Visa validity depends on multiple factors. There are hundreds of visas categories around the world, with each country having many that all serve different purposes and have different validities. Although no two visas are alike, there are certain consistencies for how long certain visas last regardless of the country. There are also passport policies that apply like passport validity and blank pages that should not be overlooked.

Visa Purpose

Visas are used for many reasons. Most often, people will vacation in another country and will need a tourist visa or a visitor visa. Others may need to do business. At the same time, many educational institutions offer study abroad programs to their students. Regardless of the type of visa you obtain, it will have an expiration date. The validity starts from the issuance date and not when you decide to travel. So, be ready to take your journey after obtaining your visa. Otherwise, you will have less time with your tourist, business, or student visa.

Single-Entry or Multiple Entries Visas

Visas are issued as single-entry or multiple entries. Regardless of the type you obtain, you will have one of the two options. The length of time and entry option will determine your visa coat. Be aware so as the time of applying, you are aware of the visa type you need to avoid any mishaps while you are on your vacation, business, or in school.

Single-Entry Visas

As by the name, a single-entry visa allows you to enter a port of entry only once and another to leave. If you attempt to re-enter at any port, you will be stopped by an officer at the port. Single-entry visas are usually valid for 3-6 months after the issuance date. Tourist visas are granted as single-entry.

Multiple Entries Visas

Multiple entries visa allows you to cross a port of entry many times. European countries are known to offer this visa type. Multiple entries visa cost more than the single-entry visas and are valid for more extended periods. Business, work, and student visas have the option. However, some student visas can be a single entry due to the course of study or the length of stay time. Such visa types have longer validity when compared to tourist visas.

The Different Types of Visas Offered

Although there are many visa types offered by countries, there are more popular visas applied for by visitors. Below are the most common visas travelers will need at any port of entry. Some must be bought while others are free. Regardless if you must pay or not, you will need to apply and get it to gain entrance.

So, the most common visa types are:

  • Tourist
  • Business
  • Student
  • Work
  • Transit
  • Immigrant

Tourist Visa

Most tourists’ visas allow a stay of up to 90 days or 3 months. Some tourist visas only last 30 or 60 days, while some can last up to 180 days usually if it is an ally nation to the US. Some countries do not require a tourist visa indefinitely or for a certain amount of time.

Business Visa

A business visa usually lasts longer than a tourist visa, logically as a result of the fact that business is often complicated and can take time as opposed to a vacation. Mexico is the most popular destination for US citizens and does not require a visa for business, which means that you can stay if you want as long as your passport is valid.

Generally, the initial stay permission is like a tourist visa (30, 60, 90, 180 days), but there are a lot more incentives with a business visa. A business visa usually allows multiple entries, and the extensions or renewals can enable you to stay up to five years.

Student Visa

Like a tourist and business visa, a student visas validity is not any different, only varying by country. Many countries do have extension availability with this policy: if you do want an extension on the student visa, both the school in the country you’ve traveled to and the school in your country of citizenship must give a letter of approval before consideration for an extension.

Transit Visa

Transit visas are the shortest lasting and most limited visa of all the endless options. If you do request a transit visa, do not expect it to last you for more than 72 hours. This is because the sole purpose of a transit visa is for traveling through that country to a different destination.

Usually, if you require a transit visa for a layover flight, one will be granted on arrival for 24 hours. If you are at a border crossing of a country, that transit visa will more likely last up to 72 hours. Often the validity of a transit visa will correlate to the size of the country since driving through a vast country will take longer to go through.

Work Visa

Work visas generally last anywhere from 3 years to 5 years. This makes sense since working for a short period would not make a lot of sense. Most times, a work visa can be extended for the same amount of time it was granted.

Immigrant Visa

Immigrant visas are issued to individuals who will remain in the country to live. Most often, expats will stay in the country they work for years because they grew accustomed to the way of living. Some countries like the US offers permanent residents who require a visitor visa to enter the United States. With the immigrant visa, the individual will then receive a green card as proof of legal residency.

Even with a work permit, you will need a work permit from the country you will work. The work visa only proves your purpose of travel while the work permit allows you to perform your intended work.

Passport Requirements for a Visa

Most countries implement the six-month passport validity rule to visitors. What this implies is you must have a valid passport with at least six months validity before it expires. One reason is if your trip gets extended, your passport will remain valid for you to exit.

In addition to a valid passport, your passport must have at least two blank pages reserve for the visa stamp and enter and exit stamps issued at the port of entry.

If you don’t comply with these requirements, your application can be placed on hold or rejected. In most circumstances, the application fee is non-refundable. So, before you apply, make sure your passport meets both requirements.

What to do if your passport does not meet the criteria?

If your passport does not meet either requirement, you should apply for a new one. You can go to the nearest post office and select standard or expedited processing. The time to get your travel document will range from 2-8 weeks.

You can go to a regional passport agency or hire a private expeditor to get a passport within 24 hours. However, the cost will be higher when compared to going to the post office.

Visa Validity

Each visa has an expiration date. However, you can extend your stay by applying for an extension. Not every visa has this option. Inquire about the visa you need, and if an extension is allowed in case, you will need one.

Visa Types Validity
Tourist 30-180 days
Business Up to 10 years
Student 365 days
Work 1-5years
Transit 48 hours