Traveling soon and need to know the difference between a passport and a visa? Before traveling, be sure you know the differences between a passport and a visa because you may need both.
What is a Passport?
The main difference between a passport and a visa is that a passport is issued to a country’s citizens for international travel and identification.
- A passport is used to verify one’s country of citizenship. If traveling outside your country, it is used to regain entry into your country of citizenship.
- Passports include your photo, name, birth date, gender and physical characteristics.
- For U.S. citizens, some countries only require a passport for re-entry. Other countries may require a visa before entry. You should confirm if a country-specific visa* is required before traveling.
- Diplomats and government officials are granted different passports than what's given to regular travelers.
What is a Visa?
The main difference between a visa and a passport is that a visa is an endorsement placed within a passport that grants the holder official permission to enter, leave or stay in a country for a specified time period.
- The most common visa types are tourist, student, work and transit visas.
- Depending on where you are traveling, a visa can be valid for single or multiple visits.
- Some visas require an application to be filed prior to entering the country and other visas are granted upon entering the country.
- Certain countries require an interview or medical screening prior to applying for a visa.
*For more information about country specific visas, click here.