Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Visa is a document issued by a country to non-citizens of that country wishing to enter that particular country.

In broadest terms, Visa is a permission to the non-citizen applicants to travel to that country.

Visa can be broadly classified into two categories – temporary or permanent.

A temporary Visa allows the Visa holder to travel to the visa-granting country on temporary basis, whereas a permanent Visa allows the traveler to travel to the visa-issuing country on a permanent basis. A permanent Visa is thus issued to the non-citizens for a permanent settlement.

Most temporary Visa do not allow visa holders to engage in any gainful employment or business activity. Some temporary visas however are so designed as to allow temporary stay as well as employment. Prominent among these includes a Working Holidaymaker visa UK and other commonwealth countries. Many countries also permit part time employment to student visa holders. These include USA, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Permanent visas are issued by various countries based on different criteria, two of them being skills and family ties. Skill based permanent visas are issued by UK, New Zealand, Australia, USA and Canada. USA has a wider range of permanent visas available to applicants under various countries.

Visas issued by the gulf countries are mainly on sponsorship basis. An applicant may get a tourist visa on the basis of sponsorship by a friend or relative, a business visa on the basis of a sponsorship by a commercial organization or a working visa on the basis of a sponsorship by a prospective employer.

Visas are issued by any country through its embassies globally. They have a visa section dedicated to visa-issuing tasks. For conversion of one type of visa to another type of visa within the country, the Government of that country has an immigration section which deals with visa issues in-land.

Visa applicants are required to pay a fee to the embassies. This visa fee is generally non-refundable irrespective of whether a visa is granted or denied by the embassy to the visa applicant. Range of visa fees is wide – a temporary short duration visitor visa may cost a couple of thousand rupees whereas a permanent visa may cost as high as INR 35,000.

If a visa is denied to an applicant, the odds against him / her for getting the visa on re-application increase substantially. Therefore each serious visa applicant ought to exercise extreme caution while applying for a visa.

While embassies offer online guidance and help to visa seekers, the information provided is not enough for visa seekers to take up the do-it-yourself approach.

The inherent risks of visa rejection due to inexperience of the visa applicant are extremely high.

Visa experts may charge their professional fees for preparing visa documents which at times may appear to be an extravagance, but just as we pay fees to a doctor for treating us or to a lawyer for preparing legal documents, we also need to pay fee to a visa expert for doing the necessary documentation for us and seek proper advice to face an interview where a visa interview is mandatory.

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