Travel Visas: All You Need To Know

  1. Contrary to the expression that what is good for the goose is good for the gander, people have different reasons for leaving their home countries for other foreign countries. While some relocate on the basis of work, others do so for the fun of it. A very good percentage also obtain visas in pursuit of an educational degree. By implication, there are different types of visas for different purposes.  

Depending on the country, there are lots of visa travel visa packages to choose from. The Schengen visa, the student visa, the immigration visa are just a few of these travel visas. A work visa has been proven to be one of the most difficult to obtain due to the fact that each country wants its business sector owned and run by its citizens.

Most countries of the world do not just offer one type of travel visa. A single country could offer all types ranging from work, Schengen and tourist visas, to student, residence and start-up visas. Irrespective of this, the travel visa type to obtain depends on your reason for traveling to that particular country. Thus, it is important to have the right kind of visa with you. Let us take a look at the different kinds of visas in different countries.

1) The Schengen Visa

Talk about a one-access-all visa! It is one thing to gain access into any country of your choice. It is another thing to kill more than two birds with a stone by visiting other countries with the same visa. Well, say hello to the Schengen European visa. The statement “one-access-all” could be a bit of an overstatement but the Schengen visa is worth it and more. 

What Is a Schengen Visa?

A Schengen visa is a European visa which gives the holder the rare opportunity of touring the Schengen countries. The Schengen area constitutes a total of 26 European countries. These countries include Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, Norway, Netherlands, Malta, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Italy, Iceland and Hungary.

The Schengen visa allows you to visit and stay in the country for a total of 180 days. Of these 180 days however, you can decide to visit other Schengen countries in the area for 90 days.

Can I Visit Non-Schengen Countries with a Schengen Visa?

Of all the European travel visas, the Schengen visa is one which allows you to visit other countries which are not situated within the Schengen area. The list of countries which can be visited with a Schengen visa are Serbia, Turkey, Romania, Sao Tome & Principe, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Croatia, Colombia, Gibraltar, Georgia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Belarus, Antigua and Barbuda.

When Can A Schengen Visa be Used?

A Schengen visa comes in handy when traveling to Europe for the following reasons:

  • Business visits
  • Touring
  • Friendly visits
  • Medical visits
  • Short term study

What are the different types of Schengen visas?

The type of Schengen visa being issued depends on the number of entries into the Schengen country as well as the number of countries the visa allows you to visit. These are the uniform Schengen visa [USV] and the Limited Territorial Validity Visa [LTV].

Uniform Schengen visa [USV]

With a USV, the holder can stay in the country for a period of 90 days in every six months. The USV is further classified into:

  • the Multiple Entry visa which allows the older a limitation free entry and exit from the Schengen area, provided the visa remains valid.
  • Double entry visa which allows the holder to enter and leave the country twice within the validity period of the visa.
  • Single entry visa which allows you to gain entry into the country just once. With this type of visa, it is advisable to enter the country and stay until the visa expires before leaving as there won’t be an opportunity for a second entry.

Limited Territorial Validity Visa [LTV]

LTV visa allows you to only travel within the issuing European country. Simply put you are not allowed to travel from one member country to another even within the Schengen area. 

See the guidelines on how to apply for a Schengen visa here.

2) The Start-Up Visa

The start-up visa is also known as the Entrepreneur visa. This type of travel visa allows you to set up a business in another country, with the option of temporary [conditional] residency. The start-up visa can be converted into a permanent residency visa, provided certain conditions are met.

The British Start-Up Visa

The UK start-up visa was launched on the 29th of March, 2019. The program was designed with the aim of providing an avenue for aspiring and ambitious entrepreneurs that are non-nationals to set up their business in the United Kingdom. The visa has an initial validity period of two years, after which it can be changed or upgraded to an “Innovator visa”. The latter allows the Entrepreneur/card holder to extend their stay and work on developing their business.


What are the Requirements for Obtaining a UK Start-Up Visa?

In order to obtain a British start up visa, applicants are expected to:

  • Meet the English language requirement of at least B2 level.
  • Be endorsed by an authorized body.
  • Provide proof of endorsement such as an endorsement letter issued by the authorized body.
  • Be a new entrepreneur in the UK.
  • Be at least 18 years old.

The Canadian Start-Up Visa.

The ability to start a business in Canada is quite dependent on the admissibility requirements. By implication, if you have been found inadmissible to Canada, your Start-Up visa application would naturally fall through. However, if the reverse is the case, all that is left to do is meet all eligibility criteria to apply for a Canadian startup visa.

Source: immigration. ca
  • What are the Eligibility Requirements for a Canadian Start-Up Visa?

  • You must have a pre-existing “qualifying” business.
  • You must meet all the language requirements. 
  •  In contrast to the UK start of visa, you must have enough money to settle in Canada first.
  • A letter of support from an authorized organization is of essence.

Note that innovative businesses which can create more jobs for the citizens and can compete with other global businesses are Canada’s main targets.

Get detailed information on the eligibility criteria for a Canadian Start-up visa here.

The Dutch Start-Up Visa

In order to qualify for a startup visa in the Netherlands, you need to take note of what it really entails.


