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How to Apply For Visa of Any Country
To apply for Visa of any country in the world, You need to know the following:
- Meaning of Visa.
- Which country to you want to go.
- What type of Visa do you need.
- Purpose of your Visa
- Country Requirements For Visa Application
- Amount of Money (i.e Visa Fees )
- How to travel to the place.
Now, We are going to be discussing these one after the other to your satisfactions.
Meaning Of Visa
A visa is a travel document that allows you to enter a foreign country for a specific period of time. In most cases, you have to apply for a visa before travelling, either at an embassy, consulate, or online. Sometimes you can also obtain a visa on arrival. Visas are usually affixed onto your passport and state how long you can stay.
Most countries impose visa requirements for foreign nationals as a security measure: to keep track of who enters and to stop illegal immigration. Visas are also used as a defensive effort, stopping security risks from entering a country.
A visa is a sticker on your passport, containing your name, picture, and the number of days you are allowed to stay in a specific country.
In some cases, visas are also issued as separate documents and are not attached to your passport – such as electronic visas, which you must print out.
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A Brief History of Travel Visas
The word visa originates from Modern Latin “charta visa,” which means verified paper or translated into “paper that has to be seen.” Previously, visas were separate documents that went hand in hand with the passport during international travel, but nowadays, most visas are stamps or stickers attached to your passport.
Here is a brief history of how travel documents began:
- First travel documents
The first mention of traveling documents (passport and a visa) in the Hebrew Bible when Nehemiah, who was under the service of the Persian King Artaxerxes I, asked for a travel passage to Judea (region in Jerusalem).
- The first passport (420 BC)
The reign of King Henry the V— who is credited with creating the first passport.
- The “Passe port”(1386-1442)
The reign of King Louis XIV of France (the Sun King), who liked to issue personally signed travel documents he called “passe port”— although there is still much debate where the name “passport” originates from.
- Obligatory Passport (1643-1715)
At the end of the First World War, passports became obligatory documents for international travels and were often accompanied by visas.
- Nansen Passport(1918 –)
The League of Nations in Paris established the Nansen passport to combat the loss of nationality that many refugees experienced after WWI.
- Visas (1922 – 1938)
At the end of the Second World War, there was a heavy surge of migration worldwide, requiring stricter border patrol. Both travel documents, visas, and passports were mandatory in most cases for international travel.
Nowadays, as an identification document, you must have a valid passport issued by your home country when you travel internationally. Travelling visas, issued by your destination country, are considered an essential tool in migration control.
Types of Visa by Purpose
Some of the common visa types by purpose of travel include:
- Tourist visas
- Transit visas
- Medical visa
- Working holiday visas
- Student visas
- Work visas
- Family reunification visas
- Official visas
- Refuge or asylum visas
- Digital nomad visas
- Retirement visas
- Pilgrimage visas
- Tourist Visas
- Transit Visas
- Medical Visas
- Working Holiday Visas
- Student Visas
- Work Visas
- Family Visas
- Investor Visas
- Official Visas
- Refugee or Asylum Visas
Note: When you are visiting a country without a visa, you cannot work or sell any goods or services.
How to Apply For Visa of Any Country- How to Get a Travel Visa
Most commonly, you apply for a visa through one of the following ways:
- At an embassy or consulate of the country that you will visit.
- Online (electronic visa).
- At the point of entry (visa on arrival).
The method of application depends on the specific country and your nationality. You should never travel without checking your visa requirements.
Visa Application at an Embassy
In most cases, you can apply for a visa at the embassy or consulate of the country you want to visit.
You will have to:
- Make an appointment.
- Collect a set of documents.
- Pay a visa processing fee.
- Enter a visa interview (sometimes).
The consular officers will review your application and decide whether to grant you a visa or not. Depending on the visa type, it could take several days to several months to process your application.
Note: Sometimes, embassies or consulates will outsource visa submissions to private travel agencies. This means the agency collects your documents and sends them to the embassy/consulate, which then makes the decision.
Visa Application Online
You can also apply for a visa online. Electronic (online) visas are usually issued as printable documents and are not pasted onto your passport. If a country issues electronic visas, then there will be an official application website, where you can:
- Complete an online visa application form.
- Attach electronic copies of your documents.
- Pay a visa fee.
- Make sure that the website you are applying through is the official website, as you may have to provide personal information during the application and even pay a fee.
It can take a few minutes to several days to hear a decision on your visa application.
Visa on Arrival
You can apply for a visa at the airport or other point of entry of the country you are traveling to. This is known as a visa on arrival (VOA). In these cases, there will be visa counters at the point of entry, where you have to apply, pay a fee, and then wait for the decision to be made before you can pass through. Depending on the country, it could take from a few minutes to a few hours.
Note: Not all countries issue visas on arrival.
Even countries that issue VOAs usually limit them only to certain nationalities.
Visas on arrival are usually only available at certain airports or entry points.
Common Reasons for Visa Denial
These are some of the most common reasons why your visa application may be denied:
- Passport Validity: Most countries will require you to have a valid passport with at least a three or six months validity period. However, whether this period begins when you enter or depart the country depends on your travel destination.
- Passport Blank Pages: The number of required blank pages on your passport differs from country to country, but it is usually two to four pages. Blank pages are required so there is enough space to stamp your passport and visa.
- Vaccination Requirements: Several countries in Africa ask you to have an international vaccination certificate; otherwise, you won’t be granted a visa.
- Criminal Record: It’s almost impossible to obtain a visa with a criminal record; only a few select countries, i.e., the US, and Canada, will grant a waiver for your criminal record when you need a visa.
- Travel Ban: All governments have the power to declare a person “persona non grata.” As a result, diplomats and non-diplomats will not be allowed to enter a specific country.
