Santa: The Ultimate Immigration Expert!

Nikki Martin, December 14, 2018

Back By Popular Demand

In last years’ Christmas immigration blog ‘Santa’s Visa Situation’, Alchemy focused on the immigration practicalities of Santa’s journey throughout the EU, Canada, US, Russia and The Middle East: 

This year we are looking at some of Santa’s other regular delivery destinations....


It is possible for Santa to visit Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa, this is known as a visa exemption. If you’re using the 30-day visa exemption, you can only enter Thailand through a land border twice per calendar year. It seems that the Thai authorities make a kindly exception for Santa, who regularly flies in by sleigh. For the rest of us, a visa is needed (in advance of travelling) to enter Thailand on a more frequent basis.


Santa likely makes his way into Australia as a tourist, obtaining ETA (Electronic Travel Authority). This provides authorisation to enter Australia and is electronically linked to Santa’s well-used passport. To save hassle, Santa probably has an ePassport, dropping by one of Australia’s airports to scan his passport on one of the SmartGates, without worrying about any paperwork.

On arrival Santa may be asked to provide evidence of funds to support his visit (I wonder if chocolate coins count?) and a return or onward ticket, which wouldn’t be hard for the Claus’ to provide, as Australia is one of the first deliveries on his delivery list, being one of the first countries to wake up on Christmas morning.

The ETA allows Santa to enter Australia as many times as he wants, for the duration of 12 months from the date the ETA is granted. Since Santa only visits once a year, he may want to make use of the ETA by popping back for a spot of sightseeing between deliveries. A maximum of 90 days is allowed per visit, within the 12 months. 6 months validity is required on the traveller’s passport on entry to the country.


Santa will need to submit an application form, along with his passport and supporting documents to a Chinese Visa Application Service Centre. Previously this could all be submitted by post, however, as of 1st November 2018, all visa applicants ages 14-70 need to attend a Biometric appointment at a Visa Application Centre to provide their fingerprints. Since some of the earliest records of Santa come from the fourth century, he may be exempt from this age requirement.

Travellers are also required to have 6 months validity on their passport – this is not an issue for Santa, who keeps his travel documents meticulously up-to-date as a requirement of his international profession. Applications can take up to 4 weeks to process (or longer if there are any errors with the application), so Santa will be taking care not to make any mistakes and provide all required, supporting documents. 

No Visa Required

Much to Santa’s relief, there are many counties such as; Singapore, Japan, South Africa, Mauritius, Morocco, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela that do not require a visa, allowing Santa to stay for up to 90 days. South Korea also does not require a visa for a period of 90 days, however, Santa must have an onward/return ticket (or evidence of a sleigh) to enter.

Delivery Pit Stops

Similarly, the Philippines, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Chilli, Columbia, Belarus and Vanuatu also do not require a visa for 90-day visits – which suits Santa’s delivery pit stops perfectly. There are also a few countries that permit a stay of 6 months without a visa, such as; New Zealand or Barbados– (just in case Santa feels like a longer stay).

The Ultimate Immigration Expert

Amongst immigration professionals, Santa is a well-renowned industry expert; regularly attending international conferences and events as a keynote speaker. In fact, many elves that have had the benefit of Santa’s mentorship presently operate in the guise of immigration lawyers and consultants worldwide. Thank you to Santa’s immigration professionals worldwide for sharing your skills and allowing the rest of us ‘muggles’ to travel worldwide. Merry Christmas!

Written by Nikki Martin - Senior Recruitment Resourcer - Immigration & Expatriate Services at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd.

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