Differences between “visa” and “passport” for traveling overseas

22 Aug 11:57

Difference between passport and visa

If you intend to travel abroad for an extended period of time, you must get a visa that is appropriate for your purpose in addition to a passport. Passports are personal identity certificates issued by each nation’s government and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and travelers’ nationality may be determined at a glance.
In contrast, a visa is an entry permission provided by the government of the visiting country to citizens of foreign nationality to allow admission. Passports and visas have distinct personalities, as do their issuers. This article contains further explanations on passports, which are required for international travel, and visas, which are required for entrance and stay in the visiting country.

What is passport?

A passport is an important document that proves a traveler’s identification and is necessary when a citizen of one’s own nation travels to another. For tourists traveling abroad, documents verifying nationality and identity, as well as an official document seeking accommodation and protection for a foreign government official, are specified. When traveling abroad and returning, you must carry your passport and display it. If you forget or lose your passport, you will not only be unable to enter the nation but will also be unable to board the flight. People who do not have a passport are unable to travel abroad in general, so make sure you have your passport with you.

Cases when passport presentation is requested

  1. Airport customs and immigration
  2. In order to apply for a visa,
  3. Getting on an overseas flight
  4. Presentation of identification card required by immigration official and/or police officer
  5. Booking a hotel room
  6. When utilizing a travel check,

What is visa?

A visa is an entrance permission granted by the government of the visiting country to citizens of foreign nationals. It is only given to those who have passed the pre-screening exam with papers and an interview. Citizens of VWP (Visa Waiver Program) member countries who wish to stay in the United States for more than 90 days must acquire a non-immigrant visa appropriate for the purpose of their visit.
“VWP (Visa Waiver Program)”
A person who is found to be ineligible for entrance to the United States by a pre-screening test is not permitted to get a visa or enter the country. Also, while it happens occasionally, there have been reports of people being denied entrance into the nation at immigration, even after receiving a visa. Other situations include it taking over a month from visa application to approval and then till the visa is issued. If you are immigrating to the United States by marrying a US citizen and seeking for permanent status, it may take roughly a year. If you want to stay in the United States for an extended amount of time, apply for a visa as soon as possible. Visas have variety and condition for acquisition depending on the destination, purpose, and staying period. For more information of visa acquisition, contact US Embassy or Immigration and Naturalization.


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!

What is ESTA?

DHS (Department of Homeland Security) introduced the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel authorisation) travel authorisation system. Its actual name is “Electronic System for Travel Authorization” and it began in January 2009. Although a visa is required for foreign national to travel to the U.S. in general, only the citizen of participating nations of the U.S. government established VWP (Visa Waiver Program) are exempted from visa acquisition, and permitted to stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days by ESTA application only. However, if staying in the United States under ESTA, the goal of the visit must be sightseeing or a short-term business trip. If you plan on remaining for more than 90 days or working, you will not be eligible for an ESTA, therefore be sure you apply for a visa. An ESTA application is also necessary for those travelling through airports in the United States. If you want to visit any countries via the United States, make sure you apply for an ESTA. As of 2022, 39 countries participate in the VWP (Visa Waiver Program).


  • Citizens of VWP-participating countries who have a criminal record due to extreme carelessness or sickness may be denied an ESTA application. In that instance, ESTA travel to the US would be prohibited; consequently, consider asking for a visa.
  • Once granted, ESTA is valid for two years; however, if your passport expires within two years, ESTA will expire on the same day as your passport. Also, ESTA will expire if a passport is reissued for marriage or a change of family name. If you want to go to the United States in the future, reapply for ESTA with a new passport.

Variety of Visa

Citizens of VWP (Visa Waiver Program) member countries can travel to the United States with only an ESTA application and no visa. However, the aim of the visit is confined to sightseeing or a short-term business trip, and the maximum stay time is 90 days. Traveling via ESTA is permissible for general sightseeing; however, if a person intends to remain for more than 90 days, being employed or an exchange student is not subject to ESTA application but is necessary for visa. Visas differ based on their function. The following visas are frequently required while visiting the United States.

What is U.S. major “Immigration visa” “Non-immigration visa” “Fiance visa”?

What is Immigration visa? (Visa for migration,Permanent residence in the U.S.)

Before applying for an immigration visa, all citizens of foreign nationals who intend to move to the United States must file a petition allowed by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). The petition must be submitted to USCIS by family members or employers who meet specified criteria. When a petition is permitted and may be processed, an application for an immigration visa or non-immigrant visa is granted.

What is non-immigration visa? (A visa for temporary stay for sightseeing,business,studying abroad)

When a foreign individual without permanent residency in the United States wishes to enter or stay in the United States temporarily, he or she may apply for a non-immigrant visa. In the United States, there are several sorts of non-immigrant visas. The type of visa to get is determined by assessing an applicant’s purpose of travel and all criteria under US immigration law. For additional information on non-immigrant visas, contact the US Embassy or Immigration and Naturalization.

What is fiance visa? (A visa for the person who engaged and decided to marry to U.S. national)

A person who is engaged to a US citizen and desires to remain in the US permanently after marriage must get a K-1 visa (Fiance visa). The following are the requirements for K-1 visa applications.

Conditions for applying for a K-1 visa

  • One of the pair must be a US citizen.
  • The couple must be in a legal position to marry, and both must be currently unmarried.
  • A couple must be seeing each other, have a relationship history, and both consent to marry.
  • After obtaining a K-1 visa, the fiance must plan to marry within 90 days of entering the United States.

Non-immigration visa in common

If you received a “Travel authorization declined” notice as a consequence of your ESTA application, you might consider applying for a visa. For general sightseeing or short-term business trips, a standard B-visa (non-immigrant visa) is advised. A passport must be shown when applying for a visa. When visiting the US embassy or Immigration and Naturalization, make sure you bring your passport.