Inadequate health insurance coverage. In many countries it is obligatory for all visitors to have travel health insurance coverage.
Validity and Visa Duration
Visas can be issued for the following duration and validates:
- Short-stay A short-stay visa can be issued for anywhere between a few days to several months. This type of visa is usually issued for tourists, business people, or other short-term purposes, like seeking medical attention or visiting family.
- Long-stay A long-stay visa can be issued for months or years. Sometimes, residence permits are also referred to as long-stay visas.
Single-entry As the name suggests, a single-entry visa only allows you to enter that specific country or area once. After you leave, you cannot return, even if you have remaining days.
- Multiple-entry With a multiple-entry visa, you can enter a country or area multiple times, as long as the visa is valid.
What is the Difference Between a Passport and a Visa
While they are both travel documents, the main difference between a passport and a visa is that a passport is issued from your home country, whereas a visa is issued by the country you want to visit.
Other differences include:
The passport is an identification travel document, whereas a visa is attached to your passport, showing you have permission to enter a specific country.
A passport is issued for about ten years, whereas a visa’s duration is shorter, usually a few months.
What Is the Difference Between a Visa and a Residence Permit
The terms visa and a residence permit are often used interchangeably. However, a notable difference between the two is:
You need a visa to travel to and enter a foreign country, either for tourism, business, work, studies, etc., usually for a short period.
You need a residence permit to settle in a foreign country for an extended period.
Sometimes, you receive a visa first and then convert it into a residence permit once you enter your destination country. Other times, you automatically get a residence permit as soon as you apply for a long-stay visa (work, study, family reunion, etc.)
What Are Electronic Travel Authorizations
Electronic travel authorizations are entry requirements for nationals who do not need a visa for a specific country. They can be easily obtained online for a small fee, and are valid for long periods of time.
The following are examples of electronic travel authorizations:
eTA (Canada): The Canadian eTA costs CAD 7 and is approved within just a few minutes. It is valid for up to five years, and allows you to stay six months per trip.
ETA (Australia): The Australian ETA costs AUC 20 and is approved within a few minutes. It is issued for one year, and allows you to visit Australia multiple times during its validity.
ESTA (United States): The American ESTA costs USD 14 and is approved within a few minutes. It is issued for up to two years, and allows you multiple entries to the US, with a maximum three months per trip.
ETIAS (European Union): The European Union’s ETIAS will become mandatory starting from May 2023. It will cost €7 and will be valid for three years. It will allow multiple trips of up to three months during its validity period.
Electronic travel authorizations are not actual visas and their purpose is to simply keep track of who enters and leaves a country. Because of this, it is unlikely that an application will be rejected.
Joint Visa Schemes
Some countries that are a part of a regional organization issue a common visa for all organization member states.
Some of the most well known common visas include:
- The Schengen Visa: The Schengen visa is a shared entry permit that will allow you to enter any of the countries in the Schengen Area— there are currently 26 European member countries in this agreement.
- The Central American Single Visa: This is a joint visa agreement between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Citizens of these countries can travel visa-free between member states. Tourists can also visit all member countries with one visa.
- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): This is an agreement between several Middle Eastern countries that include the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Citizens of these countries can travel visa-free within their borders, but due to political strain, visa-free travel is not always permissible.
- The Pacific Alliance: The Pacific Alliance includes Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, allowing its citizens to travel visa-free. Tourists can also travel in each member state with one visa.
- The KAZA Univisa: The KAZA Univisa agreement allows you to travel between Zambia and Zimbabwe for 30 days.
- The CARICOM Visa: The CARICOM Agreement comprises 15 Caribbean countries which allow visa-free travel among their citizens. Furthermore, the agreement issues a joint CARICOM passport for their nationals which can be used for domestic and international travel.
- Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS): This agreement includes 15 member states in West Africa whose citizens enjoy the freedom of movement between the countries.
- Mercosur Agreement: Composed of four entire member states, (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay), along with several other associate countries, the Mercosur Agreement allows visa-free travel for its citizens. However, each country regulates its visa policy for international visitors.
- The British-Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS Visa): The BIVS is a visa scheme between the United Kingdom and Ireland allowing foreing nationals to travel with one visa between these two countries. For example, if you have a valid visa for Britain you can enter Ireland with the same permit.
In addition to joint visa schemes, one visa issued by another country will allow you to travel visa-free to multiple countries.
For example, if you have a valid US visa, you can also visit Costa Rica, Mexico, the British Virgin Islands, and several other countries as well.
What Is an Exit Visa?
An exit visa is a traveling permit that grants you permission to leave a specific country. Nowadays, exit visas are considered an outdated practice borderline a violation of human rights, so most countries do not enforce an exit visa.
Here is a list of the countries which require some form of an exit visa:
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- The People’s Republic of China
- United Arab Emirates
Exit visas can sometimes be imposed on you because of your nationality, so check the traveling requirements with an embassy or consulate before you depart.
- Digital Nomad Visas
- Pilgrim Visas
- Retirement Visas
Tourist visas are entry permits issued for recreational purposes. Tourist types of visas are short-term, usually valid for three months, and you cannot work while on a tourist visa. There is usually no limit to how many times you can apply for a tourist visa for the same country— as long as the embassy/consulate grants the visa; you can freely travel.
Not everyone requires a visa to travel. Many countries have visa waiver agreements, which means they allow citizens of a select few countries to enter visa-free for short trips. Passport holders of Western countries (such as the U.S., Australia, Canada, and the EU States) can travel to most places without a visa.
The allowed time for visa-free stays is short; it ranges from a few days to a few months. Regardless of your nationality, you should check your visa requirements before traveling.