A visa is an endorsement by a foreign country that permits individuals to visit that country for a defined purpose and for a specific duration. It usually comes in the form of a stamp placed in their passport. Their visa to visit a foreign country will indicate the length of time of their visit, as well as the scope of activities they may perform while in that country. Probably the most common visas are travel visas that identify people as a tourists visiting the country for leisure purposes. But, there are also visas that permit them to work and earn income in a country or visas that allow them to attend a college or university in that country, or possibly a visa that indicates they are a members of the U. S. diplomatic corps on official business. It is best to apply for visas before individuals leave the United States. They may not be able to obtain visas for some countries after they have left the United States.
U. S. citizens should apply for a visa directly to the embassy or nearest consulate of each country they plan to visit. Visas are stamped directly onto a blank page in their passport, so they will need to give their passport to an official of each foreign embassy or consulate along with their application for a visa. When applying for a visa, individuals will usually be asked to fill out a form and submit one or more photographs with the form. They should also be aware that many countries require a fee to accompany visa applications. The application process may take several weeks, depending on the country where they apply for a visa.