Are you traveling abroad?

No matter if you’re coming to sunny Florida from Germany or visiting the mountains of Switzerland from New York, you’re going to need the proper paperwork. The travel documents that you need will depend on the nature of your trip and where in the world you’re traveling to and from.

It can be a little bit confusing, so today, we’re going to have the visa vs. passport discussion. Knowing which one you need can go a long way in quelling the anxieties of planning an international trip. Let us help you get it figured out.

Visa Vs. Passport: What’s the Difference?

Your passport and a visa are two very different things. You’ll need a passport to travel abroad, but you won’t always need a visa. As long as you do your research ahead of time, you’ll be able to find out which travel documents the country you’re visiting requires.

Passports

When you hit an age that you might feasibly start traveling abroad, you should get a passport. You need a passport to travel anywhere else in the world, even if you’re just going up to Canada for the weekend. 

Your passport will have all of your vital travel information, a picture of you, and a unique passport number that you’ll need to have when you plan your trip. They’re usually good for 10 years and most countries will require your passport to be valid for 3-6 months after you travel there, so never book without a valid passport.

Visas

In many countries, a US passport will be enough to get you in for a visit. In some, you’ll need to obtain a visa that allows you to enter the country. For instance, someone entering America by air with an English passport has to fill out an ESTA application before they’re allowed in.

Visas are documents that allow you to enter a country at a specific time for a specific reason. A lot of times, you’ll have to apply and pay for these in advance of your travel to get them processed in time.

Every country is a little bit different, but most places will have different kinds of visas for different travel purposes. If you want to go teach surfing for 3 months in Australia, you’ll need to get a Working Holiday visa. This one lasts for 12 months, costs 485 AUD, and takes just over two weeks to process.

However, if you’re going to Europe for a 2-month backpacking trip, you’ll just need your passport. As long as you stay in the EU countries, you don’t need anything extra.

Don’t Leave Without Planning

Now you can see how important the planning process is when you’re traveling abroad. The visa vs. passport conundrum is an easy one to solve if you know what countries you’re visiting and their travel rules. You can run into serious problems if you don’t do this research ahead of time, so always make sure to look into it!

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