Why do I need a visa?

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Anyone who visited a foreign country knows the drill. You have to have a passport and then get a visa. Without the visa you cannot enter another country. It is an official document or permit granted by the foreign country stating that you are permitted to stay in their country for the specified time printed on your visa document.


You may want to visit the country for tourism, leisure travel, business trip, study tour, medical assistance, or academic exchange program. Whatever the reason is, you should know that the most important document that you should be having apart from your passport is the visa.

 It was in the later part of the nineteenth century that visas came into existence. Before that, traveling across the borders was relatively easier. The visa came up more as a way of security during the world wars as the countries had to ascertain on the identity of the people who were hopping in and out of their country. The visa continues to remain in place now to check migration from east to west and has become all the more stringent in recent times to check terrorist and illegal infiltration.

What is a visa?

A visa is a document you would require if you intend to embark on an international travel. The word visa originates from the Latin word Charta Visa which translated would mean ‘paper that has been seen’.

Having a visa would mean that you have the permission to transit, enter or stay in a country other than your own. However, finally it is the immigration officials who have the ultimate right to guarantee entry of non-citizens to their country.

The visa as a legal document would have the traveler’s contact information, country of origin and other relevant details. All overseas travel requires a passport but visa is not mandatory for all countries. More commonly a visa is a stamp which is endorsed in the traveler’s passport.

Do you know the Different types of Visa?

A Transit visa comes with a validity period of about five days and is essential for a traveler stopping in a particular country, on the way to his final destination. A airside transit visa is basically for entering the airports of some countries and does not entail any immigration clearance.

A Tourist visa is required for all travelers out on a pleasure trip to the particular country. The traveler cannot indulge in any kind of business activities during his stay. The tourist visa is valid only for a limited period with the duration differing in different countries. Tourist visas are not issued in some countries with Saudi Arabia having introduced tourist visas only in recent times.

Business visa is mandatory for any person wishing to engage in official business or commerce of the country. This type of visa only permits business activities of a temporary nature as a permanent employment would require a work visa and a temporary worker visa would be required for longer term of employment in the required country.

The other types of visas would include on- arrival visa, spouse visa, student visa, working holiday visa, diplomatic visa, courtesy visa, journalist visa, marriage visa, immigrant visa, pensioner visa and Special Category visa. The country which issues the visa usually also lays down certain conditions which come with the visa. It could be the validity period, the territory covered and the number of visits the visa entails. All visa applications are charged with a fee which is typically reciprocal between the countries.

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