How to: Apply for Tourist Visa to Armenia for Philippine Passport Holders

Philippine passport holders are required to get a visa to Armenia. However, Armenia only requires either visa on arrival (VOA) or electronic visa (e-visa), so it means that there are less requirements and preparations needed.

Filipinos are allowed to stay short-term for 21 days in Armenia, which is valid for 90 days within the period of your requested date of entry to Armenia. I decided to get an e-visa so that I can plan my trip ahead. It's very easy since it's done online. This article discusses my personal experience on how I got this type of visa.

WHAT YOU NEED TO PREPARE

- Valid passport. Make sure it’s valid for at least 6 months. Scan the bio page of your passport.
- Passport size photo. Sample of valid photos here.
- Date of arrival in Armenia. This information is important to decide early on as it will dictate the validation period of your visa.
- Proof of accommodation. Take a screenshot of it. Note the address and contact number.
Tip: It’s better to reserve an accommodation first before purchasing it. Go to booking.com and choose an accommodation that doesn’t charge any amount for reservation and early cancellation.

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
1. Go to Armenia’s E-VISA Issuance System website (https://www.evisa.mfa.am/) and click APPLY FOR E-VISA.


2. Enter your citizenship, ID type, email, and the captcha. Then, click Next.


Once you click next, this page above will appear.

3. Check your email. Click CONFIRM to proceed to the next steps.

4. Fill in the Passport information, Personal data, Contact information at place of residence, and Contact information in Armenia. For your guide, check the screenshot above.

5. Attach your passport size photo, bio page photo of your passport, and proof of accommodation.

6. Next, choose TOURISM/VISIT RELATIVE/FRIEND, tick Short-term (21 days), and enter your date of arrival in Armenia. Once completed, the visa type, price, validity dates, and number of days will auto-populate. Then, click Next.

7. Double check the summary of application, read through the Terms and Condition, and then tick it. Once done, click Proceed to Payment. 


8. Pay the visa fee of 6 USD (+ 1 USD commission fee) by entering your credit card or Paypal details. An e-receipt will be issued via email.

9. Check your email to get the Application ID, which serves as reference when checking the status of the E-Visa.
* To check the status of application, go to the main page and click CHECK APPLICATION STATUS. 

10. Wait for at least 3 working days. Once approved, an email will be sent with the link to DOWNLOAD E-VISA. Make sure to print this to present to the Armenian immigration in the airport.

Informative personal experience:
I applied on a Tuesday. Since it says that processing time takes 3 working days, I waited until Friday, but the visa status was still pending. Honestly, I got a bit paranoid, thinking that they might have found the bio page of my passport unclear (because I just used an iPhone camera! So avoid doing this!). With that, I decided to email them (visa@mfa.am) attaching a clearer copy of the bio page and re-attaching the other documents.

When someone replied on Monday, I was glad to know that my visa is ready. Also, upon checking the website, the status had changed to approved. So even though the visa approval was one working day late, I'd definitely take it and I'm very thankful! Hello Armenia!



When in Morocco: Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca

Visiting the Hassan II Mosque highlighted my Casablanca stopover. Seated next to the Atlantic Ocean, it's a gigantic Islamic and religious structure that's visible almost everywhere in downtown. This mosque is actually the largest in Morocco and the third in the world, which can house up to more than 100,000 worshipers with its 9-hectare complex.
After an insane 24-hour flight from Manila, I slept it off and excitingly went around Casablanca on the next day. Located west of Morocco, Casablanca is its biggest city and known as the hub of international and domestic flights. Though Casablanca honestly lacks diversity for tourists, Hassan II Mosque is one of the few places to check out there.
The mosque was named after King Hassan II, Morocco's king who reigned from 1961-1999. Though under his name, it was actually built for his father Mohammed V as his grand mausoleum. Since meant for a late sultan, the mosque took 5 years to finish with its detailed construction and design.
Majority of this mosque is made up of granite especially the flooring. Some visitors (even non-Muslims) freely walk around barefoot since the floor tiles are smooth and cool to the feet.

