Visa Vs. Passport

Visa Vs. Passport – Know The Difference

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 11.27.26 AMThe purpose of a visa and a passport can be quite confusing to some people. The difference between these two documents is a must-know and every person who wishes to travel overseas or to another country should be familiar with the use of each. Both of these documents are vital and critical documents needed by travelers and one or both of these are required when crossing international borders.

Here are the 5 most significance details about the two documents to help in differentiating them:

Purpose – Visa Vs. Passport

On the other hand, a visa is a document or a permission given by the country of destination to a person which allows and legally authorizes him or her to temporarily visit and stay in a foreign country. The visa can sometimes be a separate document or can just simply be a stamp on one’s passport.

Kinds – Visa Vs. Passport

Each document has different forms. Listed below are the most common types and forms of each.

 Ordinary passport – also known as a tourist passport and is issued by the government to people

who wish to travel abroad. This can be a passport book or passport card.

 Official passportofficial passports are also called service passports and are used by

government employees who travel overseas for work.

 Diplomatic passport – this type of passport is issued to diplomats or to consuls for their work

overseas. Having a diplomatic passport does not automatically entitle the holder diplomatic

immunity and they should still obtain visas like other citizens.

 Temporary passport – or emergency passports are issued to people who lost their official

passport while they are still in another territory. This can only be used for a short period of time

and is needed by the person to be able to return to his or her country of origin.

 Family passport – this is a passport that can be issued for the family as a whole and only one

person is a holder. This passport type is no longer issued by the US Department of State.

 Tourist visa – this is issued for tourist travel purposes.

 Transit visa – this is only valid for 5 days or less and is just issued to a person who will pass

through a certain country to get to their final destination.

 Business visa – this type of visa is issued to businessmen who usually travel to foreign countries

for the purpose of commercialization.

 Temporary working visa – as the name implies, this type of visa is only temporary and are issued

to foreign workers from other countries .

 Student visa – this is issued to people who are studying in a foreign country.


Processing – Visa Vs. Passport

Just like any other document application, both have application forms that need to be filled out and fees to be paid. It’s generally easier to process a passport because they only need your basic information. Visa application, on the other hand, is more meticulous and would require a number of supporting documents depending on the purpose of your visit. Your passport will also need to have 6 month validity for most visas.

Advantages – Visa Vs. Passport

As mentioned earlier, a US citizen with a passport can travel to 127 foreign destinations without having the need to apply for a visa. However, some countries still require a visa and the visa will help you determine the length of stay you are entitled to in the foreign country. The passport serves as your connection and proof of citizenship and can help you in case of problems in foreign countries because it will be your direct link to your country’s embassy.

Limitations – Visa Vs. Passport

Having a passport or a visa does not entitle people to inherent rights. This means you are still subjected and are bounded by the laws of the foreign country you are in. Visas expire and are only valid for a specific time, and you will be informed of this limitation depending on your purpose of visit and country of origin.

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