Before boarding that plane, make sure you’re legally able to enter your destination!
A visa is an official document allowing an individual to legally enter a foreign country and is commonly glued or stamped into a passport. There are several different types of visas, such as a student or work visa, each allowing different rights in the host country.
If your home country has a visa agreement with the country you wish to visit, you will likely not need to apply for a visa.
Each country has different fees for obtaining a visa and varying visa processing times.
Travel visas allow a person to enter a foreign country for leisure and touristic purposes only and stay for a predetermined amount of time. Some countries allow tourists to stay for 30 days, while others allow a stay of 90 or 180 days.
These visas do not entitle the holder to work or engage in any business activities in the host country.
When filing out your visa application, you may be asked to show certain information such as hotel addresses, travel insurance, airplane tickets, proof of financial support during your trip and a passport photocopy.
Applicants may be able to book an appointment to submit their passports and visa applications in person at an embassy or submit them by post.
An electronic visa is a digital visa stored in a database and linked to the individual’s passport, instead of being glued or stamped.
Applications for eVisas are typically done over the internet. The applicant will receive a paper document that must be printed off an shown at passport control.
When looking for visa applications online, start at the embassy or consulate website for the nation you’re visiting and you should be able to find visa application forms online to fill out.
Visas upon arrival
The country you travel to might allow visas upon arrival, which means you will need to fill out a visa form, and may need to pay fees, at border control. It’s advised to check entry requirements with the country’s embassy as you may need to provide a passport-sized photo.
Things to know:
Numerous countries require a tourist visa as a condition of entry. If you arrive at the airport without one, you could be refused entry.
Always check country visa requirements and make sure you have the correct documentation before travelling.
Sometimes, there are services that offer a faster visa application process, such as 1-3 working days, but you will be charged more.
Contact a country’s embassy if you need assistance. Embassies offer visa application services and up-to-date information.
You may be requested to submit to a visa interview by the country you intend to visit. The visa officer may ask you questions such as if you have a criminal record, why you’re visiting the country and if you’re currently employed.
The Schengen zone comprises 26 countries in the EU enabling a visitor to enter one Schengen country and then travel freely throughout the rest of the zone. Member states are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Passport Index: to see if you need a visa.