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Show HN: IAvisa – Explore visa requirements worldwide (iavisa.com)
96 points by theurs 61 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 97 comments

Maybe the OP or the makers of this website don't know, but there is a definitive source of visa, passport, and transit permission info that the IATA already publishes to help airlines determine whether they should allow you on a flight. It's called Timatic.

It includes such detail as country of travel origin, country of passport issuance, nationality, duration of stay, country of transit, visa/papers held.

I would go to that source first than any other cobbled together fancy looking website that someone is hawking as a advertisement. And I don't know why someone would bother trying to duplicate Timatic by gathering their own info, which is guaranteed to be out of date. Honestly I don't even know how some small team could keep up with the 100x100 combinations of country/destination paperwork requirements.

It's found through the airline websites themselves, as they have to subscribe as a service, like: https://www.united.com/web/en-us/apps/vendors/default.aspx?i...

Edit: The OP's website is already so slow and low in info content, and Timatic while ugly, works. Why was this even a website worth posting about?

Fwiw even timatic is wrong. I visited your link and entered India and Turkey as departure and arrival for Indian nationals.

The system advised me to apply for an eVisa, however eligibility criteria for eVisas is exclusive to folks who have a valid EU Schengen visa. Someone who casually relied on the result without reading further would have missed this.

The bottom line is travel is expensive and visa rejections have long lasting consequences. It is foolish to rely on anything except the official immigration department website of the country in question, or an official third party who is appointed by the government.

I don't think it's fair to say TIMATIC is wrong in this instance - it does say visa required and eVisa is acceptable. It did not say the eVisa can be obtained by everyone.

Sure but what good is selective, technically correct information for someone who would generally use this as part of making their travel plans. If you are going to end up checking official sources anyway, then you are better off with them.

I hope more people carefully read your comment.

This stuff is important and changes at the whims of bureaucrats and politicians - you need to check this yourself on the destination countries website unless it is a known quantity.

ie Canadians can probably rely on their travel status to the US if they aren't seeing something as a top story on the news. Similarly EU citizens can probably rely on the UK.. oh wait a sec.. Check this shit for unreliable countries !! (like the UK)

The official websites are not always up to date.

Well, it probably is inaccurate. But this is for airline officials to rely on to admit you onto the flight. Not definitive admissibility criteria by the country.

Probably if you are in such a situation you will quickly find out on trying to apply that you are not eligible.

While the OP's website for example (to take current news) doesn't even have an entry for Hong Kong.

Apologies for negativity in my post. I did not realize that OP him/herself had made this website and might have been a first effort.

Still, I think my points are valid. Unless this is a personal hobby or tinkering effort, I would advise the OP to invest his/her time on something that is sustainable and not already covered at 10x the expertise by an existing service (in a relatively stable industry, more importantly).

The country content pages contain 6 lines that look like the OP wrote them personally. That is not something that smacks of reliability.

What some people call “negativity” is in my opinion concise and honest feedback.

Personally, when I see “show hn” posts, this is a signal that the OP is asking for feedback and often due to time constraints or one’s personal writing style, some folks interpret straight to the point feedback as “negative” when in reality it is generally based on the responder wanting to help.

The problem is that visa policy is so complex, unless you rely on an authoritative source like TIMATIC it's not going to be right, and that's going to cause people to not book trips they would have -- or worse, book, expecting to go, and have to cancel.

For instance, China. It says that for US citizens a visa is required. That's half true.

* There's TWOV (transit without visa)

* Transit Visa On Arrival where if you're connecting to a third country within 24-144 hours depending which city you're visiting you can get a transit visa when you get there that entitles you to visit just the city in which you landed but not leave. [1]

* Hainan has a 30-day visa waiver program if you apply through a travel agency. [2]

* Hainan has a 30-day visa on arrival program. [2]

* Hong Kong and Macau are 90 days visa on arrival.

In this kind of international diplomatic space, accuracy matters more than anything else.

[1] https://www.travelchinaguide.com/embassy/visa/free-72hour/

[2] https://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/hainan/visa-free...

