Understanding The Many Types of Visas
Visas and its Many Variations
You may have heard that if you are planning on doing anything overseas, you are going to need a visa. What might not be clear is exactly what a visa does, and just how many different types of visas there are. There are subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, differences in each type of visa you can obtain. However, the purpose for the visa is the same no matter what kind you get. A visa allows you to reside within a country that is foreign to you, for a defined period of time. Here is a general overview of the different types of visas available, so you will know which one to apply for.
The first category to discuss are short-stay or visitor visas. These are designed for people who do not plan on spending very much time in a certain country. The two most common types of short-stay visas are tourist and business. Tourist is obviously for vacation or leisure purposes only, while a business visa is for someone who is representing a company to go meet with another company overseas. There are other types of short-stay visas though. A private visa is given by invitation, usually by someone very powerful within the country. A medical visa is given to someone who is looking to go to a hospital from another country. You also have cultural exchange visas, given to athletes and artists performing overseas, and refugee visas, given to people who are fleeing persecution war or a natural disaster.
The opposite would be the long-stay visa. This is given to someone who is spending a much longer period of time, but may still return to their host country. The two most common types of long-stay visas are work visas and student visas. A work visa is given to someone who is moving to a new country and wishes to seek employment while they are there. This is different from the short-stay business visa, because that is usually given to someone who is attending a meeting or seminar, while the work visa is more permanent. A student visa is given to someone who is studying at a university in a different country than their host country. You may also need a residence visa if you are planning on purchasing a home in your new country, or even renting a space that is not a hotel. Journalists often require their own long-stay visa to cover a large global event such as a war.
There are other lesser known visas that a country may require you to get. This includes spousal, which means that a spouse from a different country will be moving in with a permanent resident. Also a marriage visa which is very similar to a spousal visa but occurs before marriage instead of after. There are visas that are given to people doing official government work, such as a diplomat, and also visas handed to members of the transit industry, like a pilot or air hostess. At one time, certain countries even required exit visas, which a person would need in order to leave the country. Perhaps the most famous case of this was Germany during the Nazi regime. If you are still confused as to what type of visa you will need, and what you will have to do in order to get it, contact the consulate or embassy to find out more information.