A Visa is a document that legally allows someone to enter the territory for which it was issued for a certain amount of time.  Sometimes it is a document, but it is more commonly a stamp on the applicant’s passport.  While the passport is issued by the traveler’s country of citizenship, the Visa is issued by the country you wish to visit.

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If you are a U.S. citizen, you must obtain a Visa before traveling to many other countries, although it’s not always necessary; the requirements for obtaining a Visa vary by country. The Visa would be issued by the embassy of the country you wish to visit. The Bureau of Consular Affairs provides a list of specific Visa requirements by country.  One hundred-seventeen countries allow Visa-free tourist travel to U.S. citizens.  Some countries make visitors apply for Visas in advance and most Visa-free policies last for 90 days.  It’s best to know exactly what sort of Visa you need before making travel plans.

In addition to tourist Visas, there are work Visas, student Visas, and volunteer Visas. The eligibility and application requirements for each type of Visa is determined by the country you are visiting. For more information on the Visa requirements for the country you plan to visit, the U.S. Department of State provides a list of countries around the world and their Visa requirements for U.S. citizens.  

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