Potential visitors to the United States have been stymied by an ongoing computer glitch that prevents officials from making visas and conducting security checks.
An average of 50,000 applications a day have reportedly been piling up since June 8, with the visa system not expected to be restored till next week.
Fortunately, Singaporeans were largely unaffected – those on business or tourism for less than 90 days do not need one in the US as they are allowed to travel under the country’s Visa Waiver Program.
The Singapore passport, in fact, is one of the most widely accepted in the world, offering unrestricted access to 170 countries (out of 219). It was also ranked fifth – alongside New Zealand and Switzerland – in last year’s annual global ranking based on freedom of travel.
Here are some notable countries, however, where Singaporeans still need a visa.
A visa application must be submitted no fewer than three business days before a traveller’s date of arrival to this landlocked Eastern European country.
It is then issued on arrival at Minsk International Airport. Seventeen countries – with varying periods of stay – enjoy visa-free entry.
The world’s most reclusive country, nestled in the Himalayas, grants unfettered access only to visitors from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives.
Singaporeans require a valid visa and must also book their holiday through a Bhutanese tour operator, who will make the necessary arrangements.
Only citizens from Bhutan, the Maldives and Nepal are exempted from visa requirements.
Those travelling to India on holiday must obtain an e-Tourist Visa (introduced last year), which is valid for 30 days. An application must be made at least four days before the date of arrival.
The island country near the equator in the Pacific Ocean, which has a population of over 60,000 spread out over more than 1,000 islands, is open only to the US and two other island nations – Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Besides the usual supporting documents, an applicant’s letter stating the purpose and duration of visit, a police record and a health clearance (both dated within the last three months) certifying that a person is free from HIV and Aids are required.
Citizens from six South-east Asian countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) have visa-free access up to 14 days.
Singaporeans will need a visa for travel to the country. An eVisa system solely for tourism was launched last September. Singaporeans with a visa are allowed a 28-day stay but arrival must be via the airports in Mandalay, Naypyitaw or Yangon.
Paraguay & Venezuela
Both South American countries have strict visa policies. Venezuela, for instance, requires visitors to present proof that they have enough money to last during their stay, and documents are also needed to show the traveller’s next destination.
As there is no Paraguayan embassy in Singapore, those wishing to visit the country will need to contact the nearest embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, for more information on how to apply for one.
If you are not a citizen of a country belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and UAE), you need a visa.
The country is a popular destination for Singaporean Muslim pilgrims, who must register and apply for a separate visa through the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) when performing the annual Haj to Mecca. A new visa centre at Anson Road was set up last year to expedite the application process. Singapore’s official Haj quota is 680.