Frequently Asked Questions

*It is important to note that there are many different contributing factors that can lead to the visa being granted. These factors may vary depending on the visitors nationality, country they are travelling to and type of visa they require (e.g. business, tourist, media, student visa…)

Invitation Letters

An Invitation Letter is a document used to show the reason for the visitor travelling to that particular country. It should be addressed to the consulate (or embassy) of the country you are travelling to. An invitation letter does not guarantee that the visitor will be issued a visa, but it does however help the Visa Officers assess whether you abide by the countries immigration laws.

It would be preferable to type and print your invitation letter but handwritten invitations may be accepted by some embassies. The invitation letter must be on the headed paper of the inviting company and must at least include:

  • The relationship between the visitor and the inviter
  • Relevant dates of travel & length of stay (arrival dates / departure dates)
  • Passport information (given names, passport number, nationality, issue & expiry date, DOB)
  • Purpose of travel
  • Who will be funding the visit
  • Signature of the inviter

Some countries may require further details or for the letter to be officially stamped by the inviting company/organisation.

Working on a tourist visa

Working on a tourist visa is prohibited, even when volunteering.

If you are travelling abroad to work, you will need to apply for a work permit/visa. This grants you permission to work in the country.

However, some countries only offer travellers the option to apply for a tourist visa. In these cases you will have to travel on a tourist visa, once there, you (or your perspective employer) can then apply for the relevant visa/permit allowing you to work.

Business visa or work permit?

If you are being employed by a company in a foreign country and they are paying you to work in that country, then you will need to apply for a work permit.

If you are travelling to attend a business meeting/conference or consult with business associates, you will need a business visa.

What is a Schengen Visa?

A Schengen visa is not required for British passport holders – All Schengen zone member countries do not require a visa to enter the Schengen zone along with 43 other countries – contact The Travel Visa Company for further information regarding the countries exempt from requiring a Schengen visa. Once obtained, a Schengen visa allows the visitor to travel between 26 different countries that are part of the Schengen area (also known as the Schengen zone).

When applying for a Schengen visa, the traveller will need to apply to the country that they visit first, or to the country that they will be staying in for the longest period of time.

The Schengen visa allows the holder to stay a total of up to 90 days within a period of 6 months for tourist or business purposes. If you get a multiple entry Schengen visa, you may leave and return any number of times within the 180-day period, but the combined stay within the region must not total more than 90 days.

How long can I stay on a business visa?

Business visas can range in validity; for a validity of 1 month up to 5 years. You will find that different countries have different lengths of validity on their business visas. With some business visas, you may be able to apply to extend the period of stay.

If you have anymore queries about any of the topics we have just covered, or if you have any other travel visa related questions, feel free to call our friendly team on 01270 250 590

Want to learn more about the different types of visa that are out there? Check out our recent blog: Get To Know Your Visas.

How long does it take to process my Chinese visa application?

When applying for either your Chinese tourist visa or your Chinese business visa, you can choose from three different service levels* with us:

  • Priority 1: 3 working days
  • Priority 2: 7 working days
  • Priority 3: 10 working days

*Working days excluding postal days.

Can I travel on an Indian e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for business meetings?

Yes. If you are travelling to India for business meetings, you can apply for an e-Tourist Visa (eTV).

When filling out the application, simply state your required type of visa as ‘business’ and purpose of travel as ‘business meetings’. This type of visa is applicable for those who wish to fly into India for stays of less than 30 days.

For stays of longer than 30 days, a full Indian visa is required.

What size photo do I need for India?

A standard visa photo needs to be: 2 by 2 inches or 5 by 5 cm

What is a Transit Visa?

This type of visa is valid for travellers who do not wish to stay in the country, but only to pass through it. The visa is temporary and only valid for a short period of time. Some countries require that you have a stop over of  24 hours minimum to grant you a transit visa. But, others provide a transit visa for a stop over as small as 4 hours.

What is an electronic travel visa?

Electronic visas come in a number of different formats (ESTA/ETA/e-Visa). These visas do not require you to submit your passport as they are electronically linked to your passport number through an online system. You can read more on one of our other blog posts.

