A visa is a conditional authorization granted by a country to enter and temporarily remain within, or to leave that country.
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Visas typically include limits on the duration of the foreigner's stay, territory within the country they may enter, the dates they may enter, or the number of permitted visits.
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Visas are associated with the request for permission to enter a country and thus are, in some countries, distinct from actual formal permission for an alien to enter and remain in the country.
In each instance, a visa is subject to entry permission by an immigration official at the time of actual entry and can be revoked at any time.
A visa is most commonly a sticker endorsed in the applicant's passport or other travel document.
A travel document is an identity document issued by a government or international treaty organization to facilitate the movement of individuals or small groups of persons across international boundaries.
A passport is a travel document, usually issued by a country's government, that certifies the identity and nationality of its holder for the purpose of international travel.
The visa, when required, was historically granted by an immigration official on a visitor's arrival at the frontiers of a country, but increasingly today a traveller wishing to enter another country must apply in advance for a visa, sometimes in person at a consular office, by mail or over the internet.
The actual visa may still be a sticker or a stamp in the passport or may take the form of a separate document or an electronic record of the authorisation, which the applicant can print before leaving home and produce on entry to the host country.
Some countries require that their citizens, as well as foreign travelers, obtain an "exit visa" to be allowed to leave the country.
Uniquely, the Norwegian special territory of Svalbard is an entirely visa-free zone under the terms of the Svalbard Treaty.
The Svalbard Treaty or the Spitsbergen Treaty, recognises the sovereignty of Norway over the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, at the time called Spitsbergen.
Some countries – such as those in the Schengen Area – have agreements with other countries allowing each other's citizens to travel between them without visas.
The Schengen Area is the area including 26 European countries that have abolished passport and any other type of border control at their mutual borders.
The World Tourism Organization announced that the number of tourists who require a visa before traveling was at its lowest level ever in 2015.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.