Visa 101: A comprehensive guide to different types of visas

Toluwani Omotesho


2024 should be the year you catch more flights and explore more cities, cultures, and countries, whether for education, business, or leisure. However, one important hurdle you must cross before starting any of this is obtaining a visa.

To refresh your memory, a visa is an official document or stamp that allows you to enter and stay in a foreign country for a specified period. Visas come in different formats, such as stamps, stickers, separate documents, or eVisas, depending on the issuing country.

Also read: A List of Visa-free Countries for Nigerian Passport Holders

There are different types of visas, and understanding the kind you need is crucial in your visa application. In this post, we’ll look at some common visa types based on the purpose of travel.

Types of Visa by Travel Purpose

Tourist visa:

A tourist visa, also known as a visitor’s visa, is usually short-term and typically valid for 15 days to a maximum of six months, depending on the country. They allow holders to visit for recreational purposes like vacations or to see friends and family.

You are not allowed to work while on a tourist visa, and there is also no limit to how many times you can apply for a tourist visa to the same country as long as the embassy grants it.

Student visa:

Student visas are another common type of visa issued for educational purposes. To be eligible for a student visa, you need to be accepted by an institution in the issuing country, and the validity period can last between one to four years, depending on the duration of your study program.

Also read: Applying for a US Student Visa: A Detailed Guide for 2024

International students on a study visa are generally permitted to work part-time in the host countries to support their living costs, except in some countries like Costa Rica and Fiji.

Medical visa:

This type of visa is needed to get medical treatment in a foreign country. Medical visas are usually short-term and last for treatment and recovery. To qualify for a medical visa, you’ll need to provide the following documents:

  • Medical certificate from a recognized medical institution
  • Proof of funds to cover the medical expenses for the duration of your stay
  • Confirmation of a qualified doctor and hospital for the required procedure in the destination country

Business visa:

As the name suggests, this type of visa is designed for people traveling for business-related reasons. Business visas permit holders to attend conferences, client meetings, negotiations, and trade shows, conduct market research, and explore new partnerships and potential investment opportunities.

The validity period of a business visa varies from country to country. The Nigerian business visa is valid for up to 90 days, while the UK business visa allows holders to stay for up to six months.

Work visa:

A work visa allows the holder to work legally in a foreign country. This type of visa is typically granted based on an offer of employment from a company in the host country and is usually long-term. Depending on the country, work visas may have different restrictions and regulations on the type of work the holder can take, so it’s important to consult the consulate for up-to-date information.

Digital nomad visa:

The rise of remote work has led to the popularity of a nomad visa. With this visa, you can work remotely from anywhere in the world. Presently, about 50 countries offer a nomad visa. The requirements to get a nomad visa vary depending on the country, but some general documents that you may need include:

  • A valid passport
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of accommodation
  • A work contract that shows you’re allowed to work remotely
  • A minimum monthly income (also determined by the country)

Also read: Top 5 Easiest Digital Nomad Visas for Africans to Apply for

Retirement visa:

This type of visa, also known as a pensioner visa, is issued to people looking to retire in a foreign country. Examples of countries that offer retirement visas are Portugal, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Ecuador. Some general requirements for a retirement visa include:

  • Birth certificate
  • Health insurance
  • Clear criminal record
  • Proof of funds
  • Medical certificate

Wrapping up

Before you start your visa application process, you must understand the type of visa you need to ensure you meet the requirements and submit the proper documents. This would increase your chances of a successful application and make your experience stress-free.

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