Home » Travel » Visa o visa woes!

Visa o visa woes!

Twas the night before my Tokyo flight… and all was decidedly NOT calm in our house… Cue partner muttering expletives, with the occasional shout of exasperation.


He had a film shoot in London…

Great, right? You bet! Independent production with a cross-continent story of an estranged father-son relationship… with every element to potentially do well in the film fest circuit.

Sounds fab! Until…. time to apply for a UK work visa…

Just one of MANY billboards!

His recent billboard


No it isn’t that he has an Indian passport, he has visas all over the place – including work visas – that’s just the life of an international actor. And it is pretty clear if the guy gave up his Canadian PR, he’s quite content keeping India his base, thank you very much!

The challenge is the pain of having to fill out the UK visa application on-line and itemize 10 year’s worth of travel.  Yes that is TEN WHOLE YEARS of crisscrossing the globe! That’s two passports chock full of entry and exit dates from multiple trips to North America, Europe, Asia and Africa…

Several curses later, the file was successfully uploaded and a couple of days after that he was off to London!

That is a dog collar clenched between my teeth... if you really wanted to know!

Her much earlier billboard


As a Canadian passport holder, I’m ridiculously spoilt.

Most countries are kind enough to let me just waltz in or get a visa on arrival.  So though I may qualify for Indian citizenship, I’d be silly trying to do the work I do with anything other than my lovely Canadian passport.

China is one exception. I’ve been granted enough China visas to know everything needs to be in PERFECT order.

I dreaded having to list travel for the past two years til I saw the new form – reduced to countries visited in the last couple months – Oh bliss! Oh joy!!

Yet still… just days before my partner’s hair tearing travel preparation angst, I was the one vexed about a visa!

What was my problem? Alas the invitation letter from my client’s Shanghai office listed the wrong consulate – argh!

So there were some nail-biting moments watching how painfully slowly the courier with the revised original letter took to make its way to Mumbai.

I was in luck, it reached just in time to process the China visa before my trip to Japan & China! And, wonder of all wonders, a double entry visa – yipee!!

Pppaaast passports!

Parade of past passports!


Traversing the globe is a delightful privilege. I’m very grateful so many countries are kind enough to open their borders to those of us with an incurable curiosity and zest to discover lands beyond those of our birth.

I’ve been lucky to have 20 years of international travel… recently I dug up my old passports and my partner decided to have a bit of fun lining them up for a photo parade.

For me, perusing the pages was a lovely reminder of past adventures and knowledge of more to come!

Any vexing visa stories? Nervous or frustrating moments as you waited with bated breath to see if your travel dreams will be fulfilled or dashed?

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  1. Those passport pics are great :)

  2. the passports’ line up is great. Your partner had an obvious splash of genius in doing so. Damn, i almost want my own, but I only have one expired one and one current one so it would not make much of the line-up. I haven’t done THAT much travel, but anyway am so grateful for the fact that anywhere in Europe I’m welcome with no visa with Lithuania being one of Shengen treaty countries, and that some other countires are easily accessible too

    • Haha! He has more than his fare share of inspired moments! Good thing I’m lucky enough to be the beneficiary ;-)

      And fear not… time will sneak up on you and you will have your parade of passports and great memories of interesting adventures.

      Now.. Lithuania… haven’t made it there yet so you clearly have me beat!

  3. expatlingo says:

    The process my husband had to go through to get his UK work visa was also horrid! Worse than any other place (or maybe the relocation folks there were the worst …). Love the photo line up!

  4. Mary Hickling says:

    Applying for our first China visa right now and learning how detailed the application is !! Our problem is living 1800km from the nearest visa centre and living in a border town where I need my passport regularily. May have to bite the bullet and mail the application :o( (leave in 5 weeks )

  5. Sarah M says:

    I like the passport pic on the far right; very punk rock! They’ve tightened up the rules for photos a lot now. On my last one they made me tie my hair back and it doesn’t look like me because I never wear my hair back.

    • I was a punk chick! ;-) And travelled all over with funky spikey hair with the sides partly shaved in web patterns…

      Best was my host family in Germany had very staid kids but their mother had a zany streak and used to help me pick out which neon coloured gel I should highlight my spikes before going out to catch music at a local club! :-)

      Quite right about the strictness on mug shots now… no smiling, full view of face, no glasses, etc. Gee… no fun???

  6. Expat Eye says:

    Hmm, your latest post is non-existent!

  7. With an Indian passport, Bhutan becomes a bit easier to visit, no?

  8. Brilliant passport parade! My 80s passport pic will *never* see the light. :D Then there’s my early 90s one with my hair short and gelled (sp?!) in place with one curl on my forehead. And my 90s isic card with my overplucked eyebrows. Ha ha!

    • Haha! Come on… I dare ya! Bring out your 80s pic!! Bet you had big hair?? And 90s spikes – show! show! However, I will let you off the hook for the over-plucked eyebrows ISIC pic… that should never be revealed. ;-)

      • Nooooo!!!! Okay, maybe. Gosh… now *where* did I put those lovely passports??? ;D Sorry to disappoint with the hair… it was very boring, very straight with very ugly bangs and I distinctly remember wearing a wide emerald green striped Esprit blouse with the collar done right up to the top. As you can see, this picture has traumatized me.

        • You should dig out your past passports and line them up – amusing wander down mug shots over the years. ;-)

          Clearly you were more ‘preppy’ than ‘punk’ in the 80s… I can appreciate that would be traumatising!!

      • Oh! By the way… I was binge reading your blog today (did ya notice??) and I think the comments are off on the… which post did I want to whine on?? Oh yes! I think it was the sim card one?? Maybe I’m imagining but I wanted to moan about cell phones and getting them cancelled in Canada and Japan. Such misery! :D

        • Yes I did notice – merci beacoup! However odd about the comments being off on the SIM card one… it shouldn’t be… And I’d love to hear you moaning about cell phones and plans being cancelled in Canada and Japan!!

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