What is a Visa
While passport is the first mandatory nugget for travel, A Visa is an equally very important and mandatory nugget next in line after the passport. Only holding a valid passport does not qualify for travel,one needs to have the necessary Visa in place before the commencement of travel.
VISAS are the second most important prerequisite which needs to be in place before the commencement of any International Journey after the possession of a Valid Passport.Else all the plans and preparations of the dream adventure can come to screeching halt if your Visa applied for is not granted
Visitors Intended Stay Abroad or VISA for short originated from the Latin word “Charta Visa”or “the paper which has been seen” is the conditional authority or permission granted by a Country typically to Foreign Travellers to enter that Country and stay in it for a designated period of time and then leave the Country.
Hence Visas granted for travel to a Foreign land decide the duration of their stay, the city or areas which they enter within that Country and dates between which they can enter and in some cases the number of visits that is allowed on a particular visa. So as they are associated with the request for permission to enter another country, the granting of a Visa is entirely at the discretion of that Country’s Consulate/Embassy or High Commission of the country in question.
Mind you, possession of a Visa of a particular Country does not guarantee an entry into that particular country and is at the discretion of Immigration Authorities of that Country and this too can be revoked at any time
Like Passports were not always required for travel,Visas were not also not a necessary requirement for travelling from one Country to another and ditto like passports, Visas also gained importance during World War I and due to influx and exodus of populace,it became increasingly necessary for Countries to control the exits and entries of people from and to different Countries to protect and secure its own borders
Applying for a Visa can be a very stressful affair and a daunting task and a long wait for that very important piece of document–THE VISA. While some Countries grant a visa on arrival into their Country for short Visits,the other Countries stamp the required Visa in the passport before the departure from the Home Country and arrival into the Destination Country through a proper Visa Application Process.
Visa requirements are modified,amended by a Country as per its security and border protection requirements. Hence Visa and Immigration Requirements keep changing from time to time and it is very important and absolutely necessary to check the latest updates and changes if any, in Visa requirements by the Consulate/Embassy or High Commission of the Visa Country that may affect your travel. Hence it is always recommended to acquaint oneself of all the latest requirements well in advance of the application of the Visa.
For Countries which the applicant needs to have a Visa prior to his departure from the host Country, the visa procedure needs to be started much in advance to the date of travel.Each Country has its own set of requirements and documents that need to be provided by the traveller based on which the Consulate/Embassy or High Commission of that Country.Visa requirements differ according to reason of travel–namely Tourism,Business or Study. Some of them may require a few working days and some may take a few weeks.Tourism and Business Visas require the applicant to produce Financial Documents like Income Tax papers,Bank Statements or Salary Slips as support and evidence for Financial Security and possession of a Travel Insurance based on which the duration,number of entries and the dates of entry and exit are given for the Visa.Some Visas require the applicant to apply online and be personally present at the Consulate/Embassy or High Commission.All said and done, no traveller can escape or skip this requisite. He/she has to abide by all the documentation and procedure set by that particular Country which may also include answering several questions and standing in a endless queue outside the Consular or Embassy office
Visa is commonly endorsed on the applicant’s passport. The Visa contains the type of visa,applicant’s passport number,dates between which the visa is valid and the number of entries for which the visa is valid and some visas take the form of an Electronic record of the authorisation and is known as an Electronic Visa. Once approved and granted this type of Visa is emailed to the applicant and he/she can print the visa before departure of the flight from the home Country
Visas are applied through specialized agents authorized by the Consulates/Embassy or High Commission of that Country in the host Country.Many Countries have set up Visa Facilitation Centres or VFS worldwide. As the name suggests these Centers facilitate the validation of the visa documents submitted for application. The Center then forwards the applications to the Consulate or Embassy and High Commission as the case may be.
As each Country follows its own set of process, the time taken for the processing of each Visa is different from each other. Some Visas can be applied online and also processed online and may take a few hours to be delivered from the time of application.Some of them take about fifteen working days to a month to be processed by the respective Consulates and High Commissions.
In recent times most of the Consulates,Embassies and High Commissions have appointed Visa Facilitation Services or VFS Centres who facilitate the verifying and validating the documents submitted for the stamping of the Visa and forward them to the respective Consulates,Embassies and High Commissions.
The Schengen Area is the area composed of 26 European Countries between which border controls have been abolished and all of them have agreed to allow free movement of their citizens within this area as a single country.This group is also referred to as The Schengen Countries.The area mostly functions as a single country for international travel purposes with a common visa policy and hence is known as Schengen Visa. Visa issued by one Schengen Country can be used for travel to any of these 26 Countries depending upon the type of entry and the validity of the Visa.The 26 Schengen Countries are:
Austria///Belgium///CzechRepublic///Denmark///Estonia///Finland///France///Germany///Greece///Hungary///Iceland///Italy///Latvia///Liechtenstein///Lithuania///Luxembourg///Malta///Netherlands///Norway///Poland///Portugal///Slovakia///Slovenia///Spain///Sweden and Switzerland.
VISA ON ARRIVAL
There are Countries that do not require Indian Nationals to have a Visa for travel.They are:
Bhutan///BritishVirginIslands///CookIslands///Dominica///ElSalvador///Grenada///Hongkong///Jamaica///Macau///Microneisa///Nepal///Niue///SaintKitts&Nevis///St.VincentandtheGrenadines///Samoa///Seychelles///Trinidad and Tobago///Turks and Caicos///Vanuatu.
As many as 17 Countries in the world offer Visa on Arrival to Indians.They are:
So travel for any purpose…Business, Holidays, Studies, Medical reasons or for any reason, please ensure to check and confirm if you need a Visa to that Country and if yes is it required to be applied in advance before the departure or will it be granted on arrival.Needless to say that if a Visa is required then one has to arrange for it well in advance to avoid last minute.