Visa Glossary


Adjustment Of Status

'Adjustment of Status' is a process in the United States for an individual to change their legal status from a non-immigrant (like a tourist or student) to a permanent resident (green card holder). This process is crucial for those who decide to reside permanently in the U.S. and is typically pursued without returning to their home country.

Administrative Processing

Administrative Processing' is a commonly used term in the context of visa applications, particularly by the U.S. Department of State, to describe a situation where an application requires additional time for decision-making beyond the usual processing period.


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Asylum is the protection offered by a country to an individual who has fled their own country, providing them a safe place to reside, usually because they were in danger of being hurt or treated badly. This could be because of their race, religion, nationality, being part of a certain social group, or their political opinions. Countries that agree to provide asylum ensure that the person can live safely without fear of being sent back to where they were in danger.


Background Check

A 'Background Check' is a process used by the governmental authorities to verify that a person is who they claim to be. This process involves looking into the criminal records, financial history, and even past employment to ensure the safety and reliability of the individual for a specific purpose, such as visa application.

Bilateral Agreement

A 'Bilateral Agreement' in the context of visas is a mutual agreement between two countries, often pertaining to visa policies. These agreements can include visa waivers, simplified visa application processes, or specific visa types, aiming to facilitate easier travel or residency options for citizens of the involved countries.


Biometrics in the context of visa applications refers to the collection and verification of unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints and facial features, for identity verification purposes. This technology is widely used by immigration authorities to enhance security, prevent identity fraud, and streamline the visa application process.

Bona Fide

'Bona Fide' in the context of visas and immigration refers to the genuine and sincere intention behind an applicant’s reason for travel or immigration, without any intent of deceit or fraud. For instance, a bona fide tourist visa applicant genuinely intends to visit for tourism purposes only and not to seek employment or stay indefinitely.

Border Control

Border control is a set of rules and regulations enforced at entry and exit points to regulate the movement of people, animals, and goods.

Business Visa

A 'Business Visa' is a type of visa specifically intended for individuals engaging in business activities, such as meetings, conferences, or short-term training, in a foreign country. Unlike work visas, it doesn't permit employment by an organization in the host country but allows for business-related travel for a limited period.



Citizenship is like being part of a big team or family in a country. It means you belong to a certain place and have the right to live there, vote, and enjoy benefits like healthcare and education. Countries sometimes have different rules for citizenship, like being born or having parents from there.

Consular Officer

A consular officer is a diplomatic representative appointed by a country to operate within its consular offices abroad. Consular officers provide vital services to their country's citizens abroad, like passport help, notarial services, and handling emergencies. They also review visa applications and issue visas to foreign nationals wishing to visit or immigrate.

Consular Processing

'Consular Processing' is the procedure of applying for and obtaining a visa through a consulate or embassy of the destination country, typically located in the applicant's home country or region. This process involves submitting a visa application, attending an interview (if required), and providing necessary documentation to obtain the appropriate visa.


A consulate is a section of one country's government operating within another country, typically in a major city other than the capital. It serves as a resource for citizens of its own country who might need assistance abroad, such as replacing a lost passport. Additionally, consulates facilitate better communication and collaboration between their home country and the host country. The official leading the consulate is usually referred to as a Consul.

Cultural Exchange Visa

A 'Cultural Exchange Visa' is a type of visa that allows individuals to travel to a foreign country to participate in cultural exchange programs. These programs typically include au pairs, educational exchanges, or artist performances, aiming to promote mutual understanding and cultural interaction between countries.

Customs Declaration

A customs declaration is a form filled out by travellers to declare which goods they are bringing into a country. This document is essential for customs clearance and helps authorities control the flow of goods across borders, ensuring no prohibited or restricted items are imported or exported without proper authorization or without paying the necessary taxes and duties.



Deportation is the formal removal of a foreign national from a country for violating immigration laws, such as overstaying a visa, committing a crime, or failing to comply with visa conditions. The process is carried out by immigration authorities and can result in the individual being barred from re-entry for a certain period or indefinitely.

Diplomatic Visa

A Diplomatic Visa is a special category of visa issued to foreign diplomats and officials for official duties in the host country. This visa type often grants certain privileges and immunities under international law, such as exemption from certain taxes and legal processes.

Document Verification

Document Verification in the visa application process involves the authentication of documents submitted by applicants, such as passports, financial statements, and invitation letters. This step is crucial to prevent fraud and ensure the reliability of the information provided in the application.



An 'e-visa' is a digital visa that travellers can obtain online before visiting a foreign country. It's a digital version of the traditional visa, but you apply for it online instead of going to an embassy. Applicants typically fill out a form, upload necessary documents, and pay a fee online. Once approved, the e-visa is sent to the applicant via email.


An 'Embassy' is a diplomatic body located in the capital city of a foreign country, representing the government of its home country. It plays a vital role in international relations, offering services like visa processing, consular support for citizens, and fostering diplomatic ties.

Entry Permit

An entry permit is an official authorisation issued by a country to foreign nationals, permitting entry for specific purposes and durations. It allows temporary entry into the country as long as immigration rules are followed. Entry permits are typically categorised based on the intended purpose of travel, such as tourism, business, study, or employment.


Expatriates, or 'expats' for short, are people who live in a country that is not their home country. Imagine moving to a new country for work, study, or maybe for an adventure; that's what expatriates do. They come from all over the world and can live, work, and study in different countries, bringing their cultures and experiences with them. Expats often move for jobs, to experience new cultures, or to be with family.

Expedited Processing

'Expedited Processing' is a service offered by some immigration authorities to process visa applications more quickly than the standard timeframe. This service, often available for an additional fee, is beneficial in urgent or special circumstances, such as emergency travel or business obligations requiring prompt travel.


Grace Period

A 'Grace Period' in visa terms refers to a set duration of time granted to visa holders after their visa expires, during which they can either depart the host country, adjust their status, or in some cases, rectify their visa situation without facing immediate penalties like deportation or fines.

Guarantee Letter

A 'Guarantee Letter' for a visa application is a formal document issued by a person or organization promising support and responsibility for a visitor during their stay in a country. This letter is often required to assure the government that the visitor has sufficient support, reducing the risk of overstaying or violating the visa terms.


Humanitarian Visa

A 'Humanitarian Visa' is a special type of visa granted to individuals who need to travel to another country for humanitarian reasons. This can include escaping conflict, natural disasters, or extreme situations in their home country. It's designed to offer protection and temporary refuge under urgent humanitarian circumstances.


I-94 Form

The 'I-94 Form', officially known as the Arrival/Departure Record, is a crucial document for non-immigrant visitors in the United States. It provides evidence of a legal entry into the country and the terms of the visitor's stay.

Immigrant Visa

An 'Immigrant Visa' allows a foreign national to enter and permanently live in a country. It is typically granted to those who intend to immigrate based on family ties, employment opportunities, or other qualifying reasons. This type of visa is the first step towards becoming a permanent resident or citizen of the destination country.

Immigration Checkpoint

An 'Immigration Checkpoint' refers to the specific locations at borders or entry points of a country where government officials conduct checks on individuals’ travel documents and identities.

Indefinite Leave to Remain

'Indefinite Leave to Remain' (ILR) permits people to live in a country without any time limit. It means you can stay in the country as long as you like, work, study, and access public services just like people born there. You get this status after you've lived in the country for a certain period, showing you're a part of the community. Applying for ILR involves filling out an application and meeting specific requirements, like knowing the language and the country's culture.

Investor Visa

An Investor Visa is a type of visa specifically for individuals who want to invest a significant amount of money into a foreign country's economy. It often leads to permanent residency or citizenship as a reward for contributing to economic growth. These visas are ideal for entrepreneurs and investors looking to start businesses, invest in existing companies, or engage in significant financial activities in another country.

Invitation Letter

An 'Invitation Letter' for visa applications is a document written by someone in the destination country inviting the visa applicant. It often includes details about the purpose of the visit, such as tourism, business meetings, or family reunions, and the expected duration of the stay. This letter can play a crucial role in supporting visa applications by providing additional context for the visit.


J-1 Visa

A 'J-1 Visa' is a non-immigrant visa issued by the United States to individuals participating in work-and-study-based exchange visitor programs. These programs are designed for educational and cultural exchange, including opportunities for students, scholars, trainees, teachers, and others to gain experience in the U.S.


K-1 Visa

A 'K-1 Visa' is a special U.S. visa granted to the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen. It allows the foreign fiancé(e) to travel to the United States to marry their U.S. citizen partner within 90 days of arrival. After the marriage, the foreign citizen can apply for permanent residence (a Green Card) in the U.S.

K-2 Visa

A 'K-2 Visa' is a special kind of visa for the children of a K-1 Visa holder. This visa is for children under 21 years old and unmarried, allowing them to go with their parents to the United States. The parent must be getting a K-1 Visa to marry a U.S. citizen. The children can live in the U.S. and attend school there with this visa.


Length of Stay

'Length of stay' refers to the amount of time a visitor is allowed to stay in a country with a valid visa. It's determined by visa type and purpose of visit, setting clear boundaries on the duration one can remain in the destination country legally.


Multiple Entry Visa

A 'Multiple Entry Visa' is a type of visa that allows its holder to enter and leave the issuing country multiple times within the validity period of the visa. This visa is beneficial for travelers who need to visit a country frequently for business, tourism, or family visits over a specified duration.



Naturalization is the process where a person not born in a country can voluntarily become a citizen of that country. It involves filling out an application, meeting certain requirements like living in the country for a specified time, and often taking a test on the country's language and laws. Once completed, you become a naturalized citizen, enjoying rights like voting and holding a passport.

No Objection Certificate (NOC)

A 'No Objection Certificate' (NOC) is a formal document issued by an employer or government authority, stating that they have no objection to the visa applicant's proposed travel abroad. It’s commonly used in visa applications to assure authorities that the applicant’s travel does not conflict with their employment or legal obligations in their home country.

Non-immigrant Visa

A non-immigrant visa is a temporary visa granted to individuals who intend to enter a country for a specific purpose and duration, with the intention of returning to their home country afterwards. Unlike immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas do not grant permanent residency or the right to remain indefinitely in the country.



An 'Overstay' occurs when a person remains in a country beyond the allowed duration specified on their visa. This can result in legal consequences, including fines, deportation, and bans on future travel to that country. Overstaying a visa violates immigration laws and can impact the individual’s ability to obtain visas in the future.


Passport validity

Passport validity refers to the duration for which governments around the world recognize your passport as a valid travel document. It is a crucial factor because it affects your ability to enter other countries. Most countries require that your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the planned return date. Therefore, always make sure to check the expiration date before making any travel plans.

Personal Cover Letter

A 'Personal Cover Letter' in visa applications is a document written by the applicant, providing a detailed explanation of the purpose of their travel, itinerary, and other relevant details. It serves to introduce the applicant to the visa officer and adds a personal touch to the application, often clarifying the intent and context of the visit.

Port of entry

In the context of visas and immigration, the port of entry refers to a designated location where individuals can legally enter a country. This includes airports, sea ports, and land border crossings. At these points, travelers undergo immigration and customs checks to ensure they meet the destination country's entry requirements. The port of entry is where visas and travel documents are inspected, and travelers are granted or denied entry.

Proof of Accommodation

"Proof of Accommodation" refers to a document confirming your stay arrangements in a destination country. It may include hotel bookings, rental agreements, or invitation letters. The type and validity of proof required can vary based on visa type, destination country, and individual circumstances.

Proof of Financial Means

Proof of Financial Means is evidence that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in a foreign country without having to work. This is a standard requirement for visa applications, guaranteeing that travellers can afford their visit, including accommodation, daily expenditures, and return travel.



A 'Refugee' is a person who has to leave their country because they are at risk of harm due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Unlike immigrants who choose to move, refugees flee for their safety and are protected under international law, which prevents them from being sent back to the dangers they escaped. Countries offering refuge provide them with a new place to live safely.

Return Ticket

Another term for a return ticket is a round-trip ticket. It is a travel itinerary that includes both outbound and return flight tickets, typically to the same destination.


Single Entry Visa

A single-entry visa is a type of visa that allows the visa holder to enter a country once. After the visa holder exits the country, the visa cannot be used again. This kind of visa is ideal for short-term tourism, short business trips, or conferences.

Sponsorship Letter

A Sponsorship letter for visas confirms financial support from a sponsor, ensuring the applicant's expenses are covered.

Student Visa

A 'Student Visa' is a special type of visa specifically for students who wish to study abroad in another country. This visa allows them to enrol in educational institutions and stay in the host country for the duration of their course. It's essential for international students planning to pursue education outside their home country.