When I have my passport photo taken, can I wear glasses?

You can wear glasses when having your passport/visa photograph taken. However, you cannot wear tinted glasses or sunglasses. The glasses can only be worn if they do not obstruct your eyes in the photograph.

Can I get a single entry visa for China?

You can now, only, apply for a multiple entry visa when travelling to China. This applies to both business and tourism purposes and will be valid for two years.

What is an e-Passport?

An e-passport (also referred to as a biometric passport) contains an electronic chip. The chip holds the same information that is printed on the passport’s data page: the holder’s name, date of birth, and other biographic information. Electronic visas can be applied to the passport without the need for any physical documentation.

I am travelling to, and will be staying in, America for more than 3 months, Can I get an ESTA?

Unfortunately not. American ESTA’s are valid for 12 months (this applies to travellers going to America for both business and tourism purposes) but you may only stay for 90 days at a time. For stays of over 3 months, you will need to apply for a full visa.

Can I go on a cruise with and Indian e-Tourist Visa?

Unfortunately not. If, during your cruise, you will be stopping in India: You will have to apply for a Full Indian Tourist Visa.

You can apply for your full Indian Visa here.

What is a working holiday visa?

A working holiday visa is for more casual work while you travel, e.g. for someone who is backpacking through Australia and picks up part time job to help keep their funds up while in Australia. Countries that offer a working holiday to British passport holders include: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and Japan.

Can I travel on an Australian ETA for business meetings?

Yes. As long as you do not intend to stay in the country longer than three months, you can take part in conventions and conferences as well as meetings whilst in Australia. However, this visa is not intended for work purposes. If you take employment while in Australia on an ETA visa, you will be contravening the conditions of the visa.

Can I change to another visa while in Australia?

No. You cannot change visa types while onshore in Australia, you may only apply to extend your visa. If you are interested in applying for a permanent visa or another temporary visa, such as a Working Holiday Visa, the application must be made in the UK.

*It is important to note that there are many different contributing factors that can lead to the visa being granted. These factors may vary depending on the visitors nationality, country they are travelling to and type of visa they require (e.g. business, tourist, media, student visa…) 

Please note: The information provided in this blog post is correct at the time of publishing.Visa requirements can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information, call us or visit our website.

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India Tourism Day

India Tourism Day

Wednesday the 25th of January marks India’s National Tourism Day, a day to raise awareness about the importance of tourism to the country and its economy.

India is a vast and beautiful country filled with all manner of things to do and places to see. It comes as no surprise that people from all over the world travel there for the culture, heritage, nature, education, business opportunities, sporting events, and more.

Tourism in India continued to expand in 2016, with a double-digit increase in international visitor arrivals.

Let’s talk statistics…

Since the introduction of the e-Tourist visa, India has seen a huge growth in foreign arrivals with numbers almost doubling compared to 2015. According to data released by India’s Ministry of Tourism, the country welcomed a total of 8.89 million international visitors in 2016, up 10.7% compared to 2015.

e-Visas

1.08 million e-Tourist Visas were issued at Indian Airports in 2016.

Introduced in 2015, the e-Tourist Visa scheme has seen massive growth after its initial success. As a result, the Indian government decided to expand the e-Tourist Scheme to  113 countries and territories and made available at 16 Indian airports.

Accounting for approximately 12% of total arrivals. The system is now in place for the citizens of 161 countries.

How can we help?

The Travel Visa Company is an award winning visa procurement agency and we are proud to be one of the fastest growing travel visa companies in the UK. We offer a six stage service:

  1. Consultation & Application
  2. Quality Control
  3. Logistics Management
  4. Embassy Submission
  5. Collection & Confirmation
  6. Final Check & Dispatch

To find out more about the services we offer, or want to get in touch, follow our social media channels…

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Thailand Introduce New Visa Exemption Schemes

Thailand Tourist Visa Fee Exemptions.


Thailand has launched two new temporary tourist visa schemes:

  • All applicants applying for the Tourist Visa (Single Entry) will be exempted from the visa fee.
  • The visa on arrival fee will also be decreased from 2,000 to 1,000 Thai Baht (฿)

These schemes are in place from 1st December 2016 until 28th February 2017.