Yes, Timatic (usually) doesn't go into that level of detail, though it does some detail AND you need to interpret it.

It will indicate Transit visa details if the country is indicated on the query as the transit country. If it's the destination then it will put the visitor requirements.

I did an example query to Hong Kong as a US citizen and Timatic returned the correct results (that the documentation you have is enough)

OP's website does not even have Hong Kong as a choice in the country/territory list.

You get an idea of how much work is required.

Your points are valid it's just the negativity is classic HN. I think this is partly due to HN design. When all you see is text and not the people writing them it is easy to be negative.

I agree on most of your points but just because there's a hard to use sub site on some airlines dealing with that doesn't mean there can't be an alternative. This site is probably not it based on the comments about the accuracy but there might be others available or coming in the future.

On top of that if people travel by train or other means it's not that obvious to look on the website of some airline.

Also it's someone sharing their site in a Show HN, constructive feedback (missing data, wrong information) would be helpful but "Why was this even a website worth posting about?" is not.

Literally there should NOT be a website like this, because even with slight misinformation, you can get in a lot of troubles: both financial and even more so safety wise if one of 10,000 info points on some tropical configuration of your citizenship, residency, passport type, stamps you have in your passport, plves you been, etc, will be not updated in time and you take it on its face value .

Furthermore, the owner does not and cannot give you any warranty whatsoever, even if this would be run on membership fees not advertising clicks. Im all for OP first website project and kudos for doing something beautiful and even more so getting it up on HN this high, but this site should not exist. Without this site there is more chances that someone who seeks this info will endup on legitimate site - hopefully government run or airline run, and not take this at face value and move on with packing their bags.

I mean, "this site should not exist" is being a little harsh, don't you think?

Yes misinformation is dangerous, but the author certainly could link to airline sites, the official government travel information websites for each country, and wikipedia and other resources. If you can't even think far enough ahead to come up with these constructive suggestions, then maybe you should try harder or just not comment.

> I mean, "this site should not exist" is being a little harsh, don't you think?

It's not overly harsh. When the cost of being wrong is this high, then this site (or any such site) should not be publicly available until it is reliable.

The World Wide Web sure ain't what it used to be. Let's have some internet content police so people don't accidentally hurt themselves. </s>

That is the plan! Also we are in the process of implementing api's for more accurate info

Timatic just expresses requirements.

There’s a big open space in « How to achieve those requirements ».

And Timatic mostly concerns itself with entry. The requirements to work is another big open space.

I don't think Timatic is foolproof either. It seems to work fine as long as the requirements are basic (have visa/duration of stay/visa on arrival) but it (or the people using it) seem to break down as soon you add any complexity.

I was travelling to a country which provided visa on arrival for 14 days, but my return ticket had a 1 month stay because I had a different ticket from that country to India after a week. Delta denied checking me in (took them more than an hour to solve the issue) at SFO and then Air France denied boarding me in Paris for my connection (took them 30 minutes to solve the issue).

I really don't see the why the negativity. While I agree that there's Timatic, there is nothing wrong in making something else that serves the same purpose. By your logic, every duplicate service in this world can be questioned.

> It includes such detail as country of travel origin, country of passport issuance, nationality, duration of stay, country of transit, visa/papers held.

Would have been nice had you commented this as a suggestion without that bashful tone, just my 2 cents.

Where can a person check in that website all the paperwork and procedures that one has to undergo to travel from country A to B ?

Do I have to subscribe and make an account just for that simple information?

Yep, also OP's site doesn't seem to hold correct information. For example Belarus->Argentina visa is not required.

Someday IATA will buy information as a service from them. HN is not for just latest biggest news, but also about when someone try something.

Where did you get these phone numbers (for the United States)?

> Police - 999

> Ambulance - 997

> Fire - 998

> Traffic police - 993 Mobile phones - 112 or 911

> Non-emergency ambulance - 1777

> Police hotline - 1800 255 0000

> Traffic police - 6547 0000

None of them seem to be correct, except for 911. In the United States, 911 is the same for police, ambulance, fire, and "traffic police". Also, non-emergency ambulance/police are all varied depending on your current location and are usually administered by the county/city/district that you're in. There is no global number (that I'm aware of) that is the nearest non-emergency police/ambulance line.