Tourist Visa

A 'Tourist visa' is a permit that allows people to visit a country for leisure or sightseeing purposes. This type of visa is valid for a short period and does not allow the holder to work or engage in business activities in the destination country. It's essential for travelers who wish to explore new places and cultures legally.

Transit Visa

A Transit visa is a temporary visa that allows you to pass through the country en route to your final destination. It's usually required when you have a layover in a country that mandates it for passing travelers. The purpose is to ensure you have the authorization to enter or pass through the country, even for a short period.

Travel Itinerary

A travel itinerary is a document outlining your journey information, such as destinations, dates, accommodation, and planned activities. It's crucial for visa applications as it demonstrates your purpose of travel, ensuring that your trip is well-planned and legitimate.


Visa Appeal

A 'Visa Appeal' offers a recourse for individuals whose visa applications have been denied, providing an opportunity to challenge the decision made by the visa-issuing authority. This process is crucial for those who believe their application was unjustly refused or that critical information was overlooked.

Visa Application Centre

A Visa Application Centre (VAC) is a facility where individuals can submit their visa applications, provide biometrics, and sometimes attend interviews as part of the visa application process. These centres are usually managed by external companies or agencies working alongside the embassy or consulate of the relevant country for visa applications.

Visa Application Form

A visa application form is a document you must fill out when visiting another country. It asks for personal information, like your name, date of birth, and why you're travelling. This form helps the country you want to visit decide if they will let you in. It's like a questionnaire that ensures you meet their rules for visitors.

Visa Appointment

A visa appointment is a scheduled meeting at a visa application centre (VAC) or embassy where you present your visa application and necessary documents. It's a crucial step in the visa process where applicants may also undergo an interview to discuss their travel plans and intentions.

Visa Exemption

An 'Exemption' within visa policies allows certain travelers to enter a country without obtaining a visa beforehand. This can apply to citizens of countries with which there are special agreements, holders of specific passport types, or under particular circumstances defined by the host country's immigration laws.

Visa Extension

A 'Visa Extension' refers to the process of applying for additional time to stay in a country beyond the original expiration date of your current visa. This process involves submitting a request to the country's immigration authorities before your visa expires, often requiring you to show valid reasons for the extended stay and proof that you can financially support yourself during this time.

Visa Fee

A 'Visa Fee' is the amount of money that you must pay to the embassy or consulate of the destination country. This fee covers the cost of processing your visa application. Visa fees can vary greatly depending on the visa type, the country issuing the visa, and sometimes the applicant's nationality.

Visa Interview

A visa interview is a meeting between an applicant and a consular officer at an embassy/consulate or visa application centre, during which the applicant provides information and answers questions to determine their eligibility for a visa to enter a foreign country.

Visa on Arrival

A 'Visa on Arrival' (VOA) is a visa that travelers can obtain directly at their destination country's airport or border crossing rather than applying for it in advance. This visa is granted upon arrival, simplifying the process for travellers from eligible countries. It often requires filling out a form, providing a passport photo, and paying a visa fee at the border. VOAs are generally available for short visits and in select countries, depending on the traveller's nationality.

Visa photo

A specific type of photograph required for a visa application. It must meet certain criteria, such as size, background color, and facial expression.

Visa Processing Time

Visa processing time is the time it takes from applying to knowing if your visa has been approved. It varies by visa type and country but usually takes weeks to months.

Visa Rejection

A visa refusal is when the authorities reject your application to enter a particular country. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including incomplete applications, lack of required documents, lack of visa standards, or security concerns. Understanding common reasons for visa denials can help you resolve them better for your next application.

Visa Sponsor

A 'Visa Sponsor' is a person, company, or organization that supports an individual's visa application. They ensure the visa applicant has the necessary financial support and accommodation and will abide by the visa conditions. Sponsors are often required for work and study visas, and a sponsor is required for tourist visas if the applicant cannot support themselves.

Visa Validity

Visa Validity refers to the period during which a visa is effective. This means the timeframe from the visa's issue date to its expiration date, during which the visa holder is allowed to travel to or stay in the issuing country, as per the visa type's regulations

Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits eligible travellers to enter a country for tourism or business without obtaining a traditional visa, provided they meet certain criteria. Before their trip, travellers must apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and adhere to program requirements.