Single visa to boost ease of travel within Asia?

If plans by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are approved, tourists visiting its ten member nations will be able to travel freely between countries on a single visa.

In 2009, 65 million foreign tourists visited Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Brunei — and required a different visa (and visa fee) for each country they wanted to visit.

The process for acquiring the current visa also differs per nation — some allow a visa purchase upon arrival, others make you jump through hoops stacked with paperwork.

The plans are still in their early stages, and it will be up to each individual country to decide whether they’ll participate. Experts say it will take more than five years before the technical and political issues are resolved that could clear the way to true single-visa travel in Asia.

[Photo: Flickr/wuming-shi]