The wall carvings and paintings are inspired by traditional Moroccan design combined with Arabic and Moorish art, a type that's very keen to colorful and patterned designs.
Unlike other mosques highlighted by huge domes, the Hassan II Mosque is drawn up by this tall minaret standing as high as 200 meters. This minaret, which was intently built facing Mecca, is considered as one of the tallest minarets in the world.
Entering the mosque runs on a schedule under a guided tour for MAD 120 (USD 13). It's a huge area, so moving around takes at least an hour or more. Dress code is advised for women, which must not expose the knees and shoulders. It's a religious building, so visitors are expected to pay respect.
To those on a budget, touring outside the mosque is free. I also find the exterior interesting.

How to get there
There’s no nearby mass transport in Hassan II Mosque, so most people either ride a petite taxi (red metered taxi) or take a 20-minute walk from the nearest train station called Casa Port. Note that Casa Port is also the last or end station coming from Mohammed V International Airport.



When in Morocco: Chefchaouen

I find it hard to compare Chefchaouen with other places in the world that I’ve visited. It's so unique it created a name of its own.

Chefchaouen is a small town tucked in northern tip of Morocco. It's a land that borders Spain towards Europe, a geographic state that makes Arab-Spanish culture dominant in the area. It's generally described as a peaceful, quiet, and laid-back town, but not too remote to be away from modern living. Traveling around is all about slow pace.

It’s blue everywhere
Also known as the Blue Pearl, what truly sets Chefchaouen apart is that all houses and buildings here are painted in blue, a tradition that dates back 15th century.
They say that houses were originally painted in white before. However, during the Spanish inquisition in 1492, the Jewish people in Spain started fleeing to the neighboring countries, which includes Morocco.

For the Jews, the color blue represents heaven. They believe that painting their houses blue mirrors the skies and makes them closer to heaven.

The vibrant shades of blue are so pleasing to the eyes, a sight that invites tourists worldwide particularly coming from Europe, China, and Japan.

The blue walls blend well with other colors, thus making it a colorful mix. This is a set of spices which Morocco is well-known for.

Rich in nature
Chefchaouen is blessed with natural resources. For one, it's wrapped by the Rif Mountain, which not only gives a stunning view but also a natural cool breeze perfect during summertime that runs from June to August.
The Ras el’Ma River is also very accessible, a natural water not too far from the center where most hostels, shops, and restaurants are at. A common sight in the area includes local women who regularly wash clothes in the morning using the water from the river.
Several orange vendors are also in the area as Chefchaouen is abundant in orange trees. Actually, Morocco is in the top 15 importers of oranges in the world. A glass of freshly squeezed oranges can be bought at MAD 7 (less than USD 1) per glass.


One of the common activities in Chefchaouen is a 45-minute trek to the hill going to the Spanish Mosque, a small abandoned structure that was never used but has become an attraction since the view from there offers a picturesque bird's eye view of the town.

Sound of prayers is normal
Majority of Moroccans are Muslims. With this, they pray 5 times a day, a practice that’s part of their religion Islam. The imam usually leads the prayer recited in Arabic, and it's usually amplified through a megaphone.
The biggest mosque in the area is this Grand Mosque located at the town’s center seated beside an old castle called Al Kasaba and a plaza called Place Outa Al Hammam.

Since Chefchaouen is a small town and mosques are nearby, the praying sound resonates all over the place. The first prayer usually starts before sunrise and possibly get awakened by it early in the morning. It may be something foreign to non-Muslims, but is part of everyday life not only in Chefchaouen, but in entire Morocco.

Cat-friendly town
Any cat lover may find Chefchoauen a place like home. The cats can be seen lying on the cobblestone paths. They seem safe to play with and are very at ease with tourists.
As you can see, the cats know how to blend with the environment. Some have gone too far that they camouflage well already!

Asked around, a typical household owns around 3-4 cats. There’s no exact story as to how the cat tradition started, but one thing’s for sure: the people in Chefchaouen are truly cat lovers.

Bread is life
A big part of every Moroccan meal is bread made up of durum wheat, a component that makes the texture of their bread harder and darker in color. In Chefchaouen, breakfasts are usually limited to bread as the locals themselves eat bread too with yogurt, Moroccan tea (loose green tea leaves with mint) and coffee.
Come lunch and dinner, though main dishes are already available such as couscous and tagine, bread is still on the side. The bread is usually eaten with olives and different spicy spreads in small portions.

