Find out what those visa terms really mean so you don’t get yourself into trouble on your digital nomad travels.
There are a lot of terms people use when describing visas for entry to different countries and it can sometimes get confusing. For instance, did you know that many countries citizens don’t require a visa to enter the Schengen region, but one of the most common search terms for Schengen is ‘Schengen Visa’ because people think they need one? And for some countries you don’t need a visa if you are just visiting for a certain amount of days, whereas others require you to send your passport to the embassy to get a sticker put in there… which takes a lot of trust!
To make things easier we’ve come up with a handy list of common visa terms and what they mean.
But firstly, do you know what the difference between a visa and a passport is? A passport is an official document that identifies who you are and where you are from. A visa is permission from the country you wish to enter that they have authorised your visit and what the rules of that visit are.
Make sure you are aware of what the rules of your visa are before you apply or visit the country! You don’t want to get denied at entry or given a no return stamp as you are leaving because you accidentally (or deliberately) broke the rules. Remember, you must follow the rules and laws of the country you are visiting.
So here we go… these are some of the common terms you may hear where researching visa types as a digital nomad.
Visa on Arrival (VOA)
Visa on Arrival (VOA) means that on arrival, you will need to queue up at a visa counter, apply and pay for a visa, which gets pasted or stamped into your passport on the spot, before you go to immigration. VOA is often limited to certain entry points (eg. international airports, major land borders), so for border crossings where it’s not available, you will need to apply for a regular visa in advance.
No Visa Required
No visa required means that you can proceed from the plane to directly to immigration and will not need to pay anything. If no visa is required, you are generally free to enter the country from any legal border crossing and by any means. You will still only stay a certain amount of time and meet other entry requirements if asked. You may also be given an entry/exit stamp.
Tourist visa is a visa that implies you are on holiday and have no intent to work in the country or set up a permanent address. You may have to provide evidence of funds, onward travel and accommodation.
Transit visa is a visa often used to encourage travellers to stay in a location longer than the typical 6 hour stop over on long haul flights. Often airlines work with the governments and hotels to enable travellers access a city they would only get to see on landing and takeoff. Countries this is popular in include Oman.
Business visas are for people who travel for business purposes and will be working in the country but often for a purpose relating to their job back in their own country.
Student visas offer extended stays for those who want to study in another country. There are often strict rules about attendance and working rights.
Entrepreneur visas are a new type of visa popping up in some countries where the government encourages startups to well… start up in their country. There are often a lot of rules to be followed but if this is your thing, it could save you a lot of money in the long run with taxes and wage costs.
Multiple Entry Visa
Multiple entry visas allow you to enter and exit a country as many times as you like within a certain time period without having to reapply or provide other evidence of savings, accommodation or onward travel.
Single Entry Visa
Single entry visas only allow you to enter and leave once within the time period of the visa.
Temporary Work Visa
Temporary work visa allows someone to work in a foreign country whether for themselves or for a business within that country.
Social Visit Pass
Social visit pass is just another term some countries use for tourist visas.
This is not an exhaustive list of visa types as many countries have hundreds of different visa categories and types depending on a multitude of reasons, but it is a list of the most common terms you might come across. Remember to always check with the relevant authorities and embassies to ensure you have the right visa for what you want to do.