Traditional Visas vs. eVisas: What to Know

Traveling broadens our horizons in so many ways that it may be difficult to list them all. From getting to know different people, cultures and customs, to taking in all breathtaking views – it truly is a remarkable experience.

The word 'travel' is believed to have been first used in the 14th century, yet travel started way before that. The first people to explore the world, besides researchers and explorers, were regular people with a sense of curiosity. Greeks and Romans visited their vacation homes purely for leisure but despite traveling for recreational purposes – people also had a keen interest in learning more about the world.

As soon as the railway developed, traveling became easier and more accessible. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in 2018 alone, nearly 1.5 billion international tourists traveled the world. Compared to 1950, when that number was just 25 million – the increase is significant!

Nowadays, traveling is more complex and often requires obtaining appropriate entry permits – and the golden ticket to making it work is a visa. Read on to learn more about how travel visas work, and how handling the process can be more effortless than you think.

What is a travel visa?

A travel visa is an official document, which allows its holder to enter a specified foreign country. It may come in the traditional form of a stamp in your passport, or the increasingly common electronic form. Visas come in different types and variations – but the main distinction is between short-term and long-term visas.

Short-term travel permits are usually issued for leisure, business, or transit purposes. Long-term visas serve those who want to live in a foreign country for an extended period of time, whether it be for work, study, or to join a partner abroad. Short-term travel visas are now issued in electronic form, making the whole visa handling process much more seamless.

Luckily, there are great services available for visas if you need them quickly. eVisa Express is one of the world's top eVisa providers – offering over 50 different visas for destinations across the globe – which only takes minutes to apply for. Once you've applied, the visa is finalized and emailed to you in just a few days, making it a great solution for last minute trips. With that in mind, here are a few additional tips before applying for your first visa:

10 things to know about travel visas

Traditional Travel Visas vs. Electronic Visas

As mentioned earlier, visas come in both the traditional form and the electronic form. But how do they differ? The main difference comes down to the application process. Traditional visas require a visit to a specified Embassy, going through visa interviews, and can take weeks to approve. On the contrary, eVisas are obtained entirely online with just a few clicks and minimal paperwork – plus no Embassy or Consulate visits are required. Travelers simply apply using a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. All you really need is a working device with an internet connection.

How Do I Know if I Need a Visa?

This all comes down to research and planning. Be sure to do your homework before booking a flight, and check if a visa is required before attempting to cross a border. Whether you need a visa depends on a few factors: your nationality, and the selected destination’s visa requirements. If possible, start looking into the requirements a few weeks ahead, to ensure that you have the appropriate amount of time to get your visa in order.

Travel Visa Requirements

If you need a visa to visit your desired country, the next step is checking the specific visa requirements. When applying for an eVisa, the requirements are minimal, and usually only require a valid passport. If the destination of choice does not use an electronic visa system, or your nationality does not make you eligible, you will most likely need to prepare an extensive list of documents including: proof of sufficient funds for the trip, an itinerary, airline tickets, passport-like photographs of yourself, invitations and/or letters or more.

Various Travel Visa Types

Now that we know visas are distinguished by long-term and short-term, and traditional vs. electronic, let's look into further distinctions. Travel visas are short-term documents that are obtained at an Embassy or online. A country’s government stipulates how many travel visas and types they will offer per year. A travel visa may come in the form of a single-entry, double-entry, or even multiple-entry permit. There are different validity periods and different lengths of permitted stay, varying from a few days to a few months. Be sure to keep these details in mind before applying for your visa!

Travel Visa Application Process

Again, depending on whether you're applying online or via an Embassy, the application process will differ. Applying for a traditional visa will require acquiring extensive amounts of documents. Moreover, applicants must meet numerous requirements and wait for approval. Sometimes, your country of choice may require a visa interview as well.

If you can obtain an eVisa, the whole process can be simplified to a few steps:

  1. Fill out the application online, including basic personal and travel details.

  2. Submit your payment.

  3. Wait for the approved eVisa to be delivered via email.

Processing Times

Travel visa processing times may vary depending on which country you've determined as your final destination. To shorten the process, your best route is to apply for an electronic visa. eVisas are usually approved within a maximum of 72 hours (3 business days), and the processed documents are delivered straight to your inbox in the form of a PDF.

Travel Visa Costs

Covering the costs of issuing your travel visa comes after submitting your application. If you decide to apply online, covering the fees is as effortless as the application itself. All you have to do is select your preferred online payment method – whether credit/debit card, PayPal, PayU, among others. Whereas traditional travel visa fees must be paid at the Embassy or Consulate once you’ve submitted your application.

Embassy Visits

Embassy visits are only required when applying for a traditional travel visa. Thus, if your nationality makes you eligible, using the electronic visa system will be easier. Not having to visit an Embassy not only saves your time, but your money!

Receiving the Approved Travel Visa

Once your travel visa is approved, it’s time to start packing and for your dream destination! If you've applied traditionally, visit the Embassy and collect your travel permit. If you went the eVisa route, simply print out the PDF file and have it available on your phone.

Travel Visa Extensions

Can travel visas be extended? Again, that depends on the destination you’re headed to. Some countries do allow travelers to extend their visas, while others do not. If you think you might extend your trip, it's best to do some research before heading out. Moreover, be sure to not overstay the validity period without the appropriate extension or reissued travel visa.

Benefits of using electronic visas

Electronic visas have been growing in popularity and make handling the application process so much easier. Moreover, applying online comes with numerous benefits:

  • Three step application process

  • Apply from any working device

  • Customer support availability, from a provider like eVisa Express

  • No Embassy visits

  • Electronic approval straight to your inbox

  • Short processing time

  • Minimal requirements for most destinations

  • Saving time and money!

Final thoughts

When planning your next trip, be sure to check if your destination uses an eVisa system. Apply within minutes from home, or at work, and get approved in just a few days! We hope this helps guide you through your first visa application! Happy travels!