How to get there
A common way to get to Chefchaouen is to take the bus. In Casablanca Morocco, there’s a daily bus trip (via CTM Bus) to Chefchaouen departing at 1:30PM. However, note that the bus schedule is only ONCE A DAY so It’s advisable to get bus tickets in advance. The trip going back to Casablanca is also once a day but departs on an earlier schedule at 7:00AM.
Ticket costs MAD 150 (USD 19). In Casablanca, it's sold at the CTM Bus Station at Rue L’Africain, a 10-minute walk from Casa Port train station and a 3-minute walk from Central Market tram station. Meanwhile, the bus station in Chefchaouen (called Gare Routière) is 5 minutes away from the plaza. It can be easily accessed by petit taxi for MAD 20 (USD 2).
Casablanca to Chefchaouen is approximately 6-7 hours with a few stopovers for snacks and toilet usage. The road to Chefchaouen is generally safe, and it’s a smooth ride passing by a few cities including Rabat and Ouezanne.



Viajera Vlog: Moroccan Buffet Reaction Video

While in Casablanca, Morocco, the hotel’s cheaper breakfast buffet kind of invited me to supposedly try different Moroccan food. However, it sadly ended up just eating too much bread and cookies. It might not have been the best Moroccan buffet, but it was a funny moment. Watch the vlog below:




Language for Travel: Enhance your Social Skillset

There is no doubt that learning languages helps you to travel. You will truly experience an enriching time away from home by being able to speak and interact with local people.

It is impossible to truly understand a city or a location without being part of daily life. This means walking during the hustle and bustle of the daily commute, getting down to the local market and of course, speaking to the local people. The recommendations of those that have been in an area for years, or even decades, can prove invaluable to the tourist who is armed only with printouts of google results and the local tourist handbook. Individual testimony can give you something that is impossible to find from other sources.

By speaking the language of the locals, you will potentially be safer when you visit a city.

Misunderstandings can result in nasty consequences and if you can communicate with difficult people or those who are not being welcoming to tourists, you will be far more respected and even treated better.

Just think about it.

You are representing your own culture when you go abroad. If you are able to speak to the locals and give a good account of yourself, they may well go away thinking about your country in a favourable light. This could also help to dispel misplaced prejudice against certain cultures, bringing the world just a little closer together.

You have to put yourself in the shoes of the locals.

You are visiting their home, partaking in their way of life and thus you should respect their customs. Nobody wants to be the brash tourist shouting at locals in their own language, pointing and gesturing frantically. Instead, be the tourist who makes a connection with the shop owner. Be the tourist that finds out about the 100 year old building in which they are standing.
One essential part of any trip is the frequenting of eating and drinking establishments when visiting a new city or a new culture.

The cuisine of a place is sometimes just as relevant to the local identity of a settlement as the old church or the market square. In this sense, it is crucial to have the language so that you can order properly and get exactly what you want. If you have a preference for the way your food is cooked or if you require a certain special side dish, you have nobody to blame but yourself if you are unable to speak the language.

So before you travel, have a go at learning a new language. Of course, native speakers are best placed to help you and the internet can be your best friend here.

Thanks to the new technology and the rise of the digital age, there are language websites offering all kinds of tutoring and instruction to language students. These websites cater to different  price ranges and all levels, so you will be able to find the right setting to start learning or improve your knowledge of a language. You will not only learn a language, but you will make connections with real people from around the world.

VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) technology such as Skype means that all you need is an internet connection and the motivation to learn something new. It’s a totally intriguing and exciting experience!

Ultimately, whilst learning a language requires time and patience, the process is certainly worth the final result. Language provides the keys to open doors into worlds that you never knew existed. Adding a language to your skillset has no downside. If you put in the hours, you are guaranteed a new skill that, when nurtured, will last you a lifetime.


-------------------


With Lingostan, you can learn and speak languages with native speakers! Plus, when you sign up for free and become a member of the community, you'll received 10 USD and 3 free trial lessons as welcome gifts. Visit Lingostan.com now for more details.
Scroll To Top