The Different Types of Visas when travelling abroad

visa and passport

Different countries have different types of visas available to anyone coming to their country. It is, therefore, important to apply for the right kind of visa. When you are travelling to any country, you must first of all research the best type of visa to apply for. Applying for the wrong visa could mean your visa application would not be approved.

To travel from your country to another, a visa is required. This article will highlight the different types of visas, visa categories, visa requirements etc. It will give you a better understanding of the best type of visa to apply for. Also, it will address the different requirements for obtaining the different types of visas.

What is a Visa?

A visa is a license from the embassy of the country you want to attend that gives you permission to visit the country within a specific period. In some countries, immigration is responsible for the issuance of a visa. While in other countries, you will have to process a visa through the embassy, consulate or its affiliations in your country.

types of visa

Cost of Visa

The cost of a visa ranges from country to country. The cost of a visa is also dependent on the type of visa you are applying for. Oftentimes, the cost of a visa is listed in dollars or in the country’s local currency. The cost varies from as low as $20 to as high as $1000 in other countries.

different types of visa

Visa Processing Time

Visa processing time is the time required to process a visa from start to finish. Different countries have specific times it takes to process their visas. Also, the processing time also depends on the type of visa you are applying for. For example, the time it takes to process a tourist visa is different from processing a work visa or residence permit.

Visa Policies

All countries have policies regarding visa issuance. It is important to know the country’s visa policy before applying. This will ensure you do not go against the country’s policies. Some countries frown on staying and there is usually a penalty for it.

Which country do I need a visa to travel to?

Nearly all countries of the world require a visa to travel. As long as you are leaving the borders of your country into another, you will need a visa. However, there are some exceptions. Sometimes, even in countries that are visa-free, you still have to stamp your passport to enter those countries.

travels and visa

How to Obtain A Visa

There are several methods of obtaining a country’s visa irrespective of the kind of visa.

  1. Visa on Arrival
  2. Through The embassy
  3. Online Application
  4. Walk in at the Border

Visa Application Process/How do I apply for a Visa?

There are several ways to apply for a visa.

  • Apply Through the embassy: You can apply for a visa through the embassy of a country by submitting all the necessary documents to the embassy of that country. The embassy will review your application and either grant or deny your visa application. This process often takes between four to twenty-one days for the visa to be issued.
  • Online Visa Application: This is one of the most popular ways to apply for a visa. The application is done online, where you will have to submit all necessary information and documents online. Also, you will fill out the application online. Sometimes, you do not have to physically visit the embassy for an interview for the visa to be granted.
  • Visa on arrival at the border or Point of Entry of a foreign country: Another way to apply for a visa is either through the country’s border or if the country shares a border with yours. Also, if your country is visa-free to that country, you can also apply for a visa at the border or at the point of entry. You need a valid international passport to receive a visa.
types of visa

This is because most times, the visa is stamped on the visa page of your passport. Individuals can also receive a copy of the visa along with the passport in some situations.

Difference between a passport and a visa

visa and passport

The validity of the passport and visa differs.

  • For instance, the Nigerian passport is valid for five to ten years respectively, depending on the one you apply for.
  • The validity of a visa is based on the purpose of your travel and the type of visa you applied for.
  • The major difference between a passport and a visa is seen physically.
  • The passport is a mini leaflet with a few pages that identify you, while the visa is a seal of approval from the country you plan to tour.
  • Other Supporting Documents When Applying for A Visa
  • Letter of Invitation
  • Police Clearance Report
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa fee receipt
  • Travel Itinerary
  • Medicals

Where Can I find The Embassy of A country to Apply From ‘

Most of the time the embassies are usually located in the capital of a country. Some countries have consulates in other states of the country. Also, you can check the embassy’s website to find the embassy’s location in your country. In the case where a country does not have an embassy in your country. The application of those countries is usually handled by other embassies that are their allies.

Different Forms of Visas

A visa can come in different forms which can be in the form of documents, seals or stamps or electronic visas and stickers.

types of Visa

Different Visa Formats

Visas could come in different formats depending on the country’s policies and the type of visa you have been issued. These are the different visa formats

  1. Sticker visa
  2. Electronic Visa (e-visa)
  3. Stamp Visa
  4. Document Visa


As the name implies, the electronic visa is a kind of visa that is processed and issued online. The e-visa is linked to your passport such that when your passport is scanned by the immigation it will show your visa status. In some cases, all you have to do is to show them the electronic copy, while other countries will usually ask for the printed version.

