Be visa ready: all the information you need

by Alexandra Walter | February 21, 2022
visa and photograph on top of a map

Traveling abroad is exciting. It means embarking on a new adventure, discovering incredible scenery, and immersing yourself in the local culture. It can also be daunting. Especially when it comes to booking flights and applying for a visa. 

How do you even know if you need a visa to travel? And if you do, what type of visa should you apply for? Well, the answers depend on your country of origin, your destination, and the reason for your trip.

How do you get a visa to travel?

Many travellers find the visa application process quite daunting. Yet, it doesn’t need to be. With appropriate planning, it can be a straightforward process that you can easily get through. And to help you in this task, we’ve highlighted below everything you need to know about applying for a visa before travelling.

From understanding what a visa is and defining whether or not you need one when traveling as a tourist to understanding the process once your visa has been approved, we’ll guide you every step of the way.

What does a visa stand for?

A visa is a temporary travel document granted by a country that allows a foreigner to enter the country for a specific purpose. It also enables visa holders to stay and travel within the country.

The origin of the word ‘’visa’’ can be found in Modern Latin. Indeed,‘’charta vīsa’’ in Latin refers to ‘’paper that has been seen” and explains the modern use of the word ‘’visa’’.

Visas are typically issued by the government or authorities of the country travellers wish to visit and can be attached to your passport or recorded and sent electronically. Here’s a rundown of the most common types of visas:

  • Tourist visas
  • Business visas
  • Student visas
  • Work visas

The type of visa you will need depends on your destination, the reason, and the duration of your trip.

Do you need a visa to travel as a tourist?

As mentioned before, to determine whether or not you need a visa to travel as a tourist, you’ll need to research your destination’s policy when it comes to visas for people with your nationality. That’s because some countries have reciprocal agreements in place that allow their citizens to visit specific countries visa-free. For example, US citizens can enter several European countries, such as France, Germany, or the UK, without applying for a visa beforehand and can stay for up to 90 days. Naturally, US citizens wishing to extend their stay will need to apply for a visa. 

We recommend that you visit our destination country "eligibility checker" to see if your nationality requires a visa.

paperwork and visas with approved stamp

What is the difference between a travel visa and a tourist visa?

Travel visas and tourist visas are often used interchangeably. However, they’re not always the same thing. A travel visa is just a general term that refers to a visa allowing a foreigner to travel to a country. 

A tourist visa is a type of a travel visa issued by a government that allows international travellers to enter and stay in a country for leisure. This includes people travelling to a country to visit friends and family, do some sightseeing, or attend cultural events. 

Because of their nature, tourist visas are usually valid for a shorter period than other visa types, such as work or student visas. Note that they can also contain restrictions such as only allowing the visa holder to enter the country for a limited amount of time or preventing them from working while visiting the country. 

What happens after a visa is approved?

Once approved, you will either be notified electronically or get your passport stamped, thus allowing you to enter and freely travel in the country. These days, travellers usually also receive a visa grant notice or letter of approval. This document highlights all of the visa conditions, requirements, and restrictions. It will also summarize essential information, such as the length of your stay or the reason for your visit.

Make sure to read this information carefully, as some visas might contain specific requirements and restrictions. If you breach your visa requirements, you might be exposed to heavy fines and even deportation.

How to apply for your visa without complications

The visa application process is designed by the country of destination, and therefore, each visa application process is unique. However, it typically includes completing an application form, attaching supporting documents usually listed on the official website or on the application form, and paying applicable fees. 

If you prefer to outsource the visa application process to a specialized agency to ensure you get your visa on time, trust Visagov. We specialize in helping travellers apply for visas for over 45 countries so that they can focus on planning their trip while we handle the paperwork.

Our team of highly experienced professionals will be able to guide you through the entire application process and ensure your visa application is accurate. Our mission is to turn your visa application into a hassle-free process and ensure you get your visa on time.