Major visas for different purposes to U.S. visit

The cases of U.S. visit by B-visa (Business / Sightseeing)

Athletes, Amateurs and Professionals (Attending the games with prize money only)
Servant・House maid・Babysitter (Must be a employment for no value of the wage)
Visit for sightseeing・Pleasure

The most prevalent non-immigrant visa is the B-visa. If your ESTA travel permission is denied, you should try applying for a B-visa.

The cases of U.S. visit by A-visa (Government Officials / Public Minister visa)

Diplomats and foreign government representatives at A-1
A-2 Foreign military force and its personnel stationed in the United States (NATO1-6)

Diplomats, soldiers, and government officials are the primary purchasers.

C-visa (Visa for transit / transfer)

C-1,C-2,C-3Transportation in the U.S.
Border Crossing Card (BCC): Mexico

C-visa is a needed visa for transiting through the United States at an airport. It is needed to obtain it if going to certain countries via the United States without an ESTA.

D-visa (Crewmember visa)

Crewmember D

A visa for a foreign ship or aircraft crewmember traveling to or transiting through the United States.

E-visa (Expat visa)

Treaty trader E-1
Investor under the E-2 Treaty
Northern Mariana Islands are the only E-2C Treaty investors.
E-3 Australian employee

A visa is essential for anybody coming to the United States as a trading or investment expat. E-visas are valid for five years and are typically awarded to managers or technical specialists.

F-visa (Student visa)

F-1 Student (Student with language studies)
F-1 family member accompanying a student
A family member of an F-2 F-visa holder is traveling with them.

A visa is necessary for international students attending a university, graduate school, college, high school, or language school in the United States. Most students who travel to the United States to study must get an F-visa.

H-visa (work visa)

H-1B Physician
Chili H-1B1 Free Trade Agreements (FTA) Specialist
Singapore H-1B1 Free Trade Agreements (FTA) Specialist
H-1CNurses traveling to locations where medical personnel are in limited supply
H-1BTemporary worker (agricultural or agriculture-related industry)
H-2ASpecialized labor in an area that necessitates considerable knowledge.
H-2BTemporary worker (Non-agricultural)
H-3 Take part in a training program that does not have employment as its primary goal.

A visa issued for local employment by various companies and organizations in the U.S. The person applying for H1-visa is required for obtaining bachelor’s degree or license related to the profession.

I-visa (Journalist visa)

Representative representing the news media

A press visa is provided to those who work as journalists in the United States.

J-visa (Exchange visitor visa)
J-1 Physician
J-1 Exchange guest Au pair (Mother’s assistance)
Professor, Scholar, or Teacher on J-1 Visa
J-1 A visa holder’s minor child (under the age of 21)
J-2 Partner

A visa that allows you to visit the United States for a limited time in order to demonstrate or teach particular skills through family exchange or homestay.

K-visa (Fiance visa)
The individual who is married to a US citizen

A visa for a person who is engaged to a US citizen and intends to marry and live in the US as a permanent resident.

L-visa (Intra-company transferee visa)

Employee transferred within the firm

A visa is required for employees who are temporarily relocating to headquarters, branches, and other associated firms in the United States. It is primarily for professionals and managers, although it varies from E-visa in that it considers transfers inside the organization.

M-visa (Job trainee visa)

Student M-1
Job trainee M-1
M-1 Student’s family member is accompanying him.
A family member of an M-2 visa holder is traveling with them.

A visa granted to a student who is pursuing professional training in the United States. A family member traveling with the visa holder is also able to get a visa.

G-visa (NATO, International organization visa)

A visa for NATO personnel and members of international organizations that differs from a standard non-immigrant visa. It is necessary when visiting the United States for public service or a conference of an international organization.

O-visa (Special skill visa)

A visa granted to a foreign individual who demonstrates exceptional skill and results in the fields of science, art, education, business, or sports.

P-visa (Sports, art, one with special skill visa)

P-1,P-2,P-3,P-4A visa is granted to a foreign national who is an athlete, artist, or somebody in the entertainment industry with exceptional international talent.

Q-visa (International exchange visa)

Q-1 A visa is mostly granted to those who are visiting the United States as part of an international cultural exchange.

R-visa (Religious occupation visa)

A visa that is mostly provided to foreign nationals who come to the United States for religious purposes or to provide humanitarian assistance.


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!

Other related information

How long is it to receive visa since applied?

There are many different types of visas, and the time between applying for one and receiving one varies.
If you apply for the most frequent B-2 visa, you will receive a visa-attached passport within two weeks of completing an interview at the US embassy or Immigration and Naturalization. From visa application to acquisition, it is projected to take more than a month: a week to prepare essential papers for visa application, two weeks to have interview at US embassy or Immigration and Naturalization, and another two weeks from examination to visa issuance. However, if further procedures are necessary due to irregularities in supplied documents, it takes longer. The individual wishing to acquire a visa should make it clear why they are visiting the United States and submit their application as soon as possible by calling the US embassy or Immigration and Naturalization.

Although a visa is an authority to remain at the destination, the immigration official at the arriving airport makes the decision on admission. Please be aware that obtaining a visa does not guarantee your stay in the United States.
Due to the impact of a COVID-19 pandemic breakout, each country’s embassy, consulate general, and Immigration and Naturalization are now limiting visa acceptance tasks. If you want to apply for a visa, please be sure to check the most recent information because the method of setting an appointment for an interview or the application conditions may have changed.


Do You Have U.S. ESTA VISA Travel Authorization? If You Have ESTA Application, Check if it is Still Valid!