Are you planning to travel soon and are wondering, “what’s the difference between a visa and a passport”?
It’s a good question really, because you may actually need both a passport and a visa before you travel.
So what is the difference between a passport and a visa? Simply put, a passport is issued to the citizen of a country for identification and international travel, while a visa is an official stamp placed inside the passport granting the holder permission to enter, leave or remain in a country for a designated period of time.
Let’s take a brief look at both to better understand the function of each.
What is a Passport?
A passport is an official government document that verifies a person’s citizenship and identity. The purpose of a passport is twofold: For gaining entry into certain countries when traveling, and for regaining entry back into your country of citizenship.
Your passport will contain things like your name, photo, date of birth, gender, and physical characteristics.
If you are a citizen of the US, Certain countries only require a passport for re-entry. However, other countries could require you to have a visa before they allow you to enter. Before you travel, find out whether or not a visa is required in the countries you will be visiting.
Diplomats and other government officials receive a different type of passport than regular travelers.
What is a Visa?
A travel visa is an official government sticker or stamp which temporarily allows you to enter the country you are visiting. The visa is usually placed in your passport and is issued by the country you are visiting.
Visas can be obtained at the appropriate embassy or local consulate of the country being visited. The reason for entry is usually categorized as business, tourist, or transitory.
There are more than 270 countries that provide travel visas. Additionally, there are thousands of different types of visas depending on the country, and type and length of visit.
For certain countries, E-visas are also available.
Tourist, student, work, and transit visas are the most popular types of visas. A visa may be valid for one or more visits depending on the country you’re traveling to.
Some visas require that you apply before you can enter the country, while other visas can be obtained upon entry. Also, some countries may require an interview or medical screening before you submit an application for a visa.
When is a Travel Visa Required?
Because regulations are constantly being revised and amended, the answer to this question can change almost daily. The iVisa FAQ section has good information that gets updated on a regular basis. You can check to see if you’ll need a visa for the country you are visiting, as well as the requirements, forms, and instructions.