Singapore shares top spot with Japan for the most powerful passport in the world. Both countries boast passports that have visa-free or visa on arrival access to 189 countries. (Cue Aladdin’s A Whole New World.)

Image Credit: Giphy

However, there are a few destinations that surprisingly still require a visa application beforehand despite ownership of a Singapore passport.

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1. Australia

Opera House, Sydney Australia
Image Credit: Srikant Sahoo on Unsplash

The Land Down Under is a super popular option for Singaporeans to have a family vacation. But surprise, surprise, you need a visa to actually visit even if it’s for a short holiday.

Australia uses an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) system which is pretty convenient and does not take long to process. The ETA will be valid for use for a period of a year so you can go back to Australia any time within that period.

Considering how popular Australia is, this visa application is well worth the hassle.

  • Where to apply:
  • Application Fee: AUD $20 (online)

2. India

photo of Taj Mahal
Image Credit: Julian Yu on Unsplash

The only thing that stands between you and the Taj Mahal is a visa (and money for everything else). Singaporeans looking to travel to India require a visa although there is an exception. Singaporeans of Indian ethnicity can apply to be recognised as an Overseas Citizen of India, a status which provides visa-free travel.

Visas-on-arrival are available at major airports in India for US $25 but applying for a visa online saves you the trouble and time.

With many unique cultures, sights and cuisines to explore, a visa application isn’t going to stop me from going there.

  • Where to apply:
  • Application Fee: USD $25

3. Russia

group of people walking in plaza
Image Credit: Daniil Silantev on Unsplash

Russia is definitely filled with more than just icy Siberia and vodka jokes. It is home to many wonderful looking cathedrals and mountains. Russia has a satisfyingly good balance of history and nature.

However, it can be quite complicated to apply for a visa even as a tourist to the country. Firstly, Singaporeans are required to apply for a tourist invitation letter to be able to apply for a visa. A tourist invitation letter can be obtained from a relative or establishment that resides within the country. Otherwise, a travel operator could provide you an invitation letter at a fee.

The only other way to avoid applying for a visa is to enter through a cruise operator which will allow you to stay for 72 hours.

Travelling to Russia sounds like a hassle so we recommend booking through a reliable travel agency if you need help in getting a tourist invitation letter.

  • Where to apply:
  • Application Fee: Varies.

4. Bhutan

white and brown house on mountain
Image Credit: Sam Power on Unsplash

Who wouldn’t want to travel to the happiest place on earth? Bhutan is a small Buddhist kingdom located between China, India and Nepal. Its appeal lies in its authentic culture which stands strong in the face of globalisation and external influences.

This way of life is retained through the limited number of tourists and foreigners that are allowed to visit which is why Singaporeans too require a visa to enter. Visas can only be applied through authorised travel agencies from Bhutan which will plan your whole travel experience.

Bhutan is full of beautiful landscapes and mountainous areas which have largely been untouched by pollution. If you are in pursuit of true happiness, Bhutan is a great place to start and worth the visa.

  • Where to apply: Through a licensed Bhutanese travel operator
  • Application Fee: Inclusive of a travel package

5. Egypt

five persons riding camels walking on sand beside Pyramid of Egypt
gImage Credit: Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

Visit the Great Pyramid at Giza which is the only one left standing out of the other seven wonders of the world. While you’re there, snap a picture with the Great Sphinx too.

Technically, Singaporeans are able to obtain visa-on-arrival within airports in Egypt. This comes in the form of a sticker which costs US $25. However, visa requirements in Egypt may change at short notice which is why it is recommended for tourists from Singapore to obtain a visa from the Embassy of Egypt before travelling.

Egypt can be unsafe due to unpredictable attacks by terrorists which have claimed the lives of tourists. Thus, if you’re really intent on seeing the pyramids with your very own eyes, proceed at your own risk.

  • Where to apply: Egypt Embassy in Singapore at 8 Eu Tong Sen Street
  • Application Fee: Approximately US $25

6. Belarus

Image Credit: Dennis Jarvis on Flickr

Belarus is not a popular travel destination for Singaporeans but is worth a visit due to its unique history and location within Europe.

Singaporeans need to apply for a visa before visiting if they happen to fly in from Russia. If you’re flying in directly to Minsk from any other country which has a visa-waiver agreement with Belarus, you’re good to go.

Belarus displays a wide array of Soviet-era structures which have been retained. Some have been turned into museums while others have integrated into everyday life as buildings housing ordinary businesses.

You can also visit national parks and watch rare European bison roam through vast fields.

Belarus is definitely worth the visit as it is becoming a hugely popular destination in Eastern Europe.

  • Where to apply: Travel agency or submission to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Belarus
  • Application Fee: €25

7. Venezuela

man in blue t-shirt standing on gray rock on see
Image Credit: Cesar Cede’

Venezuela is home to many pristine islands and beaches filled with white sand and turquoise waters. However, Venezuela remains one of the only countries which requires a visa and approval (for Singaporeans) from the embassy before you can travel there. The cost of a visa is also not fixed and will only be determined through during processing.

Despite its beautiful coasts and waters, it is advised not to travel there at least for now. The unstable political atmosphere has led to many riots, instances of petty crime and violence.

  • Where to apply: Venezuelan Embassy in Singapore at 163 Penang Rd
  • Application Fee: Varies

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