Thursday, 5 June 2014

Australia tip of the day for Singaporeans

I was just browsing some blogs when i came across this. which reminded me of something I once faced in 2011 while on my way to NZ and transitting in Melbourne.

YOU need a VISA to visit Australia even if you're in transit and only going to head out for a few hours. For years I'd always assumed that with my Singaporean passport you could just waltz in and out of almost any country without a visa, Australia included. Thus when I was on my way to New Zealand on a road trip and saw that on Emirates, I could arrange for a 20 hour stopover in Melbourne, I was thinking " Cool Beans! lets go out and see the market, maybe visit my cousin and all.".

I had all my bags packed and was at the check in counter at the airport when the counter staffed asked me if i had a visa for Australia. My jaw dropped in disbelief as I stammered in singlish like an idiot "Singaporean need Visa meh?" Having multiple friends and relatives who had studied there and seemed to be travelling there all the time gave me the assumption that I didn't need one. I was fortunate I was able to arrange for one at the check in counter or else i would really have been at a lost. Imagine a 20 day long road trip in NZ down the drain because of a transit issue before even stepping a foot in NZ. A little bit of a waste to pay for a 6 month long visa to spend a single day in Melbourne, but it was still good fun meeting up with my nieces!

So remember always check if you need a visa before you go! The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs website can help fellow Singaporeans with getting some of this information. Just select the country/countries you're going to and voila! There are many countries we can visit without a visa as Singaporeans, but these are generally only for short periods, between 2 weeks to a month. If you're intending to stay longer, you will likely still need a Visa as well!

Good travels!

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