What is a Travel Visa?

A travel visa is an authorization that permits a traveler to visit one certain country, usually in the form of a sticker document affixed to a passport page or a stamp also placed in one of a passport pages.

Each country has its own visa policy. To get a travel visa you must apply at the office of the immigration authorities of the country you are planning to visit.

In cases when your destination country does not have a consulate or embassy in your home country, you will have to obtain a travel visa at the embassy of another country which is authorized to issue visas for the country you will to visit.

Types of Visas

There are are many types of travel visas depending on your nationality, destination country, purpose of travel and even number of times you wish to visit that country.  You could obtain a visa to visit a certain country for the following purposes:

  • Tourism.
  • Transiting.
  • Visit family and friends.
  • Seek medical treatment.
  • Seek employment.
  • Attend business conferences.
  • Participate in a scientific research project.
  • Study at a university, college or other educational institution.
  • Join your spouse.
  • Invest or open your own business.

How to Apply for a Visa?

To apply for any visa in the world, you must go through the steps outlined below:

  1. Step I – Figure out what kind of visa you need

    It will be simple to find out what visa you need if you are going to visit a particular country for common reasons like medical purposes or for tourism. However, some countries, as the USA, have a lot of visa types. Some of these visa types have their own categories and subcategories.

    It is crucial to apply for the right visa in order to have a successful application. If you do everything correctly, but you apply under the wrong visa category, most probably, your application will automatically be rejected.

  2. Step II – Find out where you need to apply

    Some people think that they just need to submit the application at the embassy of the country they plan to visit and that’s it. However, things are a bit more complicated. Since in some states, the same country has more than one representation body (consulates), often each of these bodies have their jurisdiction area. You will have to apply at the body under the jurisdiction of which, the area where you live falls.

    On the other hand, embassies and consulates often outsource visa submission to the embassy of another country or other parties that offer visa services.

    Moreover, some countries have abolished internal borders, and a visitor can enter all of them with a single visa. These entities, as the Schengen Area, have their own rules on at which a person wishing to visit more than one country, should apply for the visa.

  3. Step III – Collect the required documents

    Start gathering the documents as given in this checklist. Obtain each of these documents, according to criteria set by the embassy. You will also have to fulfill the application form among others. Make sure that the information you give in this form complies with that in the other documents.
    In general, some of these documents may be:

    Application form.
    Valid passport or other travel document.
    Photo.
    Health Insurance.
    Proof of accommodation arrangements.
    Proof of travel arrangements.
    Evidence the applicant has the financial means to remain in that particular country throughout the intended period.
    Invitation letter.

  4. Step IV – Book an appointment

    Most of the embassies have made it possible for visa applicants to book an appointment online. However, in case such a service is not offered in your country or by the country you wish to visit, you will have to book it in person.

    Remember that each country has its own rules on when you can apply the earliest and the latest for a visa. Pay attention to these rules!

  5. Step V – Pay the visa fee

    Before attending your interview, you will have to pay a visa fee. Fees are paid either electronically, or in cash at the embassy / consulate / visa center. Keep the receipt, if you get one, in order to show it to the consular officer during your interview as a proof that you have paid the fee.

    Remember that visa fees vary from the visa type you are obtaining, and the country that issues it to you. If you do not pay the fee, your visa application will not be processed.

  6. Step VI – Attend the visa interview

    On the day of your appointment, show up at the embassy / consulate / visa center on time. Most of them suggest you to show there exactly 10 minutes prior to your interview. Try to be relaxed but serious. Wear something comfortable but a bit more formal.

    Most people advise the applicants to eat something prior to their interview, in order to avoid dizziness caused by nervousness and excitement. The interviews last from 10 to 30 minutes, during which the interviewer asks the applicant on the reason behind their purpose of traveling to their particular country. During the interview, the applicant handles in the documents as required.

Visa-Free Entry

If you are entitled to enter visa-free at your destination country, then all you need to with you carry is your passport. You will not need to apply for anything else prior to your trip, or upon arrival in this country.

Usually, visa-free regimes are applied only to the nationals of the benefiting countries traveling for business or tourism purposes.

Some of the main deliberations for a country to grant visa-free entry to another country are as follows:

  • Good diplomatic relationship.
  • Nationals of the beneficial country are unlikely to illegally overstay in the visa-free country.
  • The beneficial country is economically developed.

The Singaporean and Japanese passports are regarded as the strongest in 2019, offering their holders visa-free access to 189 world countries.

Germany, South Korea and Finland passport holders can visit 187 countries without a visa.

The UK passport and the US passport have visa-free access to 183 countries.

On the other hand, Afghanistan has the weakest passport in 2019, with only 25 countries granting them visa-free entry.