What is a visa?
A visa is an official travel document that allows a foreign national to enter, stay and leave a country within a specific time period. There are many different types of visas, including transit visas, work visas, visiting visas, and student visas. Each type of visa has its own requirements and conditions. For example, a transit visa simply requires that the applicant have a valid passport and proof of onward travel.
What does a visa look like?
Sample of a valid travel visa
As shown in the Canada Visa sample image above, valid travel visa usually contains a visa sticker, your travel document (e.g. passport), your name, your picture, the visa duration or how long you can stay on a single or multiple entries, and other information such as the issuing country and Embassy or Consulate where you applied for the visa.
A work visa may require the applicant to have a job offer from a sponsoring employer. A student visa may require the applicant to be enrolled in an educational institution. The specific requirements depend on the type of visa and the country issuing it. Visa applications may be made online, at a consular office, or at an embassy. Some eTA visas may be obtained at the airports; some countries also offer visas on arrival to citizens of eligible countries.
A Story About Travel Visas
There was a time, long ago, when people could travel freely from one country to another without any restrictions. However, as the world grew more and more interconnected, it became clear that something needed to be done to regulate the movement of people. Thus, the travel visa document was born in 420BC. Specifically, the first visa was issued to Nehemiah in the Hebrew Bible during a travel passage to Judea of Jerusalem.
Visa history - other timelines
Other notable events in the history of travel visas and permits:
- 1386 – 1442: The first passport was created by King Henry the V.
- 1643 – 1715: King Louis XIV of France signed travel documents he called “passe port”.
- 1918 – onwards: Passports became an obligatory document post-First World War.
- 1922 – 1938: The League of Nations in Paris launched “Nansen Passport” to reduce refugees after WWI.
- 1945 – onwards: All kinds of travel documents (passports, visa, work permits and border patrol) became mandatory after WWII.
Over the years, there have been many changes to visa regulations worldwide. In some cases, certain countries have made it more difficult for people from other countries to enter; in others, visa requirements have been relaxed in an effort to promote tourism and trade. But one thing has remained constant: the travel visa is a vital part of global immigration policy.
- Visitor’s Visa
- Work Visa
- Study Visa
What is a visiting visa?
The visitor visa (sometimes called a tourist visa or visitor’s visa) is a type of visa that allows a foreign national to enter and stay in the country for a temporary period. Visitor visas are typically used for business, tourism, medical treatment, short courses, leisure or to visit friends and family.
Visitor visas are generally valid for six months or one year but can be extended if necessary. To apply for a visitor visa, you must provide evidence that you have strong ties to your home country and that you will leave the country once your visit.
What is a work visa?
A work visa is a government-issued permit that allows someone to take up paid employment in a foreign country. Depending on the country, the requirements for obtaining a work visa can vary. In some cases, employers may need to sponsor their employees for a work visa, while in others individuals may need to apply for one themselves.
Work visas usually come with certain restrictions, such as only being valid for a specific period of time or only allowing holders to work in specific occupations.
What is a study visa?
A study (or student) visa is a document permitting a foreign national to enter and stay in a country for the purpose of studying at an accredited educational institution. Generally, to get a student visa (study permit), you must be accepted by a school, college, university or other accredited educational institution in the country.
An important requirement to apply for student visa is a prove that you have enough money to pay for your tuition and living expenses while you are enrolled in school. Some countries allow international students to work part time while they study, usually 20 hours per week.
What is immigration?
Broadly speaking, immigration is the process or act of relocating to live in a foreign country. This can be either for a temporary period or on a more permanent basis.
When people talk about immigration, they often mean the kind of permanent movement that results in someone settling in a new country. Immigration usually involves obtaining some kind of permission from the government of the destination country. For example, people who want to move to the United States must obtain a green card, which grants them permanent residency status.
Usually, people migrate because of several push and pull factors. Push factors refer to the motivations for leaving one’s home country, such as war or persecution, whereas pull factors are the attractions that draw migrants towards their host countries – such things like jobs or higher quality of life.
Free Work and Study Visa Information
- Canada Visa
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- European Visas
- Asian Visas