Sticker Visa

A sticker visa when issued can be placed on your passport. It contains information such as the validity of the passport. The sticker is a type of visa that is placed directly on the visa pages of your international passport.

Stamp Visa

This is a type of visa that comes in the form of a stamp. A stamp will be placed on a blank page of your international passport. This will show that you have been granted access to the country. The stamp will state the time that you entered the country.

Visa Categories

There are two major categories of visas. This is based on whether it gives a temporary stay or a permanent stay.

  • Non-immigrant visa
  • *Immigrant visa

Non-immigrant Visa

This is the type of visa that grants a temporary stay, in which the visitors do not have the intention of permanently living in the country. It is a temporary visa that lets you stay in a country within a specific time. It could be for a few days or a couple of years. This type of visa gives you the option to travel without the need for citizenship or permanent residency.

Immigrant Visa

This visa category applies to individuals who have the intention of permanently relocating to a country either for work or to live in that country or with the intention of becoming citizens of that country. To apply for this type of visa, you must have met some sets of requirements. Individuals who wish to apply to travel to a foreign country and live there permanently need to apply for an immigrant visa.

You are expected to look out for the required documents. This document varies from country to country.

Requirement for an Immigrant Visa

  • Online Application
  • Get a medical fitness test done by an approved health centre
  • Provide proof of funds
  • a petition filed according to the visa category
  • marriage certificates or evidence of separation or divorce]
  • Birth Certificate
  • Proof of employment or business

The Canadian Express Entry and Provincial Nominee programs are an example of the immigration process. Also, countries such as New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, USA, allow potential immigrants to apply for a visa. Majorly, candidates are selected based on their skills, educational qualification, value addition to the economy and acquaintance with citizens of a country.

Understanding Visa Free countries

Citizens of some countries can travel to some countries without applying for a visa. Due to the relationship between the two countries, the citizens can travel at no cost because of their bilateral relationship. For example, the citizens of developed countries, such as the USA, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and New Zealand amongst others, provide their citizens with access to various countries without the need for a visa. Also, every country also has access to some countries that are visa-free. It could be as a result of being a member of a union Eg ECOWAS, Schengen, European Union etc. Members of these countries can visit member countries without applying for a visa.

Visa Validity

Visa validity explains how long a visa is valid. Every country has a visa validity which is the maximum number of days you can stay in their country. It often ranges from 2 weeks to about 10 years. This depends on the type of visa and the country.

How Many Times Can You Enter a Country With a Visa

This depends on the type of visa and the country. It is divided into:

  • Single entry visa
  • Double entry visa
  • Multiple entry visa
  • Limited Travel Visa

Single entry Visa: This permits one entry into a country for a short while and expires upon leaving the country.

Double entry visa: This visa allows the traveller to have access to immigrate to a country twice and it expires once there is an exit from the borders of a Schengen country.

Multiple Entry Visa: This visa type as it reads “multiple” gives unlimited access to the entry and departure of into countries pending when the visa expires. The only limitation is that the stay does not exceed 3 months to 6-month (180 days) period.

Types of Visa

There are different types of visas, this depends on your purpose of travel.

  • Business visa (immigrants& non-immigrants)
  • Employment visa
  • Study visa(immigrant and non-immigrant)
  • Resident/ citizenship visa( immigrants)
  • Tourist/ Visitors Exchange visa(non-immigrants)
  • Sports and Entertainment visa (non-immigrants)
  • Media/ Journalism visa
  • Medical Visa

Requirement For Obtaining a Visa

There are different requirements for different passport applications. It varies from country to country. These are the common requirements for applying for a visa.

International Passport

Passport Photograph

Completed Application

Proof of employment

Business Registration

Categories of Visa To Apply for When Travelling Abroad.

The category of visa to apply for is dependent on the following:

  • Requirements of the country you are travelling to
  • The purpose of your visit to the country
  • The number of times you can enter a country with it
  • Your Intention to temporary stay or permanently stay
  • Let us take a look at the categories of visas you can obtain and how to know the right visa for you.

Business Visa

A business visa is an important travel document targeted at businessmen and women who intend to visit a country either for a meeting, business deals, investment, sales etc.

