Our homes are not defined by geography or one particular location, but by memories, events, people, and places that span the globe.

Marilyn Gardner

Dear Traveler,

If you have never obtained a visa before, you may be curious about how visas work. A visa is an official document that will allow you to legally enter and be in another country. I’ve had a number of visas in my lifetime, and will probably have several more as I continue to explore the world.

First, your passport comes with some visas already built in, including the Schengen visa. This allows you to visit the majority of Europe without additional paperwork for a stay of up to 90 days. That means you can be a tourist for three months without having to file or apply for a visa. Other countries allow you to visit for a limited number of days as well.

When you do have to apply for a visa, however, you’ll have to decide what type of visa is right for your situation. Whether you are living abroad for work, retirement, studies, to open or run a business, or to rejoin family members, you must inform the country that you are arriving. Each type of visa requires different documents and certifications.

For example, a work visa usually requires a job offer from a company that has determined that your qualifications are unique and necessary for the business. Student visas require enrollment paperwork from an approved school or university. Retirement visas often focus on independent financial means that imply that you will not be working in your host country. Family member visas require proof of familial relationships and may also require some sort of interview process.

Almost all visas will require a few common things: Financial records or financial support documents, documentation proving no criminal records, and health documentation or certification. Your host country doesn’t want you to arrive and then promptly require financial or health support.

Additionally, in some countries, there is a new visa available, often called the digital nomad visa. Both the digital nomad and business visas have specific tax brackets and requirements because you will be participating in your new country’s economic success. Be aware, though, a digital nomad visa is a new type of visa and you may need legal support to apply successfully.

As you might imagine, visas are unique to each country, so you will need to visit the embassy or consulate web page for your goal country. Be careful to read the details for each visa closely! You’ll also need to organize quite a few documents in the process, so labelling your visa application sections clearly really helps the embassy or consulate accept your application.

There’s so much more to cover on this topic, but don’t be discouraged! Applying for a visa is often an exercise in both patience and perserverence. Take it from someone who has experienced the visa process multiple times: you can do this!

Keep exploring!

The Clever Expat

We can help with your visa planning!

We can help! Before hiring expensive lawyers to manage your visa process, you can join our LIVE course on preparing your visa paperwork! The goal is to equips you with the knowledge and strategies to confidently manage your visa application process, ensuring a smooth transition to your new expat life!

🤞 Don’t miss these tips!

CleverExpat.com is your source for great expat lifestyle tips and tricks! Join the mailing list to learn how to make your expat dreams a reality.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy