Travel Visas are obviously of huge importance to this trip. They are also a huge part of our planning and time commitment in the pre planning phases of the rally. As Canadians we have 6 countries that we need to apply for Visas, and two where we are able to get our Visa on arrival. I will spare the bureaucratic detail, however, some of these are much more complicated then others, ehhhmmmmm IRAN.
- Turkey: Apply online and is easy to obtain
- Iran: This is complicated, very complicated. For one there is no embassy in Canada. Also we have to apply for an authorization code to be able to apply for a visa. We are waiting for this code to come directly from Tehran!
- Turkmenistan: We have a transit visa through The Visa Machine. This is the way to go here. Otherwise the Turkmen Visa would be the most difficult to obtain. It is apparently comparable to getting a tourist Visa to North Korea.
- Uzbekistan: This one is of Medium difficulty for Canadians. An LOI is a requirement for Canadians, however, It Doesn’t require any booked hotels, or even definitive entry/exit dates. The only really important point seems to be to make sure you register at a hotel once, up to three days into your arrival.
- Kyrgyzstan: The Nice people of Kyrgyzstan have a visa on arrival for Canadians! We can spend up to 60 days in country and will not have to pay for a visa or fill out any paperwork. It must be the Canadian mines in the country.
- Kazakhstan:This is the second easiest Visa of all the countries we need to apply for. We submit a cover letter explaining what we are doing, the dates, book a hotel (which can be cancelled) and submit this to the embassy in Ottawa along with the application paperwork and done!
- Russia: This visa is our only double entry visa, due to the awkward borders between Kazakhstan and Mongolia, we will be entering Russia twice. The Russian visa is, not surprisingly, the most paperwork of all our applications. We are required to have an LOI, exact hotel addresses, flights booked, maps, a brief cover letter, and of course the application. Once our i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed we should be good to go with our submission.
- Mongolia: The country we’ve all been waiting for. Another kindly country, a visa waiver scheme was introduced for Canadian passport holders. Simply show up at the border and get let in. It’s just that easy.
We will be seeing our Uzbekistan Visa returned next week, then it’s the fun ones left to do. Russia and Iran. Then we finalize our routes and work on timing, getting supplies and fundraising.
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