Passport and visa: the essential documents for traveling

by Pilar Dujan | June 1, 2023
Boarding a plane with a carry on and passport

When travelling to any country around the world, you’re going to need a travel visa. A travel visa allows foreign citizens to enter a country no matter the reason for the visit, be it tourism, a family meeting, business, a medical treatment or to study. 

But is a travel visa all you need? No, you will also need a valid passport. Some countries may ask for some other documents such as a flight itinerary or a hotel booking, but a visa and passport are the common requisites to enter every country.

Applying for a visa: what do you need?

Getting a travel visa is mandatory for visiting pretty much every single country in the world. Many countries have put in place an online visa system that makes the process easier and faster, as you don’t have to go in person to an embassy or consulate and the approval waiting time is a lot shorter. You can apply to many online visas through

When planning a trip, remember to check the requirements of entry to avoid any issues. Our blog has many articles on this topic for all countries, check them out! 

Applying for a visa is not the only thing you will need to have before you travel: you will always have to carry with you a valid passport

What is a passport?

A passport is an official document that proves your identity and nationality when travelling to a foreign country. You always have to present the official government approved passport, a copy is not acceptable for customs officers. 

One of the most common requirements when applying for a visa is that the passport has to have a validity of at least 6 months counting from the day the trip starts but, even if it’s not 6 months, the validity of your passport will always have to cover the duration of your trip. 

If your passport is not valid for so long, get it renewed with enough time to spare to be able to apply for your travel visa. 

Do I only need a passport to apply for a travel visa?

No, you will also need a recent photograph of the visa holder. It has to have a white background and it has to show the person’s face clearly, with no sunglasses, necklaces or items of clothing hindering the identification. 

The other requirement for getting a visa is completing a form with personal information and details of your passport and your trip. Check carefully that every single field is completed with the correct information, as you can’t modify a visa application once it’s sent

With all of this done correctly, your travel visa will be approved and sent to you. 

Bags, shoes and plane taking off

What other documents could I need?

Some countries ask for additional documents such as flight tickets, a hotel booking, a letter of invitation from somebody residing in the country you wish to visit, a business card for the company inviting you, letters of recommendation from the authorities or vaccination certificates (for COVID, yellow fever, Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, etc.).

What do I do if I don’t have a passport when applying for a visa?

A passport is usually a mandatory requirement to apply for a visa and to enter a country. However, there are some exceptions

For example, if you’re a citizen of the European Union and you’re travelling to another member state, you won’t need a travel visa. 

Some countries allow you to apply for a visa without having a passport, especially if you’re from the same region you’re visiting. In these cases, you may be allowed to enter another country with your national identification card or with a special card emitted specifically for the trip. 

Even though it’s not always required, a passport is the most common document used for travelling and for getting a visa, so try to have one when starting an application process.

Can I apply for a visa without a valid passport?

If you don’t have a passport or it’s past its expiration date, make sure to make an appointment as soon as possible to get it renewed. These documents can take weeks or even months to be expedited, so get the process moving as early as you can.

It’s also recommended to make sure that your passport is in a good state when arriving in a foreign country. If it’s broken or damaged, the officer checking your documents may refuse your entry request, even if you have an approved visa.  

If you have a valid passport that covers your stay and an approved travel visa for the country you’re visiting, you can relax: there’s very little chance of getting rejected at the airport or other border checkpoints. 

Remember that you always need to check the official government requirements for foreign travellers before starting your trip as they may change suddenly.