A note from James Willcox, Founder
Visas and permits... can't live with them, can't travel without them. The regions we work means the Untamed Borders team spends an awful lot of time assisting with visas and permits. Despite the hospitality of people in the region a trip to the embassy or consulate is less about rolling out the red carpet and more about rolling out the red tape.
You would think we would have seen it all but situations can still surprise us. We have had guests be issued visas with the wrong dates, occasionally been given the visa for someone else and on one occasion accidentally have their passports shredded.
You would think that visas on arrival would make things better. It usually does, however on remote borders this can also be troublesome. On one very sensitive border the visa on arrival service was suspended for one week back in 2012. But why? There was talk of a diplomatic row or a military incursion. Finally it was discovered that the service had been stopped because they had run out of visa stickers and one of the staff had to get the bus to the capital to get some more. This was not a Banana Republic either but a border between two nuclear powers.
These stories emerged earlier this year when we had one guest from the USA start his visa process for Tajik and Afghan visas with one passport. After a convoluted story involving the FBI, the US postal service and the US passport office he started the trip with two Afghan visas and one Tajik visa spread over THREE passports.
Although I have an even better visa story than this one... during the earthquake in Sichuan in 2008, we had a guest leave his passport at the Pakistani consulate on the 17th floor of a high rise building. The building was cordoned off by police and he was told no-one could enter. As he sat there brokenhearted he recognised one of the Pakistani embassy staff and they went for dinner. Later that night they broke into the consulate and he had his visa signed by torchlight inside a condemned building.
On that note, happy travels and smooth documentation,