A visa, in addition to a passport, is one of the most important travel documents. According to Wikipedia, “a visa is a conditional authorization granted by a country to a noncitizen to enter and temporarily remain within that country”. Most of the time, a person wanting to visit and/or stay in a certain country requiring a visa should apply for it months prior to the arrival date. There are also some rare cases wherein a visa is granted upon arrival.
If you are someone who wishes to visit a certain country, then the need for you to present a visa depends upon your citizenship, how long you would like to stay in such country (length of stay), and the activities you would like to undertake in the country you will visit. For example, an American citizen is allowed to stay in Japan for a maximum of 90 days even without presenting a visa. If you are not an American citizen, however, then you are not allowed to enter Japan even just for a day without visa.
There are many categories of visas and they have various names. The most common types of visas according to purpose are: transit visa, short-stay visa (popularly known as visitor visa or visit visa), long-stay visa, immigrant visa, and official visa.
Two common types of immigrant visa are marriage visa (also called fiancé visa) and spousal visa. The former is granted to a person with a proven relationship with a citizen of a destination country. For instance, a Filipina (a woman from the Philippines) who would like to marry an American should acquire a Fiancé Visa to be able to come to the United States. A spousal visa, on the other hand, is granted to the spouse or civil partner of a citizen or resident of a certain country to allow him/her to settle in such country.
A visa and all its legalities is a broad topic. Aside from the conditions of issue and its many types, a person who wishes to travel to another country still has to known if a visa is single-entry, double-entry or multiple-entry. Furthermore, you have to known its validity and your authorized period of stay. If you would like to extend your stay in a certain country, you also have to known if it permits visa extensions.
To learn everything about visa takes time. Nonetheless for now, let us take a look at countries that require and do not require a visa. If the country you are planning to go to does not require a visa, then why bother with all these technicalities. However if it does, then you really need to do more research. (I know you are hoping your destination does not require one!) Read more here!
– Happy Globetrotting