So you want to take a trip?
Getting away from it all is more important than ever these days. With airfare lower than ever before, you’ve got a plethora of options available to you.
If you’re considering going overseas, then you probably have some questions about visas. What is a visa? Must you obtain one before you travel?
This article aims to address all these issues, and more.
What Exactly is a Travel Visa, and Do I Need One?
A travel visa is different than a passport. Your passport is issued by your own country, allowing you to enter and exit at any legal borders. The visa is issued by the country you are visiting, and allows you to enter that country for a specified period of time safely and legally.
Not all countries require you to obtain a visa before traveling. Some issue you a visa upon your arrival. Visa requirements are different in every country, and usually depend largely on where you are from.
Fortunately, your United States passport is pretty powerful.
It’s actually among the 5 most powerful passports in the world. You’ll be able to enter visa-free into nearly 160 countries. That covers a lot of territory!
However, there are some pretty popular (and awesome!) destinations around the world where you’ll be needing a visa.
These include must-see destinations like Australia, Brazil, and China. To determine whether or not you need a visa to enter the country of your choice, visit the United States Travel Information Page. Here you’ll find all sorts of information on your country of choice.
Which Travel Visa Do You Need?
Visa requirements also depend on what you intend to do in the country you are traveling to.
Are you going for a short visit? You’ll probably need a visitor or tourist visa. This type of visa typically lets you stay in your country of choice for a short period of time for purposes delegated by the government, usually sightseeing.
Most countries have some sort of tourist visa, but each one defines it a little differently. For example, the Chinese tourist visa allows the visitor to come into the country to visit family or sightsee, for a given period of 30 days. Other countries may offer a longer stay of 90 days, like Peru.
If you are heading overseas to conduct business, you may need a business or work visa. These are typically a bit more difficult to obtain, depending on the country you want to visit.
If you want to study abroad or go for educational purposes, you’ll generally need a student visa. In order to get this visa, you’ll typically have to attend an officially recognized university.
There are a lot of other travel visas, including those for immigrants or those who wish to marry citizens. For tourism purposes, you’ll be good with a tourist visa.
If you wish to change your visa status while in the country of your choice, you’ll have to thoroughly research how to do it. In many cases you’ll have to leave first and stay out for a period of time, though sometimes you can adjust status while inside the country.
How to Obtain Your Travel Visa for a Legal and Safe Trip Abroad
Once you know where you want to go and have an idea of the visa you want, the next step is to go about applying for it.
The application process varies for each country. You’ll need to pay a visit to the embassy website of your country of choice to learn the requirements for each country.
All requirements differ between countries, but for a tourist visa you’ll typically need to provide a few things:
- Copies of your valid US passport
- All the necessary forms
- Documentation which may include a birth certificate
- Proof of employment
- Proof of income
- A fee
You may be able to do everything online. Sometimes you have to attend an interview. Sound like a lot to go through?
Just relax. Applying for a visa is an exciting time! You can make it easier on yourself by utilizing an agency to help you through the process.
Using an Agency will make everything easier and faster. You can sometimes get your visa within days. Of course, agencies charge their fees. You’ll be paying one to three hundred dollars for the convenience of hassle-free travel.
You can get help from a number of agencies, but make sure they are reputable! A Briggs boasts a great online reputation at almost 5 stars on Yelp. The A Briggs agency handles all sorts of visas and has an expedition program to help you get them fast.
At all times when traveling, make sure you have the necessary documentation to complete your journey. Always have a valid United States passport, as well as all the visas you need. You want to make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible, and that starts right here at home.
Feature image via Lonero Lois