Different ways countries issue visas

Author: Visa-Adviser

Breakdown of most popular ways that people get visas.

Visa Adviser compiled a list of countries and how they issue visas to individuals applying for entry from outside of the country. The following summarizes the different ways a traveler may apply for their visas before they enter a destination country. This discussion specifically excludes the application processes for changing visa category when one is already in the country of destination.

In person. In person submissions mean the individual applicant is required to appear in person to attend an interview and/or to provide fingerprinting before they can be approved for the visa.  Currently there are approximately 56 countries that require visa applicants to appear in person. The United States, for instance, requires all visa applicants within a certain age range, to appear for a visa interview for their first visa. Similarly, European Union countries also require an in-person visa appointment and interview where a visa is needed.  Other countries where an in-person visa interview is required include: Costa Rica, Albania, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Kazakhstan, North and South Korea, Kosovo, Mexico, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Nicaragua, Peru, South Africa, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Notice, we are leaving out countries where online visa applications are permitted in lieu of a physical visa application, like Angola.

By mail.  These are countries that allow the visa applicant to submit their application by sending it in the mail. Currently there are approximately 95 countries that allow visa applicants to mail in their visa applications. They will also be able to receive their visa approval by mail without taking any additional steps to secure their visas.

By email. There are approximately ten countries or territories that allow the visa applicant to submit their visa application by email, and to receive the same approval by email. These countries include Tuvalu, Vietnam, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and the Solomon Islands.

On arrival. Currently there are 48 countries that allow visas upon arrival. This means the individual traveler may show up at the border control of their country of destination and a visa is issued on the spot. Some airlines may not allow an individual to board even if they can get a visa on arrival. For instance, the author was flying from Florianopolis, Brazil, to Ascuncion, Paraguay on TAM. Even though visa upon arrival is available for U.S. Citizens at the Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, she was denied boarding. However, in another instance of visa on arrival, the author was able to board a Swiss Air flight from Nice to Istanbul without incident, even though she did not have a Turkish sticker visa before entry.  Check with your airline well before your departure date to ensure they have the visa information on visa on arrival to ensure you will be allowed to board your flight.

Online. Currently there are 47 countries that allow travellers to get visas online. Among these include India, Angola, and Australia. This is a process where the visa application and approval are completed totally online, with the visa approval confirmation being sent electronically to the applicant. With this electronic approval, the applicant can enter the country without a need for a sticker visa. Online processes are similar to paper-processes in that the required documentation is still uploaded electronically, including passport photos. More and more countries each year are issuing visas online, making travel easier for everyone.  

You may check the for the latest visa on arrival and online visa ability for your country of destination through the Visa AdviserĀ® Android or Web App.

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