What is the Difference Between Passport and Visa?


Whether you’re planning to go on vacation or you’re moving to another country, one of the first things you should do is find out if you need a passport or visa to enter that country. 

Also, Read- Passport Seva Kendra online portal

Passports and visas are both required to travel internationally, but they serve different purposes. A passport serves as identification for the holder to enter another country. On the other hand, with a visa, the visitor can stay in another country for a limited amount of time. If you need more information about how passports and visas work, this article will give you an overview of what each one entails. Here’s what you need to know about passports and visa, and how they’re different from each other.

What is a Passport?

A passport is an official document that confirms your identity and nationality. It is issued by your government, usually through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Department of State. A passport usually contains your photo, name, date of birth, place of birth, sex, height, and eye color. A passport is needed for any kind of international travel. You also need it to re-enter your home country. 

Types of Passport

  1. A regular passport: A regular passport is issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in India. The passport can be used for travel to most countries that are part of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
  1. A diplomatic passport

A diplomatic passport is issued to high-ranking officials from foreign governments. It allows holders of that passport to travel to any member country or an international organization such as the UN, UNESCO, or NATO without a visa.

  1. Family passports

India gives family passports to immediate family members (spouse, children, and parents) of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders. A person having an OCI card is allowed to apply for a 10-year family passport instead of an individual passport.

  1. Emergency passports

In case you are traveling urgently, you may apply for an emergency passport that can be used for urgent travel purposes.

  1. Collective passports

A collective passport is essentially an Indian passport issued to members of an association or group, such as officials in diplomatic missions or expatriates.

  1. A service passport

A service passport is essentially an official passport issued to non-Resident Indians or NRIs. By definition, it is an identity document that certifies that its holder is not a citizen of India.

What is VISA?

A visa, also known as an entry permit, is basically an endorsement of your passport by a foreign country authorizing you to enter its borders. It is issued by a consulate or embassy of that country in India. You need to have a valid passport with at least six months of validity from your date of arrival in India for getting a visa stamped on it. There are various types of visas available for different purposes: tourism, business, employment, etc.

Types of VISA

  1. Immigrant visa

Also known as a permanent resident card, an immigrant visa is used to identify foreign nationals who wish to immigrate to America, either permanently or temporarily. You can also work in America legally with this type of visa and stay there for an indefinite time period.

  1. Pilgrimage visa

A Pilgrimage visa is required for non-Indians who wish to travel to India for pilgrimage. Travelers who are of any other nationality than Indian must apply for an E-Visa to enter India for religious purposes.

  1. Work visa

Foreign workers can work in other countries with the help of a work visa. Most work visas are issued to citizens of other countries, but there are exceptions, for example, the U.S.

  1. Retirement visa

If you have worked in India previously, it is possible that you can apply for a retirement visa.

  1. Working holiday visa

A working holiday visa in India is given to people who want to travel in India, also they can work here without a working permit. The visa will be valid for one year or 18 months, multiple-entry visas are available.

  1. Student visa

A student visa is required to enroll in any kind of academic program in India. Students can apply for two types of student visas: one for studying in India as an overseas student and another for studying abroad as an Indian.

  1. Medical visa

If you are looking to get treatment or go on vacation in India, you should be aware of medical visas. This visa lets you travel to India for medical procedures like visiting specialists, getting medical tests done, or any other diagnostic procedure that you need.

  1. Tourist visa

A tourist visa in India is applicable to those who travel to India for tourism purposes. It is valid for up to six months or till the duration specified by issuing authority, whichever is less.

Difference Between Passport and VISA

Most people use passports and visas interchangeably. However, they are two different things that should not be confused with each other. A passport is an official identification card that can be used to prove your identity or citizenship in another country. It also includes many details like your name, birthplace, photograph, and signature. Visas on other hand are permits that allow you to travel to another country for a certain amount of time as long as you comply with their rules.

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For example, if you want to go on vacation in Europe, then you need a visa. If you want to work there, however, then you need a work permit instead of a visa. The type of visa will depend on your reason for traveling abroad and what sort of activities you will be doing while visiting that country. For example, if your purpose is tourism then it would be appropriate to apply for a tourist visa but if it’s business then a business visa would make more sense.


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