Types of visa

There are many types of visas available that a visa applicant can choose from. The intended purpose of your travel will determine which type of visa is required under the host country’s immigration law. The following are the types of visas and their meaning.


Most consulates classify tourist and business visas as one. This type of visa is for people traveling to the host country temporarily for business or pleasure or for private medical treatment. The business visa is for travelers traveling for professional and educational conferences and meetings, consulting business associates, negotiating contracts, sports related events, artists or musicians performing at the host country, an academic doing research or accompanying students on a study program, a doctor traveling for clinical attachment, and to run a business in the host country. The tourist visa is for travelers visiting family and friends, tourism, and to receive private medical treatment. This type of visa requires you to stay in the host country for a short period of time. The time duration varies from country to country so you are suppose to find out. For example: you are required to stay in the schengen zone for a maximum of 90 days and you are required to stay in UK for a maximum of 6months. This type of visa allows you to take part in business-related activities and exchange programmes or educational visits if you are under eighteen (18). This visa does not allow you to do paid or unpaid jobs, receive public funds, marry or register civil partnership and stay for longer period than required on your visa. In some cases, you might be able to stay for longer if you traveled to the host country for medical treatment or you are an academic doing research. Another tip, if you are a family member to European citizen(spouse, children, parents) you can decide to stay and apply for resident permit according to EU rules.


This type of visa is for people traveling to the host country for work purposes. The work visa is classified into three and these are: short term work visa, long term work visa and investor and business development visa.

Short term visas are visas issued for temporal works in the host country such as: Charity Worker visa, Creative and Sporting visa, Government Authorized Exchange visa, International Agreement visa, Religious Worker visa, Seasonal Worker visa, Youth Mobility Scheme visa, Seasonal Agricultural Workers visa, Skilled and Unskilled Worker visa, Trainee visa, Intra-company Transferees visa, Artist/Entertainers visa etc. In order to be granted any types of this temporal visas it is required by your employer to file a petition to the host country’s immigration. After a case officer has made a decision on your case it will be sent to the consulate in your home country and your employer and you will be informed to go ahead to apply for the visa.

Long term visas gives the visa applicant the opportunity to stay and work in the host country for long period of time. In some countries this residency can lead to citizenship whiles others do not. You are required to find out if the country you are residing in allows it or not. Some of these visas include: Intra-company Transfer visa, Minister of Religion visa, Sports Person visa, Highly Skilled Professional visa, Diplomatic visa, Official visa(administrative and technical staffs of diplomatic missions and members of the service staff) etc. Your employer is required to file for a petition and when its approved by a case officer, you will then be allowed to apply for the visa. You are allowed to do second job in certain circumstances, travel abroad and return back on time, bring family members with you, and study as well. You are not allowed to apply for a second job until you start working for your employer and in most countries you are not allowed to own more than 10% of your sponsor’s shares.

Investor and Business development visas

These type of visas are issued to people who are traveling to the host country to start up a business or invest in a business. These include: Start up visa, Investor visa, Entrepreneur visa, innovator visa, Graduate Entrepreneur visa and Exceptional talent visa. You are allowed to bring your family members with you, work in another job as well as working in your business, switch to this visa to another visa. In some countries you are allowed to receive public funds and others do not allow. Some countries require that your start up business is endorsed by a highly recognized business organization known for sponsoring start up business before you will be granted a start up visa. Once your business has grown and entrusted by the host country you will be given the opportunity to switch from start up visa to entrepreneur visa. Entrepreneur visa gives you the opportunity to apply for settlement visa, bring your family to join you and receive public funds. In some cases you are suppose to show that your business idea is a new idea and no one is already into the same business. However, is not a requirement for all countries. Ensure that you become familiar with the requirements before applying for the visa to prevent visa refusal.


A student visa is a visa granted to foreign nationals who wish to travel to a host country for the purpose of studying, in a specific intended period. There is a variety of university programs and courses you can choose from if you want to study abroad. Enroll at the university of your choice and when you are granted an acceptance to start studying, you then have to apply for the appropriate study visa at the embassy or consulate in your home country. In case you will need to remain in the host territory for more than three months, you will be called to get a residence permit early enough after the arrival in the host country. Speaking of the appropriate time, there is no fixed period where you should make the visa application, but is highly suggested to do it early enough in advance from your planned travel to the host country. Most people who travel to study abroad do not want to go back home after studying. In this case, you have to change your residence status from student to either worker or spouse(marry to a citizen from the host country) or give birth(parent to a citizen from the host country; not all countries will allow you to settle because of your child but most does) before your student visa expire. For a short period of recreational studies, a visitor visa may be appropriate. A visitor visa permits enrollment in a short recreational course of study, which is not for credit towards a degree or academic studies. Furthermore, a foreign national can travel to participate in an Exchange Program in a host country. You will need an Exchange Visitor visa in order to travel to the host country. And you are required to apply for and be accepted into an Exchange Visitor Program through a designated sponsoring organization in the host country.