To find out if you are eligible for a tourist visa to Thailand, visit our website or call our expert team on 01270 250 590.

Click here to download the official documents released by the Thai embassy.

Where to shop this christmas

Shop till you drop

With billions of people from over 160 countries around the world celebrating Christmas, purchasing the gifts that will make your loved ones face light up can be one of the most important parts of the festive season! There is a huge selection of stores, shops and outlets around the world …so here are some of the best places that you should be visiting for this years Christmas goodies!

New York

A trip out to the Big Apple brings you closer to some of the most lavish and luxurious brands out there, with big names such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, DKNY, Estée Lauder, Tiffany & Co and Micheal Kors all based in New York City.

Take a stroll down the famous Fifth Avenue where you will pass many of Americas much loved department stores. Saks Fifth Avenue is a luxury American department store that puts products from some of the worlds top designers on sale with ten stories of cosmetics, clothes, perfume and more! But a shopping trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without exploring the Macy’s store – one of Americas largest department stores. This retail giant offers up almost everything you could possibly want from kids toys and clothing to trending fashion and top tech. International visitors can also take advantage of a 10% discount. If you are lucky enough to visit New York in time for Thanksgiving, be sure to catch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – a national event with over 50+ million fans tuning in to watch each year.

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in New York during the Christmas season, as well as shopping, there are a few extra things not to miss:

  • Get your skates on and head down to the ice rink at central park
  • Join thousands of New Yorkers and tourists and watch the lighting event at the world famous Rockefeller centre
  • or get yourself over to Macy’s Santaland (but don’t forget to make a reservation!)

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Munich

The Christmas markets of Munich are an annual historic event with its first Christmas market taking place back in the 14th century. Since then, they have grown massively – expanding to over 20 different locations within Munich, making it one of Europe’s most popular destinations for festive shopping! Take part in workshops, enjoy live music, feast on the delicious Christmas treats and explore this beautiful city.

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Feeling adventurous?

When it comes to Christmas markets, Europe and America are the places most talked about… but we shouldn’t forget that this is a celebration that takes place all over the world and places like Shanghai, Moscow and even Cape Town also take part in the festive celebrations.

Shanghai

Looking for a change of scenery? Enjoy all of the traditional celebrations like hot mulled wine/cider, toasted gingerbread and hot chocolate in the beautiful city of Shanghai. There are plenty of places you can go to in Shanghai to get those Christmassy feels. The Hilton Hotel and JW Marriott Shanghai take orders for traditional Christmas dinners so you can still tuck in to a roasted Christmas Turkey with all the trimmings!

The Hongqiao Flower Market in Minhang puts both real and artificial trees and wreaths on sale to the public as-well as some of the essential Christmas tree decorations. You will also find the Swedish megastore IKEA offering up mulled wine, cookies and other treats for the those hungry shoppers as Christmas draws closer.

xmas-tree

Moscow

In Moscow for Christmas? It’s going to be a cold one! Get your woolly hat, scarf and mittens on – with possible lows of -16 degrees, you are definitely going to need a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine to warm you up. The annual “Journey into Christmas” is held in the Red Square  with 38 Christmas ‘zones’ that hold more than 100 stalls.

One thing not to miss is the Christmas light installations in Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street. This magical display is the perfect place to spend the evening. Walk through the tunnel of Christmas lights and explore the festive illuminations!

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Cape Town

Christmas eve in Cape Town pulls out all the stops. Enjoy Cape Town’s biggest, free open-air event – a spectacular laser, lights and firework display! Join thousands of Capetonians at the Adderley Street Christmas light switch on for the launch of the holiday season. If you happen to find yourself in South Africa during the holidays, why not celebrate Christmas on the beach? With temperatures reaching 25 degrees, relaxing on the beach might just be the best way to spend Christmas day!

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Let us know

Have you spent Christmas somewhere wacky and wonderful? Leave a comment below and let us know the most obscure places you have celebrated this festive holiday.

