits multiple entries to Kiwiland, and you can stay for six months at a time.
To acquire your ETA is a cinch. The whole process is online, so you only need your personal details, a passport with at least six months’ validity left, an empty passport page for stamping, and an email address where you’ll be sent the confirmation. Then, you can visit top cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch at your leisure!
Technically, the travel document that Brits need to enter the USA isn’t a visa, rather it’s a visa waiver, called the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). The difference between this and a normal US visa is that entering the USA is far simpler for ESTA-eligible nationalities – for example, you won’t have to visit the American embassy.
You can obtain the ESTA online with just your personal details, a passport that’s valid for at least six months, and an email address to receive the confirmation. Once you’re approved, your waiver’s valid for two years, and you can visit the USA for up to 90 days at a time. So whatever you intend to see in the Land of Opportunity, it’s pretty simple to get there!
In recent years, Vietnam has made a conscious effort to turn itself into an attractive Southeast Asian tourist destination. Among other things, one of the steps the country has taken is to introduce an Electronic Visa (eVisa) system to facilitate tourists’ arrivals. As such, you can apply with just a passport with six months’ validity left, an email address, and a scan of your passport’s personal bio page (the page with your photo).
When you get your Vietnamese eVisa, you can visit the country for up to 30 days. This gives you plenty of time to explore this up-and-coming destination. Highlights here include cities like Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi, plus UNESCO World Heritage sites such as beautiful Hạ Long Bay and former capital Hué.
At present, following Brexit, UK citizens are eligible to visit Europe’s Schengen Area for up to 90 days per 180-day period without a visa. It’s useful to note, though, that from late 2022 Brits will have to apply for the EU’s upcoming ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) visa waiver to visit the continent.
Much like the US ESTA, you’ll only require a passport with six months’ validity left to acquire the ETIAS. You’ll be able to visit for up to 90 days in each 180-day period, like at present, and the visa waiver will be valid for three years from the date of issue. Moreover, the entire process will be online. So whether you’re planning a weekend getaway to the Costa del Sol or to backpack across Eastern Europe, visiting the continent will remain simple.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with some inspiration for your next journey abroad. Picking a destination with easy visa rules means you can spend more time planning the fun parts of your trip, like what you’ll see and do, and less time on bureaucracy!