You need a valid passport before applying for a visa. The visa application process may take several weeks and generally must be completed before leaving home. For many countries the application and fee is the same for either a tourist or transit visa. A typical process for obtaining a visa is to complete an application and send it to the country’s embassy along with your original passport, a passport photo, the required fee and any other required documents. Additionally a transit visa application may require documents that verify that you will in fact be leaving the country within the required time period. Each country’s unique visa requirements are found online or by contacting that country’s embassy. Some countries like Colombia, Japan and many European countries do not require a visa for shorter stays.

A visa is a stamp, sticker, or electronic record sitting inside your passport book that verifies that you’re allowed to stay in a specific country for a certain amount of time. They specify the length of your stay, what territories you may visit, your scheduled date of entry, how many times you may enter the country, and whether or not you’re allowed to study or work during your trip. Not all countries and territories require visas, but it’s best to stay up-to-date on regulations and requirements by doing your research and working with a travel agent. Immigration officials can revoke your visa at any time, and it’s important to remember that they never truly guarantee entry, especially in countries where visas are separate from formal entry permission. An official will likely review your circumstances once you arrive to determine whether or not you may enter.
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