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World Tourism Day

A Day to Celebrate

Today we celebrate World Tourism Day – a day of spreading awareness of the immense importance and benefits that tourism can and has brought to society.

World Tourism Day is celebrated all over the world – contributing to promoting responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, with this years official celebrations taking place in Bangkok, Thailand.

Why we are celebrating

As a travel visa procurement agency and one the fastest growing travel visa companies in the UK, we have helped thousands of our customers successfully obtain their tourist visas to over 100 different destinations which makes today extra special.

A travel visa is an essential travel document for those travelling abroad and we are proud to be able to assist with something that is a fundamental part of world tourism.

Find out more

How you can get involved

This event is not reserved for the highbrow officials or tourism organisations, this day is important for everyone –  There are many ways you can take part and help spread awareness. Today, many travel enthusiasts have taken to social media to help circulate the message. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be used to make the most of the official hashtags: #tourism4all #WTD2016

Why not tell us what you are up to this World Tourism Day? Tweet us @thetravelvisa


Before you go, take a look at the UNWTO’s World Tourism Day infographic below. To find out more visit their website.

World Tourism Day 2016

The 7 wonders of the world (and their visa requirements)

Something you may not have known, is that: in 2007 over 100 million people voted to declare the new 7 Modern Wonders of the World! These new  7 were elected to “represent global heritage throughout history”.

So, in no particular order – here is the list of the latest 7 Wonders of the World and their travel requirements:

7-wonders-of-the-world

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Family Holiday Association Charity Day

Fundraising

If you didn’t already know, the team here at The Travel Visa Company have pledged to raise £500 for The Family Holiday Association. To raise this money, we decided to cycle the world in 24 hours!

The Family Holiday Association is the only national charity dedicated to providing British seaside breaks and day trips for families struggling with some of the toughest challenges life can bring.

We have had a brilliant few days of fundraising with the whole team taking part! Aside from the cycling, the two days saw the team take part in all manner of mini games and activities, ranging from our 1000 piece world map jigsaw (which is very close to being completed!) to in-office basketball as-well as a whole host of other activities to help raise money for The Family Holiday Association.

The Travel Visa Company Team

We are very proud to say that we have successfully cycled for 24 hours non-stop!

Our 19 participants managed to cycle 250 miles. During this time we…


Around The World In 24 Hours Infographic


Thank You!

To all the members of our team that took part in our cycle, Crewe Hall who kept us topped up with cold drinks and refreshments, STUDIO 4ORCE Personal Training who very kindly donated one of their exercise bikes for the event …and not forgetting Ange and Michelle from The Family Holiday Association who travelled all the way from London to visit us as we completed the cycle! We cannot thank you enough.

Don’t Forget

You can still donate and help us reach our target of £500! Visit our JustGiving page here.

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How will Brexit affect the future of travel?

As you probably already know, Britain has voted to leave the EU. Aside from the many different views and opinions on this controversial topic, we would like to talk about how this has, and could, affect the future of travel.

After the final results of the referendum, there are a few common questions many of the general public have about the future of travel, such as:

  • Will  the price of holidays increase?
  • Will I need a new passport / driving license after we leave the EU?
  • Will I require a visa to travel European countries?
  • What happens to my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

As with almost everything related to the decision to leave the EU, it is not clear how things will proceed and it is still unclear exactly what sort of relationship Britain will be able to strike with the European Union. And so, therefore, it is uncertain as to what will actually happen regarding travel to the EU.

What we do know is that:

  • There are no immediate changes to claiming compensation if your flight is delayed or cancelled.
  • You can still bring home unlimited goods from duty free.
  • There are no immediate changes to using your phone abroad.
  • You can still use your European Health Insurance Card card abroad.
  • It is likely that British Citizens will (at some point) need brand new passports as the front cover currently features the words “European Union”.
  • It is also likely that we will (at some point) need brand new driving licenses as this has the European flag featured on it.

The UK Government will need to implement new laws for each of the above after we leave the EU. The only immediate impact to travel could be from the value of the pound.