I will submit my user story as an attempt to offer feedback on the site. I live in the United States and am traveling to Mexico next week.

I put in from: United States to: Mexico. The information I received begins with "Visa Required: Yes". This is news to me, as I have traveled in this manner several times and never had a visa. I don't have a visa for next week, and so I am now worried that I won't be allowed in to Mexico.

The next text presented is "Mexico city is the capital city of Mexico. Mexico is found in North america. Citizens from United states need visa to enter Mexico. In the Mexico country page you can find more tourist information about infrastructure and attractions." I do not think this text was written by someone who is a native English speaker. Some tells include not following English rules for proper noun capitalization, missing articles, and weird diction. This makes me less likely to trust the information. Is that fair? Maybe not. But it suggests the page has not been copy-edited or checked for accuracy. This text also reiterates that I would need a visa.

Then the next text says: "If you have a valid Canada, Japan, Schengen, United Kingdom, United States visa or are permanent resident you do not need visa to enter Mexico for up to 180 days." I do not understand what is being claimed here. If I have a US visa for Japan I can enter Mexico without a Mexican visa? I think what it's trying to say is if I carry a Canadian, Japanese, Schengen (EU), United Kingdom, or United States passport (not the same as a visa), I can enter Mexico without a visa for fewer than 180 days. But this is in contrast to the above text and header which claim I do need a visa.

Finally, I clicked on the Mexico page and saw that although it was missing a lot of essential information, it did tell me it's OK to possess marijuana in Mexico. A brief Google search does not make it clear if this information is correct -- I see a lot of information about how they're going to legalize but haven't yet. I am extremely concerned that this website is making a claim that, if incorrect, could get someone in serious legal trouble.

I then clicked "Visa information". This gave me a list of countries that require and do not require a visa to access Mexico. The list of countries that do not require a visa is enormous, far larger than the number above. What explains the inconsistency between the lists above and the list I'm looking at here? Even more baffling, immediately below this list of countries is text repeating the claim above that people with Canada, Japan, Schengen (EU), UK, or US "visas" do not need a visa for Mexico.

I am not trying to be negative. I am simply sharing my experience trying to use this website for a very simple use case as an actual user. After using the website, I am more unclear and concerned about my upcoming travel than I was when I started, and now I need to seek out external information to find out what is true and what is false.

The part about people with a visa for Canada, Japan, Schengen area, UK or US is just as the website says. It is not about passports. A person from a third country who holds one of above visas can enter Mexico without a Mexican visa.


Okay, so the correct information is: Most countries can travel to Mexico without a visa (for tourism for 180 days or less). Separately, nationals of other countries which would require a visa can travel to Mexico without a visa if they have a visa or non-citizenship permanent residence from the CA/JPN/EU/UK/US.

Thanks, I appreciate the clarification.

Thank you so much for the feedback. We will fix this ASAP!

It says "Amsterdam is the mail city of Netherlands" and "Currency: Dutch guilder".

I wouldn't trust a website with such low quality text and information, especially not for advice on legal/travel documents.

Reads like satire! Now I'm genuinely sad the dutch currency isn't the Dutch Guilder...

It used to be, pre Euro :)

TIL! Thanks

I don't know if the site uses "mail city" as an equivalent to capital, because it also says "Hanoi is the mail city of Vietnam" (it's the capital but the largest city is Saigon/Ho Chi Minh, so it's debatable which one is the "main" one).

It's also full of other typos and badly formatted text, which I think is due to the data coming from a quick scrape of a source of dubious quality.

wow thanks I don't know how I missed that, will fix it asap!!!

Also for Portugal...

Your data is wrong. I put in from "United States" to "Israel", and it said a Visa is required, which is not true unless the visit is longer than 3 months.

Also, the very first time I used it, I typed in "USA" to "Germany", and it treated the unknown string "USA" as a country, and told me a visa was required, which is also not true.

