In this TSE question, the question discusses travelling from Norway to Sweden (presumably by air) and says:

I assume that I can take a few days trip to Sweden on a temporary traveler's visa, would I apply at the airport before I fly to Sweden?

Now, ignoring the fact that Sweden and Noway are part of a shared travel area, does such a type of visa (that the best description I can think of) being a "visa on departure" exist? That is, a visa that is applied for (and granted) at the airport before boarding or checking in for a flight to the visa issuing country?

I am only familiar with visas applied to through an embassy (or similar body/contractor), visas on arrival (ie, on landing in the issuing country) and eVisas - so visas applied for over the Internet. I am aware that airlines will sometimes assist travellers applying for psuedovisas like ESTA and eTA at the airport, but that's not the intended use case. I am asking for where it is expected (or at least allowed) for visas to be applied for (and awarded) immediatley before departure.

  • 1
    When I read the title I thought this was about a "sneak in in and apply for forgiveness when you leave" plan :-) Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:06
  • @HenningMakholm Hmm yes, perhaps not the best name for it then. That does sound like a great idea. "Well, I've been here for about 20 days, so a visa that covers at least that long please."
    – CMaster
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:07
  • @CMaster: Some eVisas are usually granted immediately. You mention eVisas in your question, but wouldn't that be an answer as well? E.g. when flying to Turkey, for which I need a visa, I could go to the departure airport, apply for a visa myself, which is probably immediately granted, and use that visa when checking in. Or are you asking for personal facilities on the departure airport, operated by a foreign government? Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 10:36
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    @Tor-EinarJarnbjo I was wondering if there was anywhere where this was standard procedure - basically, I was curious where the OP of the linked question had gotten the idea that was how visas might work. As siad, I realised that some evisas/pseudovisas can sometimes be gotten witht he assitance of airline staff - but I imagine they also tell you "you really should have done this already"
    – CMaster
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 10:44
  • 1
    You can check out juxtaposed controls and see if it helps answer your question en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juxtaposed_controls
    – Gayot Fow
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 11:19

4 Answers 4


(some of the info here might be dated - but still it might show that such a process is indeed recognized by some international laws)

Yes , Since I am travelling really a lot for business, I have encountered them in some (special) situation, although not in Airports, but in walk-in borders , trains or ferries - and usually where the countries have a special relation.

For example , in Zuhai (China) where there is a walking border to Macau , you can apply for a special 3 days Chinese visa at the border itself . In Shenzen, You can apply for a special 5 days Chinese visa at the border also. Now, while those situations Can be considered a "visa on arrival" - for Chinese citizens, it is the other way around . A Chinese citizen can apply for a Macau visa (or respectively - HK) at the border itself BEFORE exiting China . This can be also done for other non-Chinese citizens that require a visa to HK or Macau ( I do not require one - But I have seen it done there )

Another Example is the walk-in Border between Jordan and Israel when one can apply for a Jordanian Visa BEFORE exiting Israel (there are 3 such borders , I only have done it in one).

Another example are some remote borders (Can not remember the names) between Ecuador and Colombia and Ecuador and Peru, where some years back (actually - a lot) I had a visa made BEFORE exiting the Ecuadorian customs, and the visa was made by Colombian and Peruvian officials INSIDE Ecuador .

India and Nepal (were) another such example - and come to think of it - so does China and Tibet ..

Back to China, in Guangzhou South train station there is a special direct train to HK, where you actually do passport control at the train station (more than 150 km INSIDE china) before boarding the train. A few years back (maybe now also - I do not know) You could have applied for a visa there also (before buying a ticket)

So I guess yes , In some special situations these type of visas exists (or - existed) so they are sanctioned by international law and applied somewhere - although today in the age of e-visas and computers , I guess they are disappearing or will soon .

  • Your Jordanian example is interesting. This is only at Allenby/King Hussein bridge where you obtain a visa before crossing. This is because the crossing is between Jordan and the West Bank, which Jordan considers to be part of Jordan, thus visa on arrival is unavailable. At the other border crossings, you can receive a visa on arrival after crossing. Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 13:26

That is, a visa that is applied for (and granted) at the airport before boarding or checking in for a flight to the visa issuing country?

Not a visa per se, but there are examples of pre-authorization that is required for exiting a country.

In India and Pakistan (perhaps others, I know personally of these two countries) in addition to a normal visa, you also need a "cleared to leave" stamp which is given only at the airport by the immigration department. If you do not have this stamp, then you are not allowed to depart for the UAE - note, this is specifically for the UAE.

In Kuwait and other GCC countries, there is a specific "exit permit" which is a permission to exit the country; but this is to exit to any country and not just a specific country. It is given at the airport.

There is also a specific "exit visa" which is given for expats in Kuwait that allows them to finalize their formalities / documentation before exiting the country permanently.

  • Answers the question I asked, but not quite the one I meant. Mind if I edit the question (I'd heard ot "exit visas", not relaly what I was looking for)?
    – CMaster
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:29
  • Sure, are you asking if there is a specific visa that is only issued at the airport for a destination country? Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:31
  • Wait, realised that my question does make that clear. And your answer covers something beyond just a straightforward exit visa. Good answer. I need to read better.
    – CMaster
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:35
  • I know that Indian nationals with little formal education require special exit clearance from the Indian government to go to the UAE. It's an attempt to prevent exploitation of expatriate workers with limited skill sets, who will be employed in unskilled labor or domestic service (or, I suppose, prostitution). I wasn't aware there was a general requirement, but this may be so, too. Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 20:05

When flying from Mexico to Cuba, I bought my Cuban visa in the Cancún airport. The visa was "approved" by virtue of being paid for, but I still went through the normal immigration process in Havana, and presumably could have been denied entry at that time.

This sounds like it meets your criteria for visa on departure, but as the visa process was quite lax, it's functionality more like a simple entry fee, which can be paid for "anywhere".


In order to have a 'visa on departure' the destination country would need to have staff or a sub-contracter at every airport with the service offered. And the costs for such would be high and would only be cost effective at airport with high volume to the destination.

The USA has CBP agents at a few global airports handling pre-clearance for flights to the USA. But that is only offered at a handful of the numerous international airports with direct flights to US airports.

Visas on Arrival sometimes take time for all to be processed, which is not a huge inconvenience to flight operations. But processing visa requests before a flight could either delay departure or cause folks to miss their flight.

  • Well, to be fair - there is already some "processing of visas" done before most international flights. How robust this processing varies greatly though. Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:39
  • @BurhanKhalid - The airline checking to see if you have a visa is not 'processing' a visa in the sense of being approved for a visa. One is a simpler yes/no versus determing if the traveler qualifies. If you qualify to apply for a VOA, the determination if you get one and are allowed to enter is entirely in the hands of the VOA desk officials at the destination.
    – user13044
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:44
  • I was referring to immigration; which is quite robust in some countries. In Kuwait they only check your Kuwait residency stamp, punch in your passport details into the computer, wait to see if there is a stop flag or such and then blam - one stamp on your passport and another on your boarding pass. In Pakistan, for example, the airline desk checks your visa, the immigration official checks your destination visa (and sometimes, stamps it as checked) and then there is a THIRD person that checks your details - including visas and supporting documents before you even see a waiting chair. Yeah :/ Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:48
  • @BurhanKhalid - but that nothing to do with getting a visa for the destination. It actually precludes the concept in Pakistan.
    – user13044
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:53

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