Visas for cruising

Cruising is a great way to see several different countries on one trip, but when visiting so many different countries, visa requirements can become confusing.

As a minimum, you will need to comply with visa requirements for the countries from which you join and leave your cruise. You’ll also be required to arrange visas for any onward travel you have planned after your cruise.

The good news is that many countries don’t require holders of Australian passports to have a visa when visiting for short periods. Such countries will, however, require you to have six months validity on your passport, onwards flight bookings, sufficient funds to support you during your stay and certificates for any inoculations which you need. You should check with individual embassies before you go as most cruise lines will not let you on board without the necessary paperwork. Some cruise lines will allow you to board without visas for all ports, but you will need to sign a disclaimer form.

Even if you’re not planning on leaving the ship in certain ports, you’ll still need to ensure that you meet all requirements. Should you become ill or have to leave the ship in a port you hadn’t planned to, not having a visa could complicate the issue.

Most cruise lines offer a special visa service and some will also arrange for visas to be issued on board before disembarking, but again, you should check before you go. It’s also worth noting that visa requirements can change, so if you’ve planned your cruise with a long lead time, you may want to reconfirm before you travel. And similarly, if you book a last minute cruise, you may have to use a visa agent to ensure that you receive all necessary paperwork before you travel.

For details of which visas you may need for certain countries, you can use VisaCentral as a guide. You should note there is a charge for using this service to arrange your travel visas.

Written by Debbie McTaggart