Tourism is an integral part of economic development across the world. However, most people traveling to foreign countries need to apply for a tourist visa.
What Is a Tourist Visa?
Tourist visas are official travel documents issued to foreign visitors for leisure purposes. For example, if you are from India and want to visit the US, you need to apply for a tourist visa. Every country regulates its visa policy for tourists, and their corresponding embassies and consulates will help you obtain a visa for short-term visits.
Tourist Visa Guidelines
While you are visiting a foreign country under a tourist visa, you must keep in mind the following rules:
- You cannot work with a tourist visa.
- You cannot do business under a tourist visa.
- You cannot study while you have a tourist visa.
- You cannot become a permanent resident with a tourist visa.
Most Popular Tourist Visas
Here is a list of some of the most popular tourist visas:
- The Schengen Visa
- US Tourist Visa
- Australia Tourist Visa
- Canada Tourist Visa
- Chile Tourist Visa
- Costa Rica Tourist Visa
- Indonesia Tourist Visa
- Israel Tourist Visa
- Japan Tourist Visa
- Mexico Tourist Visa
- Taiwan Tourist Visa
- Thailand Tourist Visa
- UK Tourist Visa
- Vietnam Tourist Visa
How to Apply for a Tourist Visa?
To apply for a tourist visa, you need to follow these steps:
- Locate an embassy/consulate.
- Assemble the documents required.
- Pay the required tourist visa fee.
- Attend the visa interview.
Locate an embassy/consulate
You have to find an embassy or consulate of your destination country near you which can issue visas— keep in mind that an embassy and consulate are not the same. Either way, once you find the correct visa office, you have to make an appointment to submit your application.
Assemble the documents required
To submit a successful tourist visa application, you need to prepare your documents. If your documents are only in your native language, you must translate them as per the consulate’s instructions. Plus, some civil documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and so on may require an apostille stamp.
Pay the required tourist visa fee
To have your application processed, you need to pay the required visa fee— the amount of which varies depending on your destination. Some embassies require you to pay the fee before attending the visa interview, while others may ask to pay the same day.
Attend the visa interview
Once you have prepared your application documents, you can attend the interview. You will be asked questions about your trip, the reasons for your visit, your plans, and how long you will be staying in the country. The interview is required so that the embassy can see you do not plan on overstaying.
Documents Required for a Tourist Visa
Generally speaking, you need to prepare the following documents of a tourist visa application:
- Tourist visa application form.
- Passport with six or three months validity period.
- Passport pictures.
- Valid travel insurance.
- Evidence of financial means.
- Proof of accommodation.
- Proof of a booked return flight ticket.
- Proof of paid visa fee.
- Invitation letter.
- Civil documents (marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.)
- Any other supporting documents.
How Long Is a Tourist Visa?
A tourist visa is usually issued for 30 days. However, some countries may issue a tourist visa for a year with multiple entries— still, you’re allowed to stay only 30 days per entry.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Tourist Visa?
Tourist visa applications are usually processed within two weeks. But, the processing time may take less or more than two weeks— it depends on your home residence, the season, and the embassy’s workload.
Tourist Visa Cost
A tourist visa can cost between $25 and $160, depending on which country you visit. Sometimes, the visa application fee may not cost that much, but you must pay other service and translation fees.
Tourist Visa Fees by Country
Here are the fees of tourist visas in some of the most visited countries worldwide:
|Country||Cost of Tourist Visa|
|The United States||USD 160|
|The United Kingdom||GBP 89|
|Schengen visa (valid for all Schengen countries)||EUR 80|
Can You Extend a Tourist Visa?
In most cases, you cannot extend a tourist visa unless one of the following applies to you:
- You have an unexpected family matter (birth, illness, death, etc.).
- There is a complex political situation in your country, making it dangerous to go back.
- There is an unexpected problem due to ‘Force Majeure,’ i.e., storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.
How Many Times Can I Apply for a Tourist Visa?
There is usually no limit to how many times you can apply for a tourist visa— as long as you meet the requirements and you’ve respected the guidelines of your previous visas.
Is the Schengen Visa the Same as a Tourist Visa?
A Schengen visa is very similar to a tourist visa. However, unlike other traditional visas, the Schengen permit (C visa) allows you to visit any country within the Schengen area— provided that your visa is valid.
Tourist Visa Denial
Your tourist visa application can be denied for any of the following reasons:
- You provided false information on your visa application.
- Your passport is not up-to-date as per the embassy’s requirements.
- You submitted an incomplete application.
- You have been convicted of a serious crime.
- Your destination country previously deported you for violating visa rules.
Online Tourist Visa
In recent years, several countries have adopted eVisas and electronic travel authorizations to make tourism easier for foreign visitors. For an online visa, you can complete the process via the internet without going to an embassy or consulate and the visa is usually issued within 24 hours.