A visa is a document indicating that the holder has been authorized to enter or transit the country or territory for which it has been issued. A visa does not guarantee admission to that country. The final decision rests with the immigration officer at the port of entry.
E-visas are electronic visas applied for online, without the need for a visa to be affixed in a passport. Depending on the country of issue, successful applicants will need to hold:
1. A printed copy of the visa that has been issued or
2. A printed confirmation letter stating that a visa has been issued or
3. No documentation, with the airlines required to confirm, electronically, that the visa has been issued.
Different visas are issued for different purposes of travel and the purpose of travel must correspond with the type of the visa issued. For example, a Crew Visa should not be used for the holder to enter the country as a tourist.
Schengen visas: the Schengen agreement is an agreement to remove immigration controls for travel within the collective territory of the Member States, effectively creating a “borderless” region, known as the “Schengen Area”.
- Type A airport transit visa: required for those nationals who cannot use the TWV facility, being in direct transit through a Schengen Member State when arriving from and departing to NON-Schengen countries. Leaving the transit area is not allowed.
- Type C: for transit through or short stay in the territory of the Schengen Member State (max. 90 days in a 180 day period from the first date of entry into the Schengen area).
- Type D long stay national visa: this is not a Schengen visa but a visa issued for a longer period by an individual Schengen Member State and is indicated as being only valid for the country of issue. Within the validity period of the visa, “D” visas allow unrestricted, multiple entries into the issuing Member State for a max. stay of 90 days in a 180 day period.
A visa exemption can depend on the purpose of the visit. The term “tourists” implies those travelling for leisure or for social reasons, such as visiting family and friends. The term “business” implies those travelling to attend business meetings, conferences, exhibitions and similar activities, as long as there is no salary or income earned from a source within the country or territory being visited. The term” duty” implies those travelling on behalf of an international organisation, government officials, aircrew, merchant seamen and military personnel travelling to carry out their duties.
International Transit: travelling through an airport to board a connecting flight to a third country without leaving the international transit area of the airport.Passengers who are visa exempt to enter a country are also visa exempt to transit. When passengers need a visa to enter a country, they are allowed to transit:
– with a transit visa or
– if they meet all the conditions listed in the Transit Without Visa section below.
Transit Without Visa: travelling through an airport without a transit visa to board a connecting flight. Except for countries where some of the following conditions are not listed, passengers in TWV must:
1. stay in the international transit area
2. travel to a third country within the maximum allowed transit time
3. have a confirmed onward ticket and documents required for their next country of transit or destination.
Schengen TWV: the Schengen area is a group of 26 countries that agreed to remove border controls between its members. Flights between Schengen Member States are considered domestic; passengers are allowed to travel without clearing immigration.
Note, that immigration authorities may request visitors and transit passengers to prove that they will depart from the country, within the prescribed period, by showing a return or onward ticket to their next international destination. Unless states otherwise return/onward ticket is defined as:
1) International airline ticket
2) Evidence of departing from the country by other means of transportation (e.g. a confirmation of joining a cruise, train, bus or ferry tickets, proof of departing by private boat or plane etc.)