Did you know that smoking, spitting or chewing gum in Singapore could cost you a hefty fine or worse? Foreign countries often have strange laws, many vastly different than those we are accustomed to at home. Visa issues sound simple enough, but believe me, people get it wrong. Are you working? What citizenship do you have? All of these things come into play. Don't be denied entry or arrested by being ignorant.
The best place to start is your country's online resource for travel abroad. Here's a link to the UK resource as well as the USA resource. Each of these publications offer detailed entry requirements, important lesser known laws, relative dangers, money information, health risks and more. Every country has different requirements for entry and some require completing a visa application in person or online before granting you entry. For our trip to Brazil, as a US Citizen I had to apply online, pay a visa fee of $160 and appear in person at the Brazilian Consulate of New York to have my passport sent off. After the visa was sent off, I had to return to the consulate again to receive my shiny new visa and my passport. The process took around two weeks and leaving things until the last minute simply wouldn't have worked. My wife on the other hand, as a UK citizen, required no visa and was able to get into the country without lifting a finger. Lucky! Everything a standard tourist will need can be found on these sites and will always have the most up to date and trust worthy information. If you are working on behalf of yourself or a company for business purposes, your best bet is often to check the government resource for the country you plan to visit.
If you have a trip coming up and realize that you've blown it up to now, you may likely be able to throw money at the problem. There are tons of Visa expediting agencies that for a very hefty fee can get it done. I don't have one I specifically recommend (because I haven't had to use one) but I would expect any of the major players to deliver great service.
Ignorance is not a defense under the law and it is certainly not going to help you with your angry travel partner if you are refused entry or arrested for something you could have easily avoided. Be informed, be an expert traveler and of course read my Advanced Travel Tips...
If you are from another country, chime in (in the comments) and let me know you read, I might even be less lazy and include your country and relevant info next time!
As Always, Get In Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.com