There have been many questions about visas, when one needs them and how to get them.

I think in most cases there are good online sources to find out about this, even if some one answers a specific case, it is always advisable to check the official site.

So I think there should be one canonical question/answer about finding out about visa requirements pointing to online resources etc.

Then any future simple questions about visas can be closed and pointed to that question.

Of course there are always special questions for special cases and there are fine.

  • 4
    What's so bad about having 5000 visa questions?
    – user82
    Commented Aug 15, 2012 at 21:38
  • 2
    @fiveyearsabroad It makes for extra work, and also makes it very hard to find the right question. Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 17:13
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    If you consider the number of countries in the world, the different situations (transit/visitor/family member/etc.), complications because of the itinerary or other visas you have, etc. you can imagine much more than 5000 questions! Once we have done them, we can start over as the rules will most likely have changed in many places.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 7:32

5 Answers 5


It's not just that there are x nationalities and y countries. There are also z types of visa. So there are many more possible questions that could be asked.

For a very few types of visa × nationality combination, the requirements are quite straightforward.

However, for the vast majority of visa × nationality combinations, it's not necessarily straightforward at all, with the online information from embassies being misleading, contradictory, or simply non-existent. For most places outside of the "westernised" world the visa requirements can be pretty arcane. Especially in central Asia and Africa. In these situations it's great to get help from people who have dealt with it themselves and native language speakers who can read the original documentation.

I don't see how pointing everyone to one generic "how to find out how to get a visa" answer would be helpful. The point is that we're here to help them figure it out. The same logic could be applied to any type of question. Should we also have a generic "here is how to find out how to find fun things to do on holiday" answer too? What about "how to find out how to travel from one place to another"?

Sure, we do have a couple of simplistic visa questions, but those are easily dealt with and then can be used as a basis for closing any new questions asking the same thing.


I have a feeling of deja vu the topic of 'too simple' questions has been asked on meta before but I can't pull up the exact question.

I make a distinction between immigration and visa related to short-term travel and business purposes. The former is off topic and more suited for Immigration.SE proposal.

For everything else, I believe questions should be allowed as long as they are on topic and there are no duplicates. Yes I realise that as traveller who's 'been there' to different countries I know where and how to find the visa information required. (You have to admit many government sites are poorly designed and important details are often buried away.)

The guiding principle on this has been provided by our StackExchange overlords in Are Some Questions Too Simple?

enter image description here

We have good canonical answers now for visa applications for a couple of countries. Typically however, visas are a very dense topic in the sense that rules can differ according to country of citizenship and residence, application procedures, and more of than not can often be unclear / hard to find as I mentioned earlier. In that sense I haven't seen many trivial questions on Travel.SE yet perhaps except for a couple of ones on US's ESTA / visa waiver programme.


I think these canonical answers evolve over time.

The only way to get there is to close exact duplicates and merge information from near duplicates but being that there are so many kinds of visas for so many nationalities going to so many countries, and lots of rules changing all the time, there's no real way to plan ahead.

Best to just take them as they come I think.


The ignore tags feature is handy, but only in "highlighting" how many visa questions there are on the site. Granted, some folk may be earning a lot of rep in answering them.

I can tolerant 5000+ visa questions, just as long as there equally as many questions that aren't about visas.

This screenshot illustrates this epidemic.

enter image description here

  • 2
    Those are mostly old qustions that have been bumped up by hippietrail adding tags to them.
    – CMaster
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 17:11
  • @CMaster ok that's a relief then :) Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 17:26
  • Yeah I made a new tag for applications. To break up the paperwork tag a bit. Probably most were visa applications but there's quite a few other things people apply for and ask about here. As I was looking for questions on that topic I also retagged some other stuff. Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 9:25
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    It's annoying that by default ignored tags aren't properly ignored, but you can fix it in your user preferences so they don't show at all Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 9:35

I like your proposal, but people are coming because they like the site and what's wrong with that?

My "dream" is to reach the position where say 85% - 95% of UK and Schengen questions are duplicates. This is not at all preposterous.

Essentially, we have reached this with almost all Schengen questions. There are odd one-offs, but there's been a dramatic decrease in Schengen questions overall. I am guessing that people search for it and see a great answer that satisfies them and they go away without asking a new question.

If we had a close reason called "failure to perform basic research" there would be a lot fewer silly questions IMHO.

UK visas are a bit more difficult, but there is enough in the question/answer store where duplicates can be marked whereas 18 months ago every question was "unique". When you boil it all down, there's only about 7 ways you can get a UK refusal. A funds parking thing, a credibility thing, and so on. Read through the question/answer store check me out on it!

What brought me to TSE originally was the chance to see wonderful questions about for example the Danube Valley, Big Sur and the like. Give the visa thing time to evolve.

I hope that someone who knows the SO API would write a time series plot on 'Schengen' and 'UK' frequencies over that past 12 months and we can put some hard data to your question. I bet they are decreasing. I would also bet that they have the poorest accept rate, but that's a different story.

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