ABTA has released this statement on the result of the EU Referendum –

The Prime Minister has stated that there will be no initial change in the way people travel. Travellers are as free to move between the UK and the EU as they were yesterday, European Health Insurance cards remain valid and regulations such as Air Passenger Rights remain in place. People due to travel this summer will see little changes to their holiday.

Once the UK formally notifies the EU of its intention to leave, the remaining Member States will have up to two years to offer the UK a deal for a future trading relationship and during this period holidaymakers will not see any immediate changes.

However, the fall in value of the pound will have an immediate impact on holidaymakers and their spending power overseas.

ABTA is the UK’s largest travel association, representing travel agents and tour operators.

For further queries or questions, you can visit ABTA’s FAQ page of their website here.

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Rio 2016 Travel Requirements

British Citizen Passport Holders

For British Nationals, travel to Brazil does not require a visa. However:

  • You will need to comply with Brazilian immigration laws on arrival in the country.
  • You must satisfy the Federal Police (the Brazilian immigration authority) of your intended purpose of visit.
  • You will need to show that you have enough money for the duration of your stay.
  • Provide details of your accommodation and evidence of return or further onward travel.
  • Your passport should be stamped. If it is not, you may be fined on departure. Keep your immigration landing card. You will need it when you leave. If you lose it you may also be fined.
  • Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Brazil.

Information from www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/brazil/entry-requirements.gov.uk

The British Government have also released a useful guide to help you ‘stay ahead of the games’. It gives you advices and information about travel insurance, when is best to book, vaccinations, languages and more! You can download it here.


Other Nationalities

It comes as no surprise that the Rio Olympics are going to bring in a huge amount of foreign visitors, and so, the Brazilian Government are making it as easy (and as safe) as possible for travellers to enter Brazil. That is why they have introduced a temporary Visa Waiver Program (until the 18th of September 2016).

Australian, Canadian, Japanese and US nationals will not require a tourist visa to enter Brazil. Instead, they will be eligible for a 90 day, non-extendable, visa waiver.

*Note: you do not have to be attending the Olympic Games to take advantage of the new travel requirements.

If you want to check visa requirements of any other nationalities then, you can download this document (Entry Visas To Brazil PDF).

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Get to know your Visas

We all know that, when travelling, different countries have different visa requirements. For example, travel to Turkey may require you to obtain an e-visa whereas travel to America could see you needing an ESTA and some countries only needing a visa on arrival or not needing a visa at all… but what is the difference? and what types of visa are out there?

Common types of visa

Alongside the standard full visas for tourist and business purposes, here are some of the other common types of visa that travellers may need:

ESTA

An ESTA is an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation. This is required for travel in to the USA if you are a citizen of a country that is a part of The Visa Waiver Program.

Applying for an ESTA only determines your eligibility for entry into America.

The US use the ESTA in place of a visa (for citizens of certain countries) and is electronically applied to your e-passport.

*Please note: There are many different types of visa that can be applied for when travelling to America, from an A visa all the way to a WT visa, depending on your purpose of travel and eligibility. 

e-Visa

An e-Visa grants authorisation to enter the particular country you have applied for. It has the same effect as a normal visa but is applied electronically. This kind of visa is applied and paid for online. e-Visas are available for varied validities dependant on the issuing country (from 30 to 90 days). If you do not qualify for an e-Visa you will need to apply for a full visa.

Countries that use the e-visa scheme are as listed below:

eTA

An eTA is an “Electronic Tourist Authorisation” which, as you guessed, authorises tourists to enter certain countries when travelling. The can also be referred to as an “Electronic Tourist Authority”. They are applied to your passport electronically and so leaves out the need for any physical documentation to be submitted for the application.

In some instances you may need to obtain an eTA even if you are transiting through that specific country. Also, the duration of the eTA can vary – for example, a Canadian eTA can last for 5 years.

Countries that use the eTA scheme are as listed below:

Transit Visa

This type of visa is valid for travellers who do not wish to stay in the country, but only to pass through it. The visa is temporary and only valid for a short period of time. Some countries require that you have a stop over of  24 hours minimum to grant you a transit visa. But, others provide a transit visa for a stop over as small as 4 hours.