A Dutch Start-Up Visa is a temporary residence permit designed for foreigners living outside the European Union to start a business in the Netherlands. This visa is valid for a maximum period of 12 months. The Dutch Start-up visa involves a compulsory partnership deal between you, the business owner and a facilitator, that is a mentor who would guide and assist with operations management, research, marketing and so on. A facilitator/ business mentor must possess the following qualities:

  • Financial stability
  • Relevant experience in building startups
  • Free of bankruptcy
  • Minority interest in the startup company
  • Must not be related to the business owner [up to the third degree].

How do I qualify for a Dutch startup visa?

The eligibility criteria for a Dutch startup visa as stated below:

  • Walking hand in hand with a business facilitator is a compulsory question.
  • The products for your start-up must be innovative and capable of competing on a global level.
  • Both the Start-Up Entrepreneur and Facilitator must be duly registered into the Business Register of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce [KVK].
  • The Start-up Entrepreneur must have enough money to live in the Netherlands for the stipulated period of time.

Have you seen this article on the different start of visas in the United states?

The Estonian Start-up Visa

Hello Engineers! Have you been considering taking your tech business to the next level? Then you really might want to apply for the Estonian start-up visa. Estonia, the only country with a formidable E-residency program, is also popular for its interest in tech startups. The Estonian start-up visa is targeted at technology based innovative start-up ideas. The visa which lasts for a period of one year comes with its own share of benefits such as investment opportunities, free access to high government services as well as tax and credit benefits. The Estonian startup visa can have its validity extended for an additional six months.


Eligibility Requirements to Obtain an Estonian Start-Up visa

  • The startup idea must be tech driven and innovative.
  • The business must be capable of solving global problems and serving a major percentage of the population.
  • The business must have the tendency of competing with us others in a global market.

The Estonian startup visa program is very similar to Latvia’s except for a few but major differences such as the visa validity which is 36 months in the latter, the higher visa fees in Latvia as well as some extra benefits attached to an Estonian Start-up visa which are missing in a Latvian Start-up visa.

There are other countries of the world which startup visa programs worth looking into include Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain among others.

See also: the STEP program in Ireland.

3) The Student Visa

A student visa is primarily used for the sole purpose of studying in a foreign country. Needless to say, if your reason for leaving your home country for a foreign country is to pursue an educational degree, what you need is a student visa. Each country differs in its immigration rules and this doesn’t exclude a student visa. Although the USA student visa has been the top choice for several years now, there are certain aspects of a student visa on which different countries of the world share a common ground.


 When can I Apply for a Student Visa?

To start with, obtaining a student visa is not a day’s job and more often than not, comes in later than expected. There is a lot of meticulous planning involved so all applicants are advised to apply for a student visa four months in advance. For those seeking scholarships, a couple of extra months should be added to avoid any last minute rush.

What are the Student Visa Requirements?

As stated earlier, different countries are distinguished by their own visa requirements. Still, the absence of certain requirement would make a student visa application fall through irrespective of the country. These are:

Language Proficiency Test

Before relocating to a foreign country, it is only natural to ensure that you can communicate effectively with its inhabitants. While most countries wouldn’t force applicants into studying their native languages, being able to communicate in English language [at least] is essential. Thus, one of the basic visa requirements for most countries is the ability to pass the language proficiency test such as TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE. There are usually minimum scores in each of these tests for applicants.

Financial Stability

Students studying in foreign countries are expected to fund their education, except stated otherwise [scholarships, financial aids, educational loans]. As such, each applicant must be able to provide proof of being able to take care of all expenses including tuition, accommodation and so on for the stipulated period of study. While some countries give details of the stipulated amounts of funds required, others do not.

Studentship Status

All countries demand proof of being a bonafide student as a prerequisite to applying for a student visa. The proof is usually in the form of a confirmation of admission with an educational institute in the issuing country.

A Valid Passport

This is basic knowledge. Any visit to a foreign country definitely requires a valid passport. The validity of these passports may however, differ from one country to another.

What Type of Student Visa Do I Need to Apply for?

Student visas are broadly classified into two categories: 

  • the short term student visas which are often issued for students applying for short timespan courses such as a diploma certificate course and 
  • long term visas which are issued to students taking up a long timespan course such as degree courses which would extend beyond three months. It all depends on your preferred course of study.

Check out this article on the most affordable countries to study.

4) The Work Visa

The work visa is usually one of the hardest travel visas to obtain. This represents the holder’s authorization to be employed in a foreign country. While some work visas are issued as a whole document, others are issued in the form of a stamp in their passport. More often than not, a work visa is usually a temporary agreement which can be renewed overtime.

The need for a work visa isn’t limited to paid jobs alone. Depending on the country, volunteering jobs and internships could also require a work visa. The rules regarding work visas vary from one country to another.

Check out:

The US temporary work visa

The Australian work visa

The Canadian work visa.

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  1. The world is continuously becoming even a smaller global village. The new trend of StartUp visa is very encouraging, especially for young entrepreneurs from developing nations who need to access opportunities in developed countries. Who could have thought, 10 years ago, that one could be legally resident of another country even though they haven’t been there before – e-residence visa makes that possible today.

    Thanks for the detailed insight, @Tee-Eff-Kay

  2. I totally agree with you @Wohks
    E-residency is just dope in all its entirety. Remember, you even get an Identity card, issued by the Government. E-residency is an intelligent and more economical way to explore the world. A Digital Nomad Visa is also worth looking into. Although it doesn’t give one the right to permanent residency, you still get to live on a stable income even from the comforts of your home. That, coupled with a temporary stay permit. It’s a very good starting point of you ask me