The business permit is necessary for investors who are willing to start a business, organise or attend enterprise exhibitions, and finance and buy properties in a foreign country. Depending on the country, a business visa can take between 1 to 6 weeks to be fully processed and delivered.

Validity of a Business Visa

A business visa is usually valid for 30 days to 10 years, depending on the country. For example, the USA B-1 visa category allows 180 days of travel for every entry and a stay for up to 10 years.

Documents needed to apply for a Business Visa.

Generally, the documents needed to apply for a business visa includes:

  • Recent passport photographs
  • A valid International passport with at least 6 months’ validity
  • Evidence of account statements/Proof of funds
  • Photocopy of online payment of visa fees.
  • Evidence of Business registration / Letter from Employer

Employment visa

The Employment visa is another type of visa. It is also known as the work visa. The employment visa permits foreigners to travel to live and work in a different country.

In most cases, the intending employer will file an application on your behalf as a potential employee, stating reasons for the employment, the kind of job it is and the duration.

Also, some laws regulate how to acquire an employment visa. For example, some countries issue a work permit along with an employment visa. Also, in other countries like Dubai, you can apply for a work visa which allows you to work stay and work in the country.

A work permit can last from 2 to 10 years and entitles employees to live as residents, pending the time they can obtain full citizenship within a country.

Documents needed to apply for an employment visa

To apply for an employment visa, you need the following:

  • An existing job offer with evidence from the country
  • Employment letter from your employer
  • Online visa application form filled under the non-immigrant category
  • A valid International passport
  • Recent passport photographs
  • Some countries demand medical fitness and insurance
  • Language proficiency results
  • Police clearance
  • Reference letter from Referees

The employment visa takes as long as two weeks to seven months to process, depending on the nation.

Tourist Visa

A tourist visa is the most popular kind of visa. It is a type of visa for people that are visiting a country either for tourism, relaxation or just to visit friends and family. The tourist visa is also known as a visitor visa or travel visa. It allows foreigners into a country for recreation and tourism purposes.

The tourist visa permits up to 6 months of stay within a country since it is a non-immigrant visa. It usually takes 2 weeks to one month to process a visitor’s visa.

To apply for a visitors visa, you need to;

  • Apply online and fill out a form
  • Understand the category of visa that applies to the country.
  • Pay for the visa fees online
  • Get all supporting documents for submission.
  • Schedule your appointment
  • Attend interview at the embassy
  • Present a statement of account
  • Proof of employment/business

Applicants cannot work with a tourist visa, also, it does not allow for a brief period of study or learning. However, the visitor’s visa grants access to explore certain territories and have absolute entertainment.

Student Visa

The student visa is another type of visa. It is a study permit that allows you to study in the country. A student visa is a licensed document that allows individuals to study in institutions abroad. It provides a valid application for up to five years, depending on the course of study and the country where the university is located. It also grants a temporary work permit, that allows you to work for up to 20 hours a week.


Requirements for a student visa

  • Transcript / Proof of educational qualification
  • An admission letter from the institution
  • Valid International passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of funds from sponsors
  • Online application
  • Payment of visa fees and a generated receipt
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency (IELTS, TOEFL etc)

It takes between 2 to 6 months to process a student visa. It could take less time, depending on your adherence to instructions and knowledge of the process.

Transit Visa

This is a type of visa that is needed when you are travelling to another destination through another country. It is a type of visa that allows you to pass through a country’s airport or temporary stay in a country when connecting flights to another destination.

Requirements for a student visa

  • International Passport
  • Passport photograph
  • Approved Visa of the other country
  • Proof of funds

Permanent Residency

This is a type of visa that allows you to live permanently in a country. It is an immigrant visa that lets you live and work in a country.

Requirements for Permanent Residency

  • International Passport
  • Passport photograph
  • Language proficiency
  • Evidence of educational qualification
  • Work experience
  • proof of funds
  • Proof of employment / Business registration
  • Police clearance
  • medicals

Medical Visa

A medical visa is the type of visa that authorizes you to visit a country for medical purposes. It could be for birth tourism, surgical operation, treatment etc.


Requirements for Medical Visa

  • International Passport
  • Passport photograph
  • Health / Doctors Report
  • Payment of hospital bills
  • proof of funds
  • Police clearance
  • medical tests

These are the major types of visas when travelling abroad. It is always important to know the one that applies to you. This will ensure that you are applying under the right category.

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