What is a Visa Run?

This article is part of a series which attempts to answer basic questions people may have about travel. If you have a question you’d like to see answered, please send me an email with your question.

A visa run is a short trip over an international border designed to reset the visa in the originating country of the trip.

Many countries which have visa-free travel or grant visas on arrival have a set amount of time that you can be in the country. A classic example is Thailand who allows passport holders of many countries a 30-day stay in Thailand without a visa. If you fly out of the country and get an exit stamp in your passport, you can reenter the country to reset the clock and get another 30-days.

In 2010 I was staying in Bangkok for several months and I did a visa run to Singapore. I found a $100 ticket on a discount airline and flew to Singapore for the day. I didn’t even leave the airport in Singapore. I got back on a plan immediately and returned to Thailand for another 30-days.

There are rules you need to research before you try doing a visa run because not all border crossings are the same. In the past, Thailand has given different length visas based on how you entered the country (land vs air). You could have flown into Thailand, but if you left over a land border and crossed back, you might have only gotten 14-days on your return. Make sure you do research on the current rules before you do a visa run.

Many countries do not allow for visa runs at all. If you enter the United States as a visitor, going to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean does NOT reset your visa. This is done specifically to prevent people from doing visa runs. If they allowed visa runs, someone in Detroit or San Diego could stay in the country indefinitely by just doing short hops over the border. Even if you were to fly to Europe and back, if it seems obvious you are just trying to reset your visa, you might be denied entry.

Other places like the Schengen Zone in Europe, have a total amount of time you can be in the zone over a set period. In the case of the Schengen Zone, you can 90-days out of any six month period. Going back and forth over borders doesn’t reset anything. It just pauses the clock on your 90-days. If you used up your 90-days, you’d have to leave the Schengen Zone for 90-days before you could come back.

3 Quick Tips for Visa Runs

Before you try and do a visa run, do the following:

  1. Check the rules for the country who’s visa you are trying to reset.
  2. Do research on other travelers who have done similar visa runs recently.
  3. Research on what the cheapest method of doing a visa run. There might be cheap flights available, or it might mean getting on a bus.
  4. Investigate to see if you can renew your visa inside the country. This might end up being the easiest solution of all, which would negate the need for even doing a visa run.

December 2011 Question and Answers

December 2011 Q&AI hope that everyone is enjoying their holidays. Since I’ve arrived back in Wisconsin I’ve been spending my time editing photos and trying to catch up on work which has piled up over the last few months. I had over 4,500 from the last 2 months and I’m now down to 2,000. You can see some of my results in my Galapagos Island photos. I’m also starting to get ready for my trip to Antarctica in January.

I thought I’d take a break from my photo editing to answer some reader questions. As always, you can submit questions via my Facebook page. Continue reading “December 2011 Question and Answers”

November 2011 Questions & Answers

It is a cold night here in Dresden, Germany. I woke up in the city of Eisenach and visited the birthplace of JS Bach and then went to the historic city of Weimar in the afternoon visiting the homes of Goethe, Schiller, List and Luther. I’ve probably learned more about German history in the last few days than I have in the rest of my life.

I figure a good way to cap off the evening would be answer some questions from the old inbox.

Bernadette Walsh asks: Was that your first bungee [last month in Auckland]?
Continue reading “November 2011 Questions & Answers”

October 2011 Question and Answers

Fresh off my Rugby World Cup trip to New Zealand, it is time once again to dip into the waters of inquiry and answer the questions which the world is wondering.

As always if you have a question you’d like me to answer, feel free to email me ([email protected]) or contact me via Facebook or Twitter. I usually put out a call for questions around the middle of the month, but you can ask me anytime.

Matthew Karsten asks via email: What does your photo editing workflow look like? How do you back up your images on the road? What post-processing software do you use? Do you pick your “daily photos” at random, or is there some method to the madness?

Continue reading “October 2011 Question and Answers”

September 2011 Question and Answers

The following questions have been delivered by Pony Express, processed by the Dwarves of Mal-Kunath, scanned and security tested by the best and brightest TSA Agents, and finally kept in a hermetically sealed mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnall’s doorstep.

This my dear friends, is the September 2011 Q&A!

Bogdan Epureanu asks on Google+: I know that you’re using a DSLR and that you have an own bag for it (as well as your other electronics), still you know probably better than anyone that when you travel (especially if you’re an “off-road” backpack traveler) you have to go as “light” as possible. Under these circumstances, what camera would you recommend? Continue reading “September 2011 Question and Answers”

August 2011 Question & Answers

The Brewers are up by 7.5 games in their division and the Packers are looking good in their preseason games for another run at the Super Bowl. Sweet corn is on sale on the roadside in Wisconsin and the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. All seems right with the world.

As such it is time once again for another Q&A.

Annabel Candy from GetInTheHotSpot.com asks: Hi Gary, I have three, yes three digital cameras. I love taking photos and, like everyone, I don’t think I’m bad.

Taking photos while traveling is always a highlight of my trip but I never get out of automatic mode, even on my SLR. It seems too complicated! So please can you share one or two easy ways to get out of auto mode?

Continue reading “August 2011 Question & Answers”

July 2011 Question & Answers

Time once again to dip into the mailbag here from the Canary Islands….

Dru Stefan Stone asks: Are you all self-financed or how are you able to sustain your extensive travels? While I believe I’ve read it is a combination, is it because of your blog that you have been contacted by different entities?

For basically the first 3 1/2 years I traveled I covered the costs of everything. I sold a business over 10 years ago and also sold my home to help fund my travels.

It has only been in the last year or so that I’ve had some trips covered by tourism boards and other companies.

Also, as my website has grown, more opportunities have come in for me to earn revenue which is also helping me travel. Continue reading “July 2011 Question & Answers”

June 2011: Questions & Answers

Croatian Mail BoxI’ve just arrived in Valencia, Spain where I’ll be speaking at a social media conference on Thursday and watching the Formula 1 race on Sunday. It has been a crazy week flying from Istanbul to Vancouver to the Yukon and now back to Europe.

However, it is time once again to open up the old email bag and answer the questions that the world is dying to know the answers to:

Joel Pennington asks: Which country/region is about to explode onto the travel scene? why?

There are a couple of criteria I’ll use in determining what places will be the next big travel destinations:

  1. I have to have been there. There might be other places, but if I haven’t been there, I have no idea what they are like.
  2. They have to be places the that get below average numbers of tourists.
  3. There has to be some compelling reason to go there

Continue reading “June 2011: Questions & Answers”

May 2011: Questions & Answers

Post box in CroatiaIt is time once again to open up the virtual mailbag and answer the questions which you have been dying to know….

Marianne Schwab asks: What are your top five tips for taking GREAT photos? Get a little technical please. :-)

I am a self taught photographer. I’ve never taken a course or read a book. Everything I’ve done has come from taking a lot of bad photos and researching things online. There isn’t really a lot technical to be said about taking great photos. Here are my tips:
Continue reading “May 2011: Questions & Answers”