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Different Types of Travel Visas: Everything You Need to Know

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As you have seen, the visa is one of the most important travel documents which is required to get both into and out of a country. If you're not a permanent citizen, and you're planning to move abroad (whether it's for a short or a long period of time), you'll most likely require a visa, but which type should you apply for? a travel visa or a work permit?

Different Types of Travel Visas

Although there are a multitude of visas out there -- all of which allow you to stay in another country for a restricted period -- it's important to know which one to fill out an application for. Here is a handy guide on different types of visas and how do they work, just have a look and check the eligibility criteria in order to get the appropriate one.

How does a travel visa work?

Once you have obtained your passport, you need to first understand how does a travel visa work - the application process, pricing, time allowed abroad, the territories a visa covers, whether it permits multiple entries or a single entry and the type of visa is all depend on the country you're moving to, the length of the time you intent to remain there and the purpose you remain to stay there.

Generally, you can apply for a visa before your move at a country's embassy or consulate. Here's a basic information about the different types of visa that you can apply to any country when you're planning to move internationally.

Different types of visas

Short-stay visas

Also referred to as visitor visa, it allows for people who are only visiting their country of origin for a short period of time (maximum of 90 days). It includes:

  • Tourist visa - granted to citizens for leisure purposes only
  • Business visa - allows for those attending educational or business conventions
  • Working holiday visa - allows for those traveling to another country and want an extend holiday to take temporary employment or study for supplemental reasons
  • Refugee visa - for those who are outside their home country and in need of resettlement because they cannot return to their own country. It is issued to anyone fleeing persecution, war and/or natural disaster
  • Medical visa - is given to those seeking medical treatment in specialized hospitals in other countries
  • Cultural exchange visa - given to athletes and performing artists for concerts, sporting events and competitions -- also known as the athletic or artistic visa)
  • Private visa - these are given invitation only and are used for private visits to residents of that country

Long-stay visas

This type of permit allows people to stay in a country for longer than three months, with the aim of enabling the holder to obtain a residence permit so they can live in the country for certain period, although they too have an expiration date. These include:

  • Work permit - allows an employee to work in another country for an extended period -- while it is often more difficult to obtain it is effective longer than a business visa. Visas offered for work are as follows:
    • H1-B for specialty occupation
    • H2-A for seasonal agricultural workers
    • H2-B for skilled and unskilled workers
    • H3 for trainees
  • Student visa - another common visa type, which allows students to study at universities and other higher learning institutions in another country
  • Residence visa - for people taking up long-term residence in another country -- can also be used for those eventually seeking permanent residence
  • Journalist visa - is a non-immigrant visa for journalist that are temporarily traveling to another country in order to engage in their profession. The approval process of this type of permit is different from the approval process of other types
  • Asylum visa - necessary for anyone fleeing their home county for fear of persecution due to their opinions, political beliefs or relation to a specific social group

Immigration visa

This type of permit is issued to a person who intends to live and work permanently in the foreign country. This is closely related to the citizenship process.

If you're going to the US for study purpose, you may have heard someone mention the term "Green Card," they were actually talking about the immigration type of visa. Green Cards is a path to obtain a citizenship in the US and allows the holder to both live and work there. There are different types of immigration visa, they include:

  • Marriage visa - is also known as fiancée visa which is granted for a specific and limited amount of time before a marriage or civil partnership
  • Spousal visa - is a permit given to the spouse/partner of a resident so they may begin to settle into the new country
  • Pensioner or retirement visa - only valid in some countries, this permit is dependent on age and retirement claims -- the visa holder cannot work in that country, but they must have a foreign source of income. If you can prove that you're a pensioner from your home country, many countries will open their doors to you and allow you a temporary residency permit
  • Official visas - are granted to a person doing official government work while representing their native country in different country. This type of visa can be in the form of:
    • Diplomatic visa - only given to those who are having diplomatic passports
    • Courtesy visa - representatives from foreign government and government organizations who are not diplomats hold this permit

Transit visas

It is a temporary non-immigrant short duration visa to allow the travelers to pass through a country only, not to stay there. Depending on the size of the country, transit visas can last anywhere from several hours to a few days. They are:

  • Airside transit visa - required when entering airports in some countries -- necessary even though the owner will still travel through passport control
  • Crew member, steward or driver visa - is applicable for the workers who are trained or work on aircrafts, seafaring vessels, trains, trucks, buses, commercial vehicles or any ships fishing in international waters

On-arrival visas

On-arrival visa is commonly known as Visa on arrival (VOA), where you'll need to stand at a visa counter, apply and pay for the permit, which gets attached into your passport on the spot, before you go to immigration.

Exit visas

Some countries may require an exit visa before you're allowed to leave their country, regardless of whether you are a citizen or visitor to that country.

There is much more to say about different types of visas, which you will learn as this series continues. For now, be sure to do your research and get authorized before you travel.

Cassandra Rose  Posted by Cassandra Rose on June 25, 2015

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