If you are planning to travel, whether, for vacation or business, it is often necessary to have a visa. This article will address the types of visas available and how they are issued by each country.
The first type of visa is a “tourist” visa which allows you to visit one or more countries for tourism purposes, typically up to 90 days. It may be difficult to obtain this type of visa if your main reason for visiting is to work. Most countries require that you submit proof of your financial situation before they allow you to make an application for a tourist visa, especially if you are unemployed or retired. This kind of visa is usually “single entry” meaning you can not leave the country and re-enter on the same visa.
In many countries, visas are issued as stickers placed in your passport by an immigration official at the border or airport. In other cases, you will be given a visa form which you must fill out and return to a designated embassy within a certain time period.
The second type of visa is a “visitor” visa which allows you to visit one or more countries for business purposes. A visitor visa is often valid for multiple entries and, depending on the country, may allow up to a year in duration. An initial tourist visa may be converted into a visitor visa in some cases if it is determined that there were no violations of your stay or any criminal activity during your stay. In most cases, a visitor visa must be applied for from outside the country of intended residence, and you will be required to provide proof that you have your financial arrangements in order before the application is processed.
A work visa is typically valid for multiple entries and may last up to five years or more depending on what type of job you were hired to do and the rules set by individual countries. To obtain a work visa, an employment offer letter or contract from the company that plans to hire you is required. Depending on whether your employer is also arranging your accommodations, it may also be necessary to provide proof of your living arrangements as part of the application process. The immigration department often charges fees for processing work visas which can range from $100 to several thousand dollars depending on the location.
A student visa is required if you are enrolled in full-time study at a college or university and maybe valid for one to four years. You will need to provide proof that you have enough money available to pay your living expenses while studying as well as tuition and course fees. Proof of previous academic degrees may also be requested. If you plan to travel during your summer break, check with the foreign embassy of the country where you intend to study about whether or not they require a separate visa for vacation time.
A dependent visa is similar to a work visa except that it allows family members such as spouses and children, who were previously excluded from working, the opportunity to apply for their own work permit.
Also known as a “tourist on business visa” or “surfing visa”, this type of visa is often offered by certain countries in Asia to individuals who are not citizens of the target country but are willing to pay for the privilege to reside there for up to six months while participating in some form of recreational activity, typically surfing. The required fees can be quite high and usually do not include payment for food or accommodations, which must also be arranged directly with the hotel or hostel where you intend to stay. If you are thinking about staying longer than six months, it may be necessary to apply for a regular business visa instead.
A diplomatic visa is a visa that is commonly used by diplomats and government officials such as military officers and civilian contractors employed directly by foreign governments or international organizations such as the UN. The availability of a diplomatic visa is often dependent on your nationality and which country you are employed by if any. If a diplomatic visa is not available in your case, you may be able to apply for a “government official” visa instead.
If you are planning to travel abroad and know you need visas to enter where you will be travelling to, you can also consult immigration solicitors to find out more or to handle the visa process for you; by doing this, you will not need to worry about the process and can relax while it is taken care of.