The visa situation

India is a great country. It has a lot to offer, in the tiny space it takes in this planet. The terrain is diverse, the cultures from one co...

India is a great country. It has a lot to offer, in the tiny space it takes in this planet. The terrain is diverse, the cultures from one corner is vastly different from another, there are all sorts of things that India has to offer. As an Indian, I can't help feel proud of this. However, there are some ugly aspects to being an Indian.

One of these that works against me is that very few countries are willing to accept me as a tourist without a visa in advance. Normally this isn't a problem. Plan the trip in advance, get the visas,  fly into the destination, have a good time and fly out. This works very well when you have a day job and you are vacationing for a few weeks in a year. While on the road, this doesn't really work out without a set destination, a set itinerary etc.. There are very few countries that accept Indians with a visa on arrival. Very few. Let me quote the excellent wikipedia article on this topic. A picture says a thousand words, so it's easier to link to the image from there. The shades of green are where I am readily welcome.

Visa requirements for Indian citizens.png
"Visa requirements for Indian citizens" by Twofortnights - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

As you can see, this isn't much to begin with, most of the green is just third word countries. the vast majority of the world is still off limits to me. Thankfully, I can start slicing the world into certain categories:

North America

I am planning to ride till Alaska, and then ride down to Argentina, passing through all the countries in Mainland NA. I only have visas for USA and Canada till now. This actually helps my cause a lot because a lot of Latin countries accept visas for either of these nations as a valid entry visa. Let's summarize North America with this added detail:

CountryVisa StatusDurationMoto Carnet
USAAlready have a B1/H1Not a problemBike registered in US
CanadaAlready have a visitor visa6 months?US registration and insurance OK
MexicoOn arrival with US/Canada Visa60 days60 days, refundable $400 deposit
GuatemalaOn arrival with US/Canada Visa90 days~ $9
BelizeProbable with US/Canada Visa*TDB<$20
HondurasOn arrival with US/Canada Visa90 days~ $60
El SalvadorOn arrival (no conditions)90 days$3 extra
NicaraguaOn arrival with US/Canada Visa90 days~ $30
Costa RicaOn arrival with US/Canada Visa30 days~$40 with insurance
PanamaOn arrival with US/Canada Visa90 days~$20 with insurance

At this point, the only country left out in continental Northern America is Belize. A lovely place from what I read, but the entry into there from any South Asian country is a refundable deposit of ~$600. Which could potentially be waived if I show my visa to them. I'll have to make that decision when I cross that bridge. Or rather, when I enter El Salvador.

Summary: With the exception of Belize, I can enter all of North America.
Green = Visa/Visa on Arrival. Blue = Visa on Arrival, but not in my itinerary. Red = visa needed prior to entry

South America

 Most  of South America is lax when it comes to visa requirements. The continent is largely corruption free and paper work is minimal. My entry point into South America is Columbia, so let's start from there.

CountryVisa StatusDurationMoto Carnet
ColumbiaOn Arrival with US Visa90 days~$50
VenezuelaVisa needed, Feb 201590 daysFree
GuyanaNo road from Venezuela
Needs sponsor?
30 daysTBD
SurinameVisa: $4560 days30 days, no fees
French GuianaVisa free90 days€5
BrazilVisa needed90 days90 days CdP?
Brazil uses E30 fuel!
PeruVisa needed6 months90 days, no CdP (free)
EquadorVisa free90 days90 days, no CdP (free)
BoliviaVisa on arrival90 days90 days, no CdP (free)
ParaguayVisa needed90 days90 days. CdP nice to have
ChileVisa needed90 days90 days, no CDP $5
ArgentinaVisa needed90 days8 months CdP nice to have
UruguayVisa needed1 year?90 days, no CdP

I am charting out all the countries in South America. I don't think I'll get to all of them. I probably might put the Guiana triplets on the chopping block - the visa requirements are tricky (I need a sponsor in the country to let me in?), most of it is jungle, with confusion about entry and exit points. Uruguay is also too far out.The America part of the trip ends in Patagonia. From one tip of America, next to the Arctic Ocean (Deadhorse AK) to the end of the world, at the other side. From there, I ship the bike to South Africa - that is the easiest way out, and lands me right into another beautiful continent.

My Visa Status. Green = Visa on arrival. Yellow = Visa needed prior to entry. Red = impossible to get visa


My entry point into Africa will most probably be South Africa, from Argentina. I am going to start this section as a placeholder, but it will most likely be incomplete until a year into my trip.

CountryVisa StatusDurationMoto Carnet
South AfricaNeeds Visa, apply from Argentina90 daysno extra charge


Most of Europe is covered by a Schengen visa. If I reach there, it is one single visa for three months. I can't plan this ahead right now, I'll get to it when I get to it. This is too far ahead in my trip to contemplate at the moment. If this happens, my crossing into europe will either be through  Turkey from Egypt, or Spain from Morocco.


This is too big a  continent to even start listing. I will be traversing at least the pat that lies in between India and Africa. In my list is parts of Middle East, and the *Stans. Maybe Siberia. I want to really add China, Japan and South East Asia to that list, but I just don't see it happening.


I totally want to tour Australia and New Zealand, but I have a suspicion that this will be a fly in and a rental motorcycle out there. I need visas for both these countries, but the big plus is that the process is very streamlined.

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