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What Is The Difference Between a Travel Visa and a Passport?

Cambodia entry stamps in U.S. Passport
Cambodia Visa in U.S. Passport by steveheap/DepositPhotos

Traveling to different countries always requires a passport and often requires a travel visa. Many people are unsure of what a visa is, how it differs from a passport, how to get one, and what countries require you to have one.

What is a Passport?

A passport is an internationally accepted identification document; it certifies your citizenship and that you are who you say you are.

A passport is not only required to enter other countries but is also required to reenter the United States after your travels.

To learn more about what passports are and the different ways to get one, check out our guide to U.S. Passports.

Click for reliable expedited passport courier service.


What is a Travel Visa?

A visa is a temporary document issued by the government of the country you are visiting allowing you to be in their country for a certain period of time. This is usually done with a sticker or stamp placed in your passport by the host country.

Not all countries require visas and visa regulations change continually, so it is important to check your destination's embassy or consulate before you plan your trip to see if the country you are visiting requires one.

Getting a Travel Visa

In order to get a travel visa, you need to have a valid passport; most countries require you to have at least 6 months validity remaining on your passport and at least 2 blank pages in order to get the visa. Note: the amendment pages are not used for visa stamps. There are additional factors that come into play when applying for a visa such as where you reside and what type of visa you need.

The number of consulates different nations operate in the United States will vary by country. Those with multiple consulates usually specify a region or zone that each consulate is responsible for. The amount of time it will take to obtain an entry visa depends on which route you take in filing for one and the urgency of your request. It can take from a few days to several weeks for routine service. Some consulates offer expedited service.

How to Get a Travel Visa Fast

There are companies that can assist you with getting a visa not only to make it easier, but also to expedite the process. They help you get a visa fast including support with:

  • determining the type of visa you will need
  • navigating the application process
  • delivering your appication materials to the proper embassy
  • addressing unexpected processing issues
  • coordinating pick up and delivery of your travel documents

Most visa expediters maintain up-to-date information concerning visa requirements and and allow you to track the progress of your application.

Since you cannot be issued a visa without a passport, you need to obtain one before applying for a visa. If you need to get both travel documents within a very short period of time, the best way is to get a passport in 1-3 days by visiting a regional processing center or authorizing a registered expeditor to walk your application through the process. This will of course cost more than regular passport processing due to the rush.

Apply online with your name, delivery option, address, payment details, and travel itinerary, and fill out form DS-11. Once the form is filled out you need to print it and sign it in front of an acceptance agent. Then, include a recent passport photo, a copy of your identification document, evidence of U.S. citizenship and an authorization letter for third party to submit the passport application. You then simply overnight it or hand deliver all the documents and appropriate fees to your expeditor; they take it from there, and you should receive your passport 1-3 days later.

Top 5 Questions About Expedited Passport Couriers

1. How can you get a passport when you're in a hurry?
2. What exactly does a passport expediter do?
3. Are passport expediting services legitimate?
4. How can I identify a reliable passport expeditor?
5. Is expedited passport service worth it?

Get answers to these questions and more in our Ultimate U.S. Traveler's Guide to Passport Expediters.

You can also visit our library of articles about passport expediting.

In a Hurry? Get Reliable Expedited Passport Courier Service:Expedite My U.S.Passport Now!

About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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