Although business travel can feel like play in an exciting foreign country, there is a distinct difference between the two when it comes to the type of visa you’ll need. Not every country requires a visa for travel of any sort, provided the travel doesn’t extend past a certain length of time. Countries that do require visas have their own classification system and different visas from which to choose, with most offering the choice between tourist visas vs work visas.
Tourist vs Business Visas: Purpose
Tourist visas cover a wide range of activities that have nothing to do with work or business. These can include:
- Tourism and sightseeing
- Visiting with family or friends
- Attending social events held by various organizations or non-paid participation in sporting or entertainment events
- Medical treatments
- Attending recreational, short-term studies, such as a two-day cooking class
Work visas, or business visas, cover work-related activities that can include:
- Consulting with business relations or associates
- Attending a professional or education conference or convention
- Negotiating contracts or settling estates
- Engaging in commercial or trade activities
- Research, lecturing or paid appearances
- Attending and participating in business meetings
- Making investments or business purchases
- Interviewing and hiring staff
Tourist vs Business Visas: Requirements
Visa requirements may vary slightly from country to country, but there are typically a few notable differences between those that apply to tourist visas and work visas.
Requirements for both types of visas generally include:
- Valid passport
- Two passport photos
- Visa application from your destination country
- Other: Some countries require proof of funds and a copy of a valid ID in addition to your passport
Tourist visas may additionally require:
- Proof of upcoming travel
- Hotel reservation
- Letter of employment (to prove you have a job to return to)
Business visas may additionally require:
- Business letter of invitation from your destination country
- Letter of employment
- Company letter of intent
Processing time between tourist visas vs business visas can vary, with one not necessarily faster than the other. If you have all the required documentation and don’t need an in-person interview for your destination country you’re planning to visit, Swift Passport and Visa Services offers expedited visa service that can be as quick as a single day in some cases.
Length of Stay
Tourist and business visas are usually offered for a stay of 30 to 90 days for a single visit, although you may be able to apply for a longer stay or file for an extension if needed. Some countries also offer visas that allow multiple stays over a period of several years.
Learn more about the type of visa you need, or get the ball rolling on your visa application today at Swift Passport Services visa services page.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.