A Comprehensive Guide to 8 Common Visa Types

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A visa is an important travel document that legally allows a person to travel to another country. Getting a visa is mandatory for an international passenger to cross the border of the destination country. It is a part of a country’s travel requirements. Visas can be of different types depending on the purpose of travel. For example, there is a separate visa granted for tourism and, business. Therefore, international passengers must make sure they have been issued the correct visa. Keep reading to learn more about different types of visas.

Types of Visa Overview 

Visas can be divided into different categories based on the following:

  • Purpose of travel 
  • Number of entries permitted 
  • How is the visa obtained?
  • Visa application form 

Read all about the Work Visa

8 Most Common Types of Visa 

There are different types of visas available. The visa types also vary depending on the nationality, and the destination of the applicant. Here we have listed some of the most common types of visas.

Tourist Visa

Types of Visa

A tourist visa is a visa granted to a foreigner to explore another country. The purpose of travel can be sightseeing, casual visits to meet friends and family, and even recreational activities. A tourist visa cannot be used for any other purpose. For example, education or employment. There is a long-term type of tourist visa. However, this is generally granted to travel agents who have to visit the country frequently. Tourist visas are non-extendable.

Examples of Tourist Visa 

Transit Visa

Types of Visa

A transit visa is another common type of visa. The visa is granted to an individual who is transiting through a country to reach another destination. It means that the international traveller has to stop at the airport of a foreign country to reach another destination.  For example, a UK transit visa is required by international travellers who are passing through the UK en route to reach another destination within 24-48 hours. Similarly, a Canada transit visa is required for those who have to transit for up to 48 hours through a Canadian airport. Depending on the travel plans a transit visa can be used for 1-2 entries.

Example of Transit Visa

Business Visa

Types of Visa

Business visa is another common type of visa. As the name suggests, the visa is granted for business purposes. That is if a foreigner wants to enter another country for business purposes such as setting up a new business, purchasing/selling industrial products, foreign buyers who come to transact business with suppliers/potential suppliers, foreign personnel deputed for providing technical support/services among others. 

Examples of Business Visa

Employment Visa

Types of Visa

Employment visas are granted to a foreign national to visit a foreign country for employment purposes. The visa is granted to a skilled professional or person who has been appointed by any company or organization. For example, foreign artists/sportspersons visiting a country to conduct regular performances under an employment contract, self-employed foreign nationals visiting a country to provide highly skilled services in their capacity such as medical, accounting, or legal services, etc.

Examples of Employment Visa 

Know details about how to apply for a visa

Student Visa

Types of Visa

A student visa is granted to an individual who wants to visit another country purely for educational purposes. The duration of student visas depends on the duration of the course, and the country the applicant intends to study. To receive a student visa, applicants must provide several documents such as an offer letter from the university an applicant wants to study, proof of finances, etc. A student visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means that receiving a student visa does not grant an individual rights the same as the citizens of another country. For example, voting.

Examples of Student Visa 

Studying abroad can be expensive! Watch this video to learn all about the cost of studying in Australia

Research Visa

Types of Visa

A research visa is a type of visa granted to individuals intending to pursue research in another country. To obtain a research visa applicants will have to provide a set of documents that would include details about their research, and proof of finances, among other things. The visa is meant for research scholars.

Learn How to Become a Researcher?

Conference Visa

Types of Visa

A conference visa is granted to individuals who want to visit another country to attend a conference/seminar/workshop. The visa is issued based on the letter of invitation, the duration of the conference, and documents related to the conference from the organizers. The applicant for a conference visa must have an assured financial standing and must produce a return ticket to the home country. Moreover, he/she should not be considered an undesirable person, subject to a negative list, any warning, or circular.

Medical Visa 

Types of Visa

A medical visa is a visa granted to an individual who wants to visit another country for the sole purpose of medical treatment. Individuals with serious medical ailments are considered for the visa. Those who want to get private medical treatment, treatment at a medical facility funded by the home government under a reciprocal healthcare arrangement, and those who want to donate an organ to a family member/friend can apply. However, applicants must make prior arrangements for treatment, must have sufficient funds for the treatment, and must be willing to leave the country after treatment.

Learn about the New Zealand Medical Examination for Visa Application

Different Methods of Getting Visas

The types of visas can differ based on how they are obtained. There are 3 ways a person can apply for a visa. It has to be noted that not all countries provide all 3 options. The method of visa application generally depends on the nationality of the foreigner.

  • E-visa/online visa application
  • Visas on arrival
  • Embassy/consular visas

The e-visa is one of the modern options that allows a person to get a visa quickly. It is considered one of the most convenient ways to apply. On the other hand, applying for a visa at an embassy/consulate means in-person application. It generally takes a long time. Hence, applications have to be made in advance. Contrary to this, a visa on arrival means that a visa will be provided to the international traveler after arriving at the destination. There is no need for a visa application. 

Watch this video to learn the step-by-step process of getting a US Student Visa

Different Visa Formats

The following are different visa formats. It differs from country to country. Some examples of a visa format include: 

  • Visa stamps
  • Electronic visas
  • Visa stickers
  • Visa documents

Electronic visas or e-visa are available online. After obtaining an e-visa it is not necessary to carry a physical visa document. The visa is automatically linked to the passport of the applicant. On the other hand, other countries still choose the traditional route of granting a visa. That is, they either provide visas in the form of stamps/stickers. Similarly, some countries might even require a person to bring a separate visa document to be submitted along with the photo of the applicant.

Single and Multiple-Entry Visas

Another way to categorize the visa is based on single and multiple entry visas. The meaning of these types of visas are listed below:

  • Single Entry visa: The visa allows the international traveller to visit the country once. The visa cannot be used to enter and exit the country multiple times. 
  • Multiple entry visa:  multiple entry visas allow a person to use the visa to enter the country more than once. It means that when the visa is valid, the person can enter and exit the country multiple times. However, some multiple-entry visas have limits set on the maximum number of times a person can use the visa to enter the country.


What are the 4 main types of visas?

The 4 main types of visas are Employment visas, student visas, project visas, and entry visas. There are several other types of visas as well. For example, tourist visas. The types of visa depend on the purpose of travel, and the place they have obtained the visa for.

What are B1 B2 and B2 visas?

The B1 and B2 visas are called boundless immigration visas. The visas are issued together allowing a person to travel for both business and tourism purposes. The B2 visa here refers to the tourist visa. The visa allows covers certain medical treatments, and social activities like music/sports.

Which type of visa is easy to get?

The easiest visa a person can obtain is a tourist visa. Generally, the visas are granted for 15 days -6 months depending on the country. However, it is a nonimmigrant visa.

This was all about the types of visas. To read more blogs on such informative visa-related content, follow the Student Visa Archives. To learn about studying abroad, follow Leverage Edu.

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