If you have any questions or queries about your visa, or you want to apply for one, please call our award winning team on 01270 250 590 or visit our website: thetravelvisacompany.co.uk

If you found this guide useful, why not share it with a friend? And don’t forget to follow us on social media!

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Will my passport stop me from travelling to America?

What you need to know

It has recently come into the news that UK residents are being rejected entry into the USA if they do not have an e-Passport. This is true. It was introduced last month by the American government but most are still unaware.

The reason this has blown up so much, and gained so much traction, is because of one English traveller who shared their unfortunate story on Facebook. As we all know, social media is a huge platform for sharing content, and so it is no surprise that a story like this has caught so much attention and been picked up by the mainstream media.

The traveller in question was due to travel to Florida from their closest UK based airport but got turned away at the check-in desk as they did NOT have an electronic passport.


How can I tell if I have an electronic passport?


If you have had your British Citizen Passport issued before 2006 it is likely that you will NOT have an electronic passport. Passports issued after 2006 will be e-Passports but it is always worth checking. A simple way to check if you have an e-Passport is to simply look at the front cover of it:

ePassport-chip

You should see a small camera symbol at the bottom, in the centre (as pictured above). This indicates that your passport has an electronic chip that can store electronic visas.

You can apply for a new British Citizen Passport on the official government website here: www.gov.uk/apply-renew-passport. This costs £72.50, with an extra £9.75 fee for the Post Office’s Passport Check and Send service.

If you need any assistance with your passport renewal, you can download our passport renewal pack (includes an additional service fee).

Download Passport Renewal Application Pack


Will I need a new ESTA for America?

If you are one of the unfortunate few who have already applied for, and been granted, a valid ESTA and have recently found out that you don’t have an electronic passport then you will have to apply again. Luckily for you, we can help!

The Travel Visa Company can assist with your new American ESTA application for business or tourist purposes. We take the stress away from your visa application by quality checking the application, completing the online forms on your behalf, emailing you the confirmation of approval and providing support and updates throughout the application process.

Apply now for just £27.50 per person: thetravelvisacompany.co.uk/america/ or call: 01270 250 590

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What is a Carnet?

Definition

A Carnet (pronounced kar-nay) is an international customs document that is commonly referred to as a ‘Merchandise Passport‘ or a passport for goods. It is used to clear customs in 85 countries without paying duty and import tax on goods that will be re-exported within 12 months.

Simply put: it is a single document to be used for clearing goods through Customs. Without a Carnet you would have to go through each country’s customs procedures.

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Types of Carnet

Currently, in the UK, there are two types of Carnet that you can access:

1. The most widely used are the ATA Carnets. These allow the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment or goods going to either a trade fair or exhibition to countries that are part of the ATA Carnet system.

2. The second type of Carnet is an EC/CPD/China-Taiwan carnet (between the U.K. and Taiwan) or a TECRO/AIT Carnet (between the U.S. and Taiwan) . A Taiwan carnet is issued in addition to an ATA Carnet if you are travelling to multiple countries including Taiwan.

See what goods a Carnet can cover here.

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How can you obtain a Carnet?

The Travel Visa Company, a U.K. leader in travel visas, and boomerang carnets, ATA Carnet specialists, are delivering both services from The Travel Visa offices in Crewe.

This collaboration makes it easy for you to prepare for international travel by offering two specialities in international travel and trade documentation.

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ATA Carnets and their accompanying security can be applied for, signed and stamped electronically from anywhere in the U.K. using boomerang carnets online application. ATA Carnet pick-up locations are available in Liverpool and London, in addition to Travel Visa’s Crewe office where travel visas are also available

A Travel Visa, boomerang carnets and Liverpool Chamber of Commerce collaboration makes so much sense. The Travel Visa Company is the preferred visa supplier for the Liverpool Chamber and boomerang carnets is their exclusive service provider for ATA Carnets.  All three international trade and travel document organizations bring experience and expertise to, sometimes, complex and frustrating processes.

To apply for your Carnet, or to simply find out more information, call 01270 250 590.

Need any more information? Visit the boomerang website for everything you might need to know! www.boomerangcarnets.co.uk

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