Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Visa and Permit

Visa vs Permit

Visa and permit are two terms that you often hear in the realm of immigration. These two things may have meanings that somewhat vary depending on the jurisdiction or territory. A visa and permit for the U.S. may have some little disparity with regard to its specific terms when compared against those visas and permits issued in New Zealand, Australia, U.K. and even Canada. But basically, visas and permits generally have the same significance and roles to play.

A visa can be as simple as a label or stamp placed in one’s passport to signal his or her eligibility to enter the borders of a certain country. Alternatively, it can also be a separate document (less common). The immigration officers are usually the ones tasked in checking that you have one. Having a visa on hand signifies that you have passed all the requirements needed in going to the country you’re going (for work purposes, study and plain travel).

A visa can be classified as an immigrant visa and the other is called a non-immigrant visa. Clearly, the immigrant visa can be obtained by virtue of your citizenship or if ever you have a legal spouse residing in that country. Non-immigrant visas are primarily issued for temporary tourists and those who travel for the purpose of studying.

Upon your actual arrival to the country you’re going to have another stamp on your passport. This can be a work permit, a residence permit or a temporary entry permit that’s most likely issued to temporary traveling tourists or visitors. In most cases, these permits have very limited expiry dates and most of them immediately expire once you leave the country where you procured such. All permits are the bureaus on immigration’s endorsements that mostly expire before your visa expires.

You really must be mindful to renew or secure permits prior the expiry date of your visa or get yourself out of that country before the visa expiry. Not doing such will give you sanctions that can even blacklist you from entering the country ever again. Take note, if ever you have both the visa and the permit then you are therefore protected by international and local laws because you can legally stay in this country depending on the terms stated in the visa and permit of course.


1. A visa is something that tells about your immigration status to a certain nation (when you are outside the country of destination).

2. A permit is something that tells about your immigration status while you’re physically in the foreign country. It will allow a foreigner to live or remain in the country for the purpose stated in the permit.

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  1. For how long can someone use his or her passport to travel?

  2. Hi,
    I have a stamped US Visa till Aug 2017,However, due to location change I got another I797 that expires on Dec 2016.Does that mean that my Visa got reset to Dec 2016,or just work permit has been reset ?
    What should I file an extension for?

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