I think this is a very though subject and cannot be treated so easily.

Visa policies might be very different from one country to another, updated quiet often etc.

What you believe to be the source of truth on the internet might not be the actual truth. For personal reasons I recently had to know whether or not a Visa was required for a personal short travel to Russia for a Mauritius citizen. Various information can be found on the internet, some says yes, some says no. Your website says a visa is required. However, a visa is not required in this case.

It's very tricky to get the correct information, always up to date, and your website can lead to people having issues entering a country.

Furthermore this website is dangerous. People travelling you thailand are advised by their embassies to bring 20,000 baht. It’s often not checked on arrival but people have been thrown in jail cells and deported because of this.

Visa information is no joke. You should always get it from the local embassy website.

Very misleading b/c layman may think just b/c you're travelling from A to B, you're required/not required to have visa, which is not true, it depends on the passport you hold regardless of your origin of your trip. For example, if you are travelling from Canada to the US, the site says you don't need a visa, but in fact if you do not hold Canadian passport, you may need to apply for ESTA.

Easy fix: Change "Travel from" to "Citizenship" or "Passport Origin" on the UI.

The issue is that it also depends on the place of departure.

For example, a Chinese person wanting to go to Taiwan from china will need 2 visas: one from the chinese gov., and the other from taiwan authorities.

But when the same person leaves from another country, only the visa delivered by taiwan is needed.

Visas are complicated

This so needs a 100 myths developers believe about visas, like has been done for dates and strings etc.

Thanks for the info, I thought the process of A: home country, B: destination country.

If you go on the site and check, going from the US to Canada the meta title is: Canada visa for United States citizens but I get your point, will make it more obvious. Thanks, good feedback!

There's a bunch of special cases along these lines - As an Indian citizen, I'd normally need a visa to visit Mexico / Costa Rica but I live in the US on a work visa which means that the visa requirement is waived.

This is just one citizenship, country pair and I assume there's a lot more.

Dutch citizens usually don't need a visa to travel to the US (they have to get an ESTA visa waiver instead), but if they have traveled to certain countries (in my case Sudan) they do need a visa.

The rules are more complex than can be answered based on a simple citizenship+destination question.

Small usability tip: When you specify your source/destination country and submit the form, the countries you entered should ideally still be in the form on the results page.

As it is, I'm from United Kingdom, checking out a country to go to, I see and read the visa information. If I want to check out another country, I have to enter I'm from United Kingdom again.

And I always feel the question of "what am I looking at?" is best answered by looking at the form. I know the information is displayed in other places on the results page, but still, the form is the part of the page the user has already interacted with, and are familiar with.

Wife is from Philippines living in Denmark and we had to go to Jordan, Aqaba. Your page will say I need Visa which is true but it’s given on arrival because of the entry point. Wife is another matter, she has to get it in the Jordanian embassy in Berlin as Denmark only has a consulate. The Jordanian webpage information has not been updated for ages and is wrong. The embassy is somewhat helpful but it took me several calls to figure out how to do the return postage for the passport as danish mail had discontinued this product a year earlier. Also first thing wife will usually do is google visa <country> and end up on a advertisement with a high premium on the visa and a crazy fee when you realize the mistake and try and cancel. Would be great with a place to get a quick overview of the normal price and a place to comment and discuss the challenges you sometimes run into.

Exactly - visas aren't quite as black and white as the website appears to make out. There's visa on arrival vs having to go to an embassy/consulate (and there might not be one in the country you're currently in - it's not impossible to get yourself into a state where you have to travel back to your home country to be able to apply for a visa to your intended destination). Plus certain visas actually give you right of entry to other countries (for example if you have a US visa, you can enter nearly forty countries visa-free, some with caveats).

> visas aren't quite as black and white as the website appears to make out

There are many of these sites and none of them ever has information that can actually be trusted.

The truth is that entry requirements are much too complicated to treat with a single uniform method, and the only reliable way to know what you have to do is to visit both your country's foreign ministry website and the website of the foreign country's consulate in your own country. Maybe the foreign country's foreign ministry website as well.

