Preparing for international travel can be stressful: the list of things to arrange can often be daunting. Included in many travel plans must be obtaining a visa from the country you are visiting, a requirement which in many instances requires the payment of a fee.
However, before you can apply for a visa, you must provide proof of flights and accommodation. This indicates to the host country that you are planning on returning home after your holiday, and that you have made the necessary arrangements for your stay while in their country.
“Any international traveller will tell you that making arrangements for travel is a process. You must book your flights, secure your accommodation, and apply for your visa. This, obviously, incurs a certain cost on the part of the traveller, all while the issuing of the visa is not guaranteed,” explains the AA’s Travel Department.
To limit the financial loss if a visa application is rejected (while flights and accommodation have been paid for), the AA offers AA Travel Insurance that will reimburse you the amount as shown in the schedule of benefits for the non-refundable portion of pre-paid airline tickets and/or accommodation.
“This insurance offers travellers some fall-back financially if their visa applications are declined. It may not cover all the expenses incurred, but it will certainly cover some of the losses, and is a useful product to have to ensure you have some protection if your visa is denied,” says AA Travel.
AA Travel urges travellers to check the conditions for visa applications carefully before submitting the forms required by the host country. All sections of the required forms must be completed, and all information must be provided. In many cases, bank statements are needed to prove that you have sufficient funds in your accounts for your travel overseas.
AA Travel says AA Travel Insurance will cover you for the non-refundable portion of your airline ticket and accommodation if your travel has been cancelled or postponed because you didn’t obtain a visa. However, there are some instances where you will not be reimbursed. These include:
- If your visa application has been declined because you have a criminal record,
- If your visa has been declined because you have an invalid passport (or if your passport does not have two blank adjacent pages for visa stamps),
- If your application does not comply with all the requirements of the host embassy (such as incomplete forms, not the correct accompanying documentation, etc.)
- If your visa application was not made in the specified time required by the host embassy, and/or,
- If you do not have a return airline ticket.
It is important to note that in all instances, you must be applying for a tourist or business visa only. For more information on AA Travel Insurance visit aa.travel.co.za.
International Driving Permits
An International Driving Permit (IDP) is a legal travel document and is a valid form of identification, protection and safety if you find yourself in need of identification or assistance while travelling abroad. It contains your name, photograph and driver information in several languages.
An innovative development by the AA is to have IDPs couriered to the person applying for it.
“Travellers requiring an IDP can visit aa.co.za/international-driving-permit to submit an application for their IDP online, and indicate that they would like to have it couriered to them. Payment is done online, and the IDP will be delivered to them within five working days. This is a great development for travellers who do not have an accredited AA Accredited Sales Agent near them, or who want the convenience of having these delivered,” says the AA.
Of course those preferring to obtain the IDP immediately can still do so by visiting their nearest AA Accredited Sales Agent. This process takes less than 15 minutes to finalise. If you are going to do this, please remember to bring along your valid SA identification, your valid South African driver’s license, and a passport photograph
“Obtaining an IDP is simple, even more so with the added benefit of having it delivered to your home or office. If you need an IDP please ensure you have left enough time for delivery, or for a visit to one of our accredited stores,” concludes AA Travel.