What is a visa and how do I get one?

A visa is an endorsement on a passport indicating that the holder is allowed to enter, leave, or stay for a specified period of time in a country.  Visas are not always required, they have certain restrictions, and how you get one depends strictly on the country you are trying to enter.Typically a visa requirement is determined by the relationship between two countries, the nature of the visit, and the duration of the visit.  A good starting point for someone trying to enter a foreign country is to search a public resource like Wikipedia.  For example a US citizen can find a simple summary here or a citizen of Mexico can find their particular requirements here.

Once you’ve determined the basic information (like length of visit and other special restrictions), you will need to confirm these details and begin the application process (if necessary) at the country’s official government website within the department that processes visa applications.

In the case of a United States visa, foreign visitors can complete a simple questionnaire and determine visa requirements here.  Often the documents submitted to the US government requires certified translations, and Lingomod is the type of company that can help!  You can easily obtain the necessary translation by visting our order page, or, if you aren’t sure what you need, you can also get a free quote.

In general, these are the steps required to get a visa:

  1. Determine if you need a visa, and if the visa supports the duration and nature of your visit.
  2. Locate the official website of the country you are visiting, and apply for your visa online.  In some cases, you may not be able to file electronically, and the application will have to be mailed or hand delivered to the nation’s local consulate.
  3. After the consulate receives your documentation, the application process will begin, which often takes between two weeks and two months (on average). This process can be done quicker, however, as some agencies will secure visas overnight but this will typically include expensive service fees. If your situation is urgent, it may be a good option to look into agencies that are willing to expedite the entire process.
  4. Once processed and the visa is successfully issued, you will receive it in the mail to attach to your passport or the local consulate may require you to provide your passport so they can attach it for you.  Also, don’t forget: visas DO expire, so you must use it between the dates of issuance and expiration.

If you have any questions about getting a visa for entry into the United States, please contact us and we will be glad to offer assistance.