Token showing authorization to apply to enter the territory for which it was issued. Don't forget to include your citizenship when asking!
A visa is a token giving rights to apply to enter or leave a country. Visa are usually attached by pasting a sticker or stamping it in a holders passport.
Visas indicate that the holders thereof may present themselves at a border and request entry into the issuing country. Visas may have both a duration of validity and a visit time limitation.
Duration of validity here means the period over which the visa itself is valid. Thereafter the visa, whether or not by then presented, expires. In some countries, you need a valid visa to enter the country, in others you need a valid visa to be in the country. See a partial list below.
Visit time limitation, often 15, 30 or 90 days, here means the maximum period of time allowed in country if entry is granted. The person responsible (border control) for allowing or declining entry may decide upon a visit time duration that is less than the maximum available for the relevant visa, or decline entry altogether.
The latter (visit time limitation) is a matter of “What is the longest I may stay if I am permitted entry?”. The former (duration of validity) is a matter of “When is the cut-off for use it or lose it?” For the latter it may be worth bearing in mind that, at least in theory, the visa application process is to permit countries to ban entry to people they consider undesirable. Therefore a time limit is necessary to allow for a change in circumstances, regarding the deemed desirability of a visit by a specific individual, that my take place long after a visa was issued.
“In theory” because in practice visas are essentially just a means to tax prospective visitors, often tit-for-tat in response to the charges imposed by the home country of the would-be visitor on visitors from the country issuing the visa.
The word visa should not be capitalised.
“Days” for visas are calendar basis and not hours basis. For example, noon (local time) to noon is at least two “days”.
A visa that expires “1.1.2020” is still valid until the midnight between January 1 and January 2, 2020.
Some countries where a valid visitor visa is necessary only to enter and your time to stay is set at the border:
Some countries where you need to leave by the time your visa expires:
- Schengen zone
Visa questions have been a large proportion of those asked on this site. So much so that there was even an Area 51 proposal to create a separate site just for them (but the proposal was squashed by SE within hours). Consequently there are numerous tags closely associated with visa questions. For a start are those that categorise a particular type of visa:
Some of these are terms specific to one 'country' (as marked), others may apply much more generally. For those that are country specific terms, country-specific tags should not normally be applied to the same question.
We do also have questions where no visa may be required, for example freedom-of-movement but alternative processes may apply. For these we have:
Some of the above may be applicable to a number of countries of issue, for which we have, in addition to the tag eu for a country group:
abkhazia abu-dhabi afghanistan albania algeria andorra argentina armenia aruba australia austria azerbaijan bahamas bahrain bangladesh belarus belgium belize bermuda bhutan bolivia borneo bosnia botswana brazil british-virgin-islands brunei bulgaria cambodia cameroon canada cape-verde cayman-islands channel-islands chile china colombia costa-rica crete croatia cuba cyprus czech-republic democratic-republic-congo denmark dominican-republic ecuador egypt england estonia ethiopia falkland-islands faroe-islands fiji finland france french-guiana gabon georgia-country germany ghana gibraltar greece greenland guatemala guernsey honduras hungary iceland india indonesia iran iraq ireland isle-of-man israel italy jamaica japan jordan kazakhstan kenya kiribati kosovo kuwait kyrgyzstan laos latvia lebanon lesotho libya liechtenstein lithuania luxembourg macedonia madagascar malawi malaysia maldives mali malta mauritius mexico moldova monaco mongolia montenegro morocco mozambique myanmar namibia nauru nepal netherlands new-zealand nicaragua nigeria northern-cyprus northern-ireland north-korea norway oman pakistan palestine panama paraguay peru philippines poland portugal puerto-rico qatar republic-congo romania russia rwanda saint-lucia san-marino saudi-arabia scotland senegal serbia singapore slovakia slovenia south-africa south-korea spain sri-lanka sudan suriname swaziland sweden switzerland taiwan tajikistan tanzania thailand tibet transnistria trinidad-and-tobago tunisia turkey turkmenistan uae uganda uk ukraine uruguay usa us-virgin-islands uzbekistan venezuela vietnam wales yemen zambia zimbabwe
Note that these 'country-specific' tags are available for questions not connected with visas, hence the list includes for example both Schengen member states (for which no 'country-specific' tag may be necessary or appropriate) and:
for all of which only the tags uk or common-travel-area should be used in respect of visas. Tag uk (or sometimes ireland) may also be enough by way of a 'country-specific' tag for some questions regarding the BIVS.
However, because of certain peculiarities, for Schengen we also have:
Whichever visa from whichever country, the citizenship of the applicant is very likely to be relevant, so should always be mentioned where one of the other tags includes 'visas' or is schengen. For that we have, in addition to tags dual-nationality and stateless-persons:
afghan-citizens albanian-citizens algerian-citizens armenian-citizens australian-citizens austrian-citizens azerbaijani-citizens bahamian-citizens bangladeshi-citizens belarusian-citizens belgian-citizens bosnian-citizens brazilian-citizens british-citizens bulgarian-citizens cameroonian-citizens canadian-citizens chilean-citizens chinese-citizens colombian-citizens costa-rican-citizens croatia-citizens cuban-citizens danish-citizens dominican-citizens dutch-citizens ecuador-citizens egyptian-citizens el-salvador-citizens eritrean-citizen ethiopian-citizens eu-citizens fijian-citizens filipino-citizens finnish-citizens french-citizens german-citizens ghanaian-citizens greek-citizens guatemalan-citizens guyanese-citizens haitian-citizens honduran-citizens hong-kong-citizens hungarian-citizens indian-citizens indonesian-citizens iranian-citizens iraq-citizens iraqi-citizens irish-citizens israeli-citizens italian-citizens jamaican-citizen japanese-citizens jordanian-citizens kenyan-citizens kuwaiti-citizens kyrgyz-citizens lebanese-citizens libyan-citizens liechtenstein-citizens lithuanian-citizens macedonian-citizens malagasy-citizens malaysian-citizens malta-citizens maltese-citizens mauritian-citizens mexican-citizens moldovan-citizens mongolian-citizens moroccan-citizens mozambican-citizen myanmar-citizens nepali-citizens new-zealand-citizens nicaraguan-citizens nigerian-citizens norwegian-citizens pakistani-citizens peruvian-citizens polish-citizens portuguese-citizens romanian-citizens russian-citizens saudi-citizens singaporean-citizens south-african-citizens spanish-citizens sri-lankan-citizens sudanese-citizens swazi-citizens sweden-citizens swiss-citizens syrian-citizens taiwanese-citizens tajik-citizens t-and-t-citizens thai-citizens tunisian-citizens turkish-citizens uae-citizens ugandan-citizens uk-citizens ukrainian-citizens us-citizens uzbek-citizens venezuelan-citizens vietnamese-citizens yemeni-citizens zambian-citizens zimbabwean-citizen
For places that might be involved with processing applications we have:
Visa applications may or may not be granted, for the latter case we have tags visa-refusal and visa-rejection. Note that on TSE
rejection have particular meanings (ie, as usual, check Usage guides if in doubt).
Other questions might involve change-purpose-of-travel or overstaying due to visa-cancellation or visa-expiration or too many repeat-visits that might lead to visa-bans unless visa-extensions or visa-runs.
And then there may be exceptions to all of the above, such as for special-economic-zones.