Visas: new changes are a mixed bag

If you're a British passport holder, consider yourself an international VIP…Wednesday, February 12, 2014

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Jinli Street, Chengdu

If you're a British passport holder, consider yourself an international VIP…

While other nationalities stand in line to hand over cash at many border crossings, Brits enjoy fast-track access, travelling on free visas into 173 countries. There are still some tricky destinations such as Russia, but its neighbour China now has four cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu — Brits can visit visa-free for 72 hours, making it an attractive stopover for those bound for the Antipodes or Asian tropics.

India has also recently changed its visa regulations, resulting in the cost of a tourist visa rising from £38 per person to a whopping £92.50. The visa process should, in theory, become easier as India plans to relax its application procedure, making it possible to apply on entry. So far, so much confusion, though
— at the time of going to press, official information was scarce.

Meanwhile, another budget travel favourite, Thailand, looks set to impose an entry fee. The government is considering introducing a tourist tax in order to pay for visitors' unpaid medical bills and attract more 'quality' holidaymakers.

Did you know?

Get to grips with new Turkish visa rules or be refused entry. Travellers will no longer be able to buy a visa on arrival. From 10 April this will be replaced with an e-visa application process. It costs $20 (£12) and applications can be made on the Turkish government website

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