(Page last updated 09/16/2002)
Do I need a passport and visas?
Passport: Every passenger MUST have a valid passport to travel to almost all countries outside his/her own country. There are very few exceptions to this rule, so just plan to secure a passport. While it is possible to pay extra money and get a rush-delivery of a passport, if an evangelistic team member doesn't have one it is far wiser to secure one immediately after making the decision to participate in an international campaign.
Visas: Most countries also require that a visa (permission to enter the country) be placed in the traveler's passport by the country's embassy our consulate prior to leaving your home country. The requirements of the visa-issuing country vary widely. A few require a letter of invitation from an organization within the country you are visiting - a letter which, if needed, will be secured by the Global-Evangelism office. All will require two or more visa applications, and the attachment of at least two pictures to EACH application, as well as the payment of a visa processing fee.
Remember, you may need more than one visa! If the travel you are planning requires you to leave an airport in another country either going to or returning from your "campaign country," you may also need a visa for that additional country.
Processing visa applications: Mrs. Diana Jo Beeler, at the General Conference has agreed to process visa applications for Global-Evangelism travelers. Some applications can take a month or more to process so applicants MUST allow a great deal of time. Remember, there is little she can do to accelerate the processes carried out by the embassies to determine if they are going to let you into the country other than ask them when they anticipate the visa will be ready. So, it is up to the traveler to ensure the application is submitted many weeks in advance of the trip.
Getting visa application blanks: The place to begin is on the Internet at www.traveldocs.com You can find on that website information regarding whether or not a visa is required, the fee charged by the consulate for the visa, and other application requirements. In most cases you can download the visa application itself - but you will need an Adobe Acrobat reader to print it out.
Read the requirements and instructions from every country very carefully. In many cases they require that the applications be printed out on both sides of the same sheet of paper. Follow their instructions very carefully. In a few instances they require that you use an application provided BY THEIR CONSULATE, and not the one you download from the Internet. In that case you must contact Mrs. Beeler and she will send you an application blank.
In cases where some specific and sensitive information is required to complete the application blank, we will put that information on the campaign website. For example, some countries may require that you complete an application for a Business Visa if you are going to do any public speaking. With other countries completing the section asking the purpose of your trip is also very sensitive. So, if you have questions on these or other matters which are not answered on the campaign-specific website, you can call or e-mail Sis. Beeler.
When you have completed the application, and have the photographs needed, you will need to send (ALWAYS BY FEDEX (NEVER BY MAIL) Mrs. Beeler all the required documents, with your passport, and a check for the fees involved. The amount of the check should be for the visa processing fee required by the embassy or consulate, plus an additional $15, which is to cover the cost of a courier taking your documents to the embassy, returning to pick them up when they are ready, and sending your documents back to you by FedEx.
Contacting Mrs. Beeler: You should send by FedEx your passport, applications, photographs, passport, check, and any other documents required to secure the visa, to: Mrs. Diana Jo Beeler, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904.
If you want to contact Mrs. Beeler you may call her at: (301) 680-6258, reach her by fax at: (301) 680-6197, or by e-mail at: beelerd AT gc.adventist.org
NOTE: The General Conference is doing Global-Evangelism travelers a favor assisting them with their visas. They don't have to do this and they certainly aren't doing it for the money! So, be kind and patient with Sis. Beeler. She can have hundreds of visas in process at the same time! And you can help by sending her your visa applications in PLENTY of time! And remember, if you wish, you are free to apply for your own visas directly with the respective embassies.