2009
12.18

Planning for a 3-4 months trip to countries for which you need visas can be a bit of a headache.  Every country has its own requirements and rules, restrictions, and fees.  No rhyme or reason to it.  I had to map out the order in which to obtain visas by one most important factor:  How long is the visa valid after it has been issued.  I called every embassy to find out.

In my case:  Syria is the most generous with a 6 months validation.  Lebanon and Iran both issue visas good for three months after approval and Afghanistan… screwed me over by issuing a two months validation period which rendered the entire document invalid, as it will take me 2.5 months to get there! A full week of holiday closings between Christmas and New Years now leaves me with 13 days to straighten this out.  This was not the plan!  I think it is not wise to let a passport go much longer than a month prior to travel.  But I have no choice.  I will keep my fingers crossed.

This leads me to one other issue:  What if?  Unexpected things can happen. As I have a plan A travel plan, I also have plan B and C mapped out.  I could not obtain my Iran visa ahead of time as I needed to send my passport out to obtain the other visas.  In addition, it would be 3.5 months after issuing the visa, before I would reach Iran, conflicting with their requirements; so a visa has to be obtained on route.  I solicited the help of an Iranian travel operator.  I don’t like to put my fate into the hands of strangers.  If all goes well, I will pick up my Iran visa in Damascus.  But if not… there is always Turkey.  No visa needed for German nationals.  And there is Jordan.  I will travel to Detroit to get a visa in one day in person.  Jordan is not on my travel list, but if stranded I have friends there.  So, in case I get mugged, or lose all my money otherwise, break a leg, or have other catastrophic events, I will have a visa to a place where I can recoup.  This is a reassuring thought.

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