Family visas are granted to foreign nationals who wish to join their family members in the host country. A Foreign national seeking to immigrate to a host country must be sponsored by a citizen or a lawful permanent resident immediate relatives and must have an approved petition before applying for an immigrant visa. Your family members living in abroad are required to prove they will be able to sponsor you before the petition is approved. Family visas include: marriage visa, spouse visa, fiance visa, parents visa, child visa etc. Same-sex spouses are eligible for the same immigration benefits in some countries whiles others do not. You are responsible to find out from your host country if is legal and permitted. You may be eligible to apply for settlement in the host country if your partner dies. Your partner must have had a citizenship or permanent residence in the host country. When you divorce or separate from your partner, you must inform the immigration office if you hold a temporal residence permit, in order to change your residence status. If you are a permanent resident you do not have to inform the immigration office because you’ve already gained your permanent right to reside in the host country. If you are married to European union citizen, you and your spouse have the right to reside in any EU country as long as your EU partner is able to prove he/she have enough funds to support you and him/her self or studying or working or self employed in the host country. Another advantage is that, if you are already in Europe, you are allowed to apply for your residence permit from the host country without going back home to apply. You also have the right to start working and studying before your resident permit is granted. All you have to do is to apply for a social security number from the Tax Authority in the host country in order to be active in the system. Family visas lead to citizenship. You will be given a visa to enter the host country, and once you are in, you will be given a temporal residence permit for a specific period of time, then you will qualify for a permanent residence permit and finally to citizenship. In countries like Germany, UK, US and Sweden, when you are married to a citizen from these countries, you qualify to apply for citizenship after three years. When you hold parent visa, child visa, fiance visa, EU visa and any other type of settlement visa, you qualify for citizenship after five years. In other countries, the immigration laws may be different so you are responsible to find out.


Asylum visa is a type of visa granted to refugees who cannot return back home because of fear of prosecution and war. Before you will be granted this type of visa you must apply for it when you arrive in the host country and be interviewed by a case officer at the immigration. The case officer will then investigate about your case and assess whether you should be given a visa or be denied. If you are likely enough to be granted permission to live in the host country, you will be given a resident permit to live and work, and this will lead to citizenship in the future. But if your petition is denied you will be given either the opportunity to appeal or you will be ask to leave the host country as soon as possible. If you give false information on your application and the home office finds out, you will face prison sentence or will be ask to leave the host country.

I can give you this clue base on my experience: Many people who travel to abroad without documentation, first apply for asylum which takes couple of months(lets say 6 to 2 months) before a decision is made on your case. During this period, they are allowed to stay in the country until a decision is made on their case. So they play very smart to get married or give birth to a citizen of that country and they then change their residence status from refugee to spouse or parent. You can also try this if you are willing to do the same thing. But you need to understand that, whatever the outcome is, you are suppose to take full responsibility for it. In some countries, you are eligible to public funds and support whiles you wait for a decision on you case whiles others do not provide any support. Is your duty to find out. In other countries, you must wait at a refugee camp until a decision is made on your case whiles other countries, will provide you with a nice apartment or room within the city to live until a decision is made on your case. This is an overview of how asylum cases are handled around the world, now is up to you to make a thorough investigation in the country where you want to live to prevent refusal of your asylum application.


What is Schengen? “Schengen refers to the EU passport-free zone that covers most of the European countries. And is the largest free travel area in the world” (Schengenvisainfo,2019).

Schengen visa is a type of visa that allows non-EU citizens to travel to any members of the schengen states, per stay up to 90 days. Some countries do not need a visa to travel to the schengen area e.g. US citizens can travel to Europe for 3 months without a visa whiles other countries do need a visa. You are suppose to find out if you need a schengen visa before you travel in order to prevent refusal to enter into the schengen area or the plane at the airport. The Schengen visa enables it holders to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen area from any of the Schengen member countries. There are no boarder controls within the Schengen zone. However, if you want to live, work and study for more than 90 days, you are suppose to apply for national visa from that European country and not a schengen visa. If you are a frequent visitor, you can apply for up to 5 years Schengen visa but you need to keep in mind that, you are allowed to stay for 90 days period at a time. You also have the possibility to apply for either single entry visa, double entry visa or multiple entry visa. A multiple entry visa allows you to enter into the Schengen zone many times within 90 days period. There are 26 countries that have signed the Schengen agreement, that allows people to travel within the Schengen zone freely, without passing through boarder control.

The Schengen States are as follows:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein

To conclude, any other type of visa is a sub visa of one of the visas mentioned above. Is always advisable that, you know the type of visa you want to apply for as this is the first stage of your visa application process. I hope the explanation above serves you well.

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