And even then, for some countries with somewhat shaky administration and rules you still won't be sure of what you need.

I wouldn't recommend this website for visa information. For example, I put in "United States" -> "Peru" - it says visa is required and when clicked on more information it takes me to a page where it lists which countries require visa for traveling to Peru. In that list among the visa required countries, it shows "united states" and in no visa required section it has "united statesa"

Yet another issue: Hong Kong and Taiwan are not listed as options.

No matter what your political views are about the situation, the fact is that they have separate visa rules from mainland China and should definitely be listed.

For anyone who is actually looking for this information, here is a site that Airlines use:


You can input your Origin and Destination, Passport info and select one way or round trip/transit etc and see the relevant information, up to date.

Cool site. However, I found that it seems to search/replace "us" with "United States" in certain places where it's not expected, e.g.:

"A bUnited Statesiness visa requires an invitation from a company..."

Otherwise known as the "clbuttic mistake":


Incipit of the "About us" page:

>We warmly welcome you, our dear client! If you read these lines it means you have a concern, or you just want to know who is behind this site. And we want to know so let’s get together!

(follows a lenghty explanation of how to use Iavisa and on what is a Visa)

So they don't even know who they are?

Yet in the "Terms" page there is this little pearl of wisdom:

>Thirdly, it’s time to talk about protecting your data, a very special topic nowadays. It is your responsibility to keep your phone and access to the web app secure. It is not recomended to jailbreak or even root your phone, which is the process of the removing software restrictions and limitations imposed by the official operating system to your device. If you do this, it could make your phone vulnerable to malicious, viruses and malware programs, compromise your phone’s security features and it could meant that the web app won’t work properly or at all.

Alternative: https://visalist.io/

I clicked on this to use it for the exact use case I posted elsewhere in the thread (US to Mexico). The website loaded faster -- maybe because it is faster, maybe because no HN hug of death -- but more importantly, the information was presented in a clearer and more efficient way. I especially appreciated that the data included "Visa free", "Visa on arrival", and "E-Visa", since these are not the same thing and the distinction is useful. I've been to a number of visa on arrival countries and typically all I need to remember is to have a payment method to pay the entry fee, versus "Visa required", which would imply needing to go to a consulate or embassy in advance.

Yeah, that's by @1hakr. He made a Show HN about 8 months ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18640880

Since then, he went on to launch a crypto trading tool that is making him $2k/month: https://www.indiehackers.com/interview/how-i-built-a-cryptoc...

Wow. That is impressive!

Was going to post the same, this iavisa.com looks very oldish compared to that shiny alternative. I'd recommend using it for sure!!

checked out aivisa didnt like it much, doesnt offer much info and the ux is outdated. doesnt stand a chance compared to https://visalist.io/

The site seems to aim at providing a quick and easy way of accessing this information that is lower reliability than say, going and looking for each bit of info yourself.

So I see the value.

What I think you need to clarify and improve on is: 1- Making sure people understand that your info might not be perfect/100% accurate. 2- Provide links for people to verify any data points that are of particular value to them.

For example, on the US, there is a point about weed with the following answer: "In some states you can, in other it is illegal."

To be clear: even in states where it is legal, the Federal government considers it illegal, and your use of the substance even in a legal state will disqualify you from Visa eligibility. If you buy it and then lie, you are also breaking your Visa eligibility.

So, while your offhanded answer can be great for gathering a birds eye view on a lot of data points, users can't really place too much trust in the completeness or accuracy of any one answer.

Explaining this and linking to other sites for more in-depth info, like in the case of the USA VisaJourney.com - would great improve the usefulness of your site.

Basically, don't try to be an authority when you are not. Instead provide something that is missing; a better connection of high level, low accuracy info.

As it stands, I feel your site is more a danger to others for relying on it, than it could provide benefit.

What's your source of truth? Ideally it would be Timatic.

Also a good disclaimer to add is that this concerns visa for short visits.

