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Quick Guide to Visas

Do you need a Tourist Visa, Working Holiday Visa, or a Student Visa?

If you need a visa to visit a country, then it will probably be one of the following types, depending on what you what to do and where you want to do it:

Tourist Visa
If you just want to travel and are not interested in working, then you will only need to apply for a tourist visa. These generally allow you to travel around a country for a set period of time, there are usually conditions which you will need to meet but the process is generally not as complicated as the other 2 types we feature here.

Note: If this is what you are planning to do, make sure you stick to those plans - if you are caught working on a tourist visa then you'll be chucked out of the country, and you may never be allowed back in!

Working Holiday Visa
This kind of visa allows you to work in a country for a specified amount of time. The working holiday visa is designed to help young people supplement their travel abroad by working temporarily, either in a seasonal or a short term capacity. The rules and eligibility criteria for a working holiday visa differ according to where you are from, and where you are going. Usually you need to be between 18 and 30 years old, and be a citizen of one of the countries which is part of the reciprocal working holiday programme. Unlike tourist visas, working holiday visas allow you to stay for up to a year, or even two years, in your destination. The process for applying for working holiday visas is different according to your destination, so take a look at our pages for working holiday visas for Australia and New Zealand and Canada to find out more.

Student Visa
Many governments operate overseas student programmes that allow you to study in their country for a set period of time. Obviously you need to be willing to undertake a registered course at an educational establishment in the country to be eligible. This type of visa will sometimes also allow you to find work, although the hours each week you can work is often limited. The USA offers a special type of visa for students or those on a gap year which enables them to work legally as part of their travels. To find out more about the American J1 visa programme and those companies which can help you find work in America, check out our USA visas page.

Getting your visa sorted is an important part of any travel planning, especially if you are travelling through different countries on a round the world trip or similar journey on your year out. Make sure you have sorted your visa (or visas) out well in advance, using your travel agent or a visa specialist to help.