Check in advance if a visa is required, whether this can be obtained online, on arrival, or if it is necessary to apply to the relevant embassy. You may require the following when applying for a visa:
- A recent digital image scaled down to passport size. Many countries have a limitation in the file size that is acceptable;
- A scanned copy of the photopage of your passport (again be mindful of the file size);
- A means of online payment;
- Your host's details and a letter of invitation for the duration of your visit
If purchasing your visa in country take the correct amount of money required; this is often in US dollars.
Be aware of commercial organisations who purport to be the country's visa office; they will arrange a visa for you but often charge considerably more than the national visa application service if this is available online!
Sometimes a country may require you to have a Police Certificate either as part of your visa application, or as another piece of sumitted documentation. The certificate details whether or not you have a criminal record in the United Kingdom, impending prosecutions and offences that are under investigation and may also include foreign criminal history information where it has been disclosed to the UK. The certificate is only available in a paper form and there is a cost attached.
To apply for a Police Certificate go to the ACRO website.
If you are going to be working with children whilst out of the UK you may be required to have an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC). If you need to apply for this, go to the ICPC page on the ACRO site.
If you will be carrying out surgery during your visit, you may need a local work permit. Check this with your local host. If one is required he/she will need to arrange this for you, and this may require some or all of the following:
- a curriculum vitae;
- a letter of invitation stating your length of stay;
- a passport photograph;
- the photo page of your passport; and
- your certificate of registration, or a certificate of good standing, with the GMC
HIV, hepatitis-B & other blood-borne viruses
You may be asked for evidence of your HIV, hepatitis and yellow fever immunity status. For information about the prevalence of HIV and hepatitis-B in Africa, and what to do if you sustain a needestick injury or other exposure to contaminated body fluids, see the document prepared by Philip Thomas, on HIV and Blood-Borne Virus Infection.