I like how Australia is located in the continent of Ocean

There's some search/replace issues in the text. For example, it seems 'us' was replaced with 'United States' which results in India's visa info having this sort of text: "You mUnited Statest apply at least 4 days".

Your copy could use work:


> In order to United Statese

A good, friendly site for this info is much needed. But, as many have pointed out, this is a particularly tough problem to solve as the source of info is itself unreliable.

I checked India to eSwatini and was not surprised to find that the country was still listed with its old name, Swaziland. The visa situation for this pair is complex with a visa preapproval that's needed and a visa to be obtained in eSwatini not at the border but at an office in the city (which you are allowed to go to). And, naturally, none of this is documented anywhere.

First search and already wrong. I, as a Pole, don't need a visa for Malaysia. How do I know? I entered the country just a few months before without any problems.

I feel compelled to point out that, with respect, all you really know is what the situation was at the time you entered. Not only are visa/entry requirements complex, they are also fluid - adding to the chorus of reasons why this is not a subject that cannot be approached lightly. There really is no such thing as an MVP when it comes to what is essentially legal advice. You're either accurate or you're dangerously wrong IMO.

what's your data source? if it's not timatic, how do you guarantee it's accuracy? or is accuracy not this "product"'s main concern?

I've collected the information from various websites including wikipedia.

It’s going to be hard work to build something reliable about the need for visa or not. For me just linking to the relevant government website and other contact information would be useful. And possible a way to comment.

Info about avoiding those unofficial visa sites would also help a lot of people.

I wouldn't ever trust information from Wikipedia on something as important as visas. That you would provide this information as even remotely authoritative on your website is a huge red flag.

How are you planning to keep it up to date ?

I would never, ever, ever trust a third party for visa requirements.

A product like this is conceptually flawed, because it is defeated by better judgement.

The title of the post says "explore visa requirements". So I go to the site, select "travel from USA to France" and hit the button. The only thing I see about visa requirements is "Visa Required: Yes". Nothing else. Not much to explore. The fact that a US citizen does not need a visa to travel to any Schengen country is besides the point.

Can’t use their contact form - it’s just not working, so posting it here:

Hey there,

Tested your website - putting travel from Ukraine to Switzerland and Germany and your website says visa required, however it is not for 90 days for Ukrainian citizens holders of the biometric passport. Please update.

Also your website is really slow. Let me know, if you need hints on optimization for loading.


IATA has a website, I am not sure what additional service from the new service https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/IN-India-passport-visa-heal...

Interesting overview of requirements.

I use https://www.viselio.com/. They take it a step further and offer a fully automated visa application form. Just enter the country you want to travel to and they take care of the visa.

In addition to the many problems pointed out by others:

1. When I click on a country name, I see country information and have to click on a tab to see visa information. Poor user experience.

2. The "visa required" list for a country is not sorted alphabetically. It's just an unusable mess, really.

On the US page, it says they drive on the left when they actually drive on the right. https://iavisa.com/united-states/

Maybe it means the side of the car the driver sits on?

Edit: it doesn't. Just incorrect.

Uh, it says people drive on the left side in the United States. Also, there's some weird caching artifact. When I repeat the search for a different pair of countries, it takes me back to the results of my previous search

Nice overview.

I use https://www.viselio.com. They take it a step further and offer a fully automated visa application form.

Needs more information. Also, needs to understand the many nicknames/aliases countries have, e.g., US, "U.S.", "America", "England"...

It doesn't look correct to me. According to your website "no visa required" for Americans include only "american territories bermuda canada".

Low-priority, but a lot of the text needs to be broken into paragraphs so it's not just giant oil spills of text.

Why there isn't Taiwan(R.O.C) in the country list? I can't find it even in the web page source code.

I like how the social media logos just go to the website front pages. If you ever need a link to twitter.com...

Cool website, however, I really dislike the name. Doesn't make much sense to me.

Data pretty badly wrong. Finnish currency was correct maybe 20 years ago.

> Andorra la vella is the mail city of Andorra.

Erm... :)

nice project. the font makes it a bit hard to read imo tho.

Thanks for the info, what font do you suggest I should use?

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