An electronic visa can refer to the application process to get a visa, or even the visa itself. In most cases, the process for the visa application can be completed online, instead of having to appear, or mail documents, to the consulate of a foreign nation. In other cases, it is possible that a visa may be a card, perhaps with a magnetic stripe, that can provide vital information about a traveler.
Though they just beginning to gain popularity, an electronic visa may soon take the place of a more traditional visa. Visas are usually needed to gain entry into a country. Some countries may require visas be applied for ahead of the trip. Other countries may issue an entry visa at the point of entry into the country, which is usually an airport or border crossing. In most cases, visas are stamped into a passport and normally state the maximum amount of time the holder is allowed to remain in the country.
An electronic visa may be paper or plastic. In some cases, the procedure for applying for an online visa will be completed online and sent electronically to a processing office. If the visa is granted, a document may be e-mailed back to the requestor. This document will often serve as the visa needed to gain entry into the country. It should be kept with the passport at all times, when traveling to or in the country.
For those who apply for an electronic visa, there is often a huge convenience factor involved. In some cases to get a visa to enter certain countries, it requires mailing your passport to a consulate office. Many are concerned about letting their passport out of their immediate possession. It is an important document for identification and American passports, especially, can be very valuable on the black market.
If the visa is approved, there is usually an expedited process for getting into the country. At some international airports, there are special lines set up for those with an electronic visa to get through the immigration procedure more smoothly. This process can save a considerable amount of time, perhaps even hours.
Though electronic visas in the form of cards that may look similar to credit cards have yet to catch on, it is envisioned that they could soon replace paper visas. An electronic visa card would be able to hold all the traveler's information, which could be easily accessible to authorities by either scanning it or entering the number into a national database. It would allow authorities then to determine if the person was in the country illegally or not.