A visa is a document issued by a nation that gives a person permission to formally request entry into said country during a set period of time for certain prescribed purposes. A visa is usually stamped or glued into a passport. It is also sometimes issued as a separate piece of paper.
Most countries require you to have possession of a valid passport and a visa as a condition of entry into that country. Some countries have exceptions to this rule depending on which country you are a national of. For example: US Citizens do not need a visa to enter the United Kingdom for tourism. Because of an agreement with the UK government, Americans are allowed to enter the UK for tourist purposes for up to six months at a time without a visa.
Visas by definition are generally temporary documents and are somewhat separate from a country’s immigration and naturalization procedures. Some countries allow visa holders to stay for an extended period of time before following naturalization and citizenship procedures.
There are some countries in the world that still require their citizens to obtain an exit visa in order to be allowed to leave the country. If you know of a country that requires this, please let Global Citizen know by using the submit info form.
Depending on your nationality, getting a visa usually involves filling out forms and visiting the local consulate of the country you wish to go to. Usually a fee has to be paid for this service.
Eventually, this site will have a Visa database. You’ll be able to enter your country and the country you wish to go to, reason for visit and it will tell you whether or not you need a visa. This is a long term goal of the site.