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When you travel to certain countries for certain purposes, it may be mandatory that you apply for a visa. This is basically a permit to visit that country for your chosen purpose.

Each country has its own visa system. You will usually be able to find all the information you need online as well as being able to apply online. Fees and requirements may vary depending on the country you are traveling to and the type of visa you are applying for.

What are the main types of visas? While some countries have several types of visas, there are four main visa types that you should be aware of. This post describes the differences between each visa type and what to expect when applying.

Tourist

If you are traveling abroad on holiday, you may need to apply for a tourist visa when visiting certain countries. These are the easiest visa types to obtain. In fact, you may not even need to pay a fee or file an online application in many cases if you are traveling from the United States to another country— 174 countries around the world do not require you to apply for a visa when traveling with a US passport.

Countries that require you to apply for a visa in advance include China, India, Russia and Vietnam. You must visit the country’s website, fill out an online form and pay a small fee in each case. This should be done at least a few days in advance to allow time for your visa to be processed.

Student

If you are traveling abroad to study at a school or university, you will probably need to apply for a student visa. This allows you to stay longer than you would on a tourist visa for the purpose of studying.

Some countries have different categories of student visas to choose from, which can get confusing. For example, the US has F and M visas for students, but may require J1 visas in certain circumstances where studies can also be seen as work – a J1 visa attorney may be worth employing in such cases.

Occupation

A work visa may be required if you are traveling abroad for work purposes. These are often divided into different categories depending on the type of work.

For example, if you are going on a short business trip, you will probably need a different visa than if you are working for a foreign employer for several months. Make sure you apply for the right visa. Fees can vary and you usually need to apply quite far in advance.

Immigration

Immigration visa is required if you plan to live in a country for a certain period of time (usually over 90 days). These can be some of the most complicated visas to apply for and often come with higher fees. Of course, it depends on which country you are migrating from and which country you are migrating to.

There are different types of immigrant visas that you can apply for depending on your circumstances. For example, if you have a spouse living abroad, you may be able to apply for a spouse visa. Refugees, meanwhile, have the option of applying for asylum.

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