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I Need A Visa To Travel! Now I Can't. Is My Visa Fee Refundable?

Posted by Randy LeGrant | Aug 19, 2020 1:01:53 PM

Travel refunds due to Coronavirus have been elusive. Almost all GeoVisions Foundation travelers have elected to move their travel dates forward, many well into summer 2021. That's probably because traveling abroad with GeoVisions Foundation is very different from going on a tour or a cruise. On many of our programs we're providing good paying jobs and benefits so it's worth it to be flexible and move dates rather than drop out entirely.

Still, there are going to be expenses travelers incur outside of GeoVisions that may not be refundable. We always try to alert our participants before they spend any money. One such expense is if you need to obtain a visa.

Most travelers don't need visas. If you want to go to Italy, for example, you fly to Italy, go through immigration, and you have 90-days to return home. There is no visa pasted into your passport.

You need to obtain a visa when you receive money, through a job, for working in that particular country. That visa is sometimes converted into a legal work permit is a must, and 100% of the time, those cost money.

Suppose you go to the trouble of filling out all of the paperwork for a visa, send in all of the documentation in support of the visa, and pay for the visa. Can you get a refund if you later cannot travel due to Covid-19? The short answer is "no."

Before you begin the visa process, be sure you meet 100% of the program's qualifications. Next, make sure you get the job you want. And, make sure you have firm travel dates to begin your job. Then and only then, you should start working on your visa.

If you're thinking about working abroad with GeoVisions Foundation, here are the positions that require a visa:

  • Au Pair in France. If you are going to stay longer than 3 months, you'll need the new Au Pair visa. You have to apply for that visa at any French consulate or embassy.
  • Paid Teacher in South Korea or China. For either country, you will need a special visa to teach abroad.
  • Paid Teacher in Thailand. You may be able to get your Non-immigrant B visa before you fly to Thailand. But in case you're late in applying, don't worry. You will be able to do that with your school after you arrive. You'll have only 30 days, though, to obtain the B visa.
  • Remember, if you're going to the EU (Schengen Zone), you can only remain 90-days. When you leave, you must be out of the Zone for 180-days before you can return. The only way around this currently is through a student visa, and you will need to show in which school you're enrolled.

So no, you can't get a refund on your visa. That's why it's important to get accepted by GeoVisions Foundation, get hired, then begin the visa process. Don't spend any money on going abroad until you must.

Written by Randy LeGrant

Randy is the Executive Director of the GeoVisions Foundation. He has spent the last 44 years managing organizations that send people abroad on cultural and educational exchanges.

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