If you're planning to travel abroad, in many cases you will need to obtain a visa beforehand. The requirements vary according to your country of origin and your destination. But for a lot of people, the process to be granted a visa can seem daunting and unclear. In this article, we share important tips about visas to equip you with the knowledge to prepare for your international trip. Read on to find out more about how tourist visas work, including a very useful sample cover letter for your tourist visa application.
What Exactly Is a Tourist Visa?
A tourist visa or visitor visa is an official document that allows you to get in another country. In general, you are likely to need one every time you visit another country. However, this depends on which country you are from and where you are going, as some countries have agreements that allow entrance even without it.
A tourist visa may take different forms: it can be a paper document, although it most often comes as a simple stamp in your passport. Some countries require you to arrange your visa before arriving in the country, while others issue it to you once you land at the airport.
A tourist visa indicates how long you are allowed to stay in the country. It also defines which activities you are allowed to participate in or not while there, such as working and studying.
Other Types of Visas
A tourist visa is the most common and most acquired type of visa. It is usually only valid for a short period of time, commonly ranging from a few weeks to a couple of months.
This is what you will need if you are just planning to visit the country. A tourist visa however doesn't allow you to work and study while you are in a particular country.
Others types of visas include student visas, business visas, media visas, fiancé visas, and many others depending on the place you're travelling to.
Resident visas are also available for those who want to live in a particular country. You will normally need a valid reason to obtain this type of visa, as they tend to be the most difficult to get.
What You Need to Apply for a Tourist Visa
As mentioned above, tourist visa requirements vary with your nationality and your destination, as well as where you make your application. You should always check the instructions application to your specific situation on the relevant embassy or consulate website.
Having said that, there are some general requirements and common documents that are needed for most tourist visa applications.
- Passport valid for at least six (6) months beyond the intended period of stay
- Duly filled out visa application forms
- Confirmed round-trip tickets
- Cover letter for tourist visa or letter to the consulate
Top tip: travel insurance for your visa application
Most tourist visa applications require you to show proof of travel insurance coverage for the duration of your trip. We use and recommend SafetyWing as our preferred travel medical insurance provider. It's the most flexible and affordable we've found, starting at just $1.32 per day. They can also provide a visa letter to support your application. If you're looking for more comprehensive coverage, World Nomads is also a reliable and very popular alternative among global travelers.
Note: In our experience and to the best of our knowledge, these two travel insurance options fulfill the requirements for most tourist visa applications. However, please make sure to check that they meet the specific criteria applicable to your individual case.
Sample Cover Letter for Tourist Visa Application
The cover letter or letter to the consulate is necessary for tourist visas that require interviews. This letter needs to explain why you want to visit the country and where you will be staying in the country. It must also outline the intended dates and duration of your stay.
Moreover, this letter is your way to tell the embassy if you are getting a sponsorship from a friend, parents, or a romantic partner who are currently based in that country. It's important to take your time to write your cover letter, although you should also make sure to keep it to-the-point and not too long.
If the trip is going to be sponsored by someone else, make sure to include the following details in the cover letter for your tourist visa application:
- The name of the person who is going to sponsor your trip
- The job or source of income of the person who is going to sponsor you
- Your proof or relationship (normally pictures)
- Proof of financial capability of your sponsor
- The expenses your sponsor will cover
The cover letter is a really important document to provide before your trip. It states every important thing you want to tell the embassy or consulate. Make sure that it mentions and explains every document you've submitted.
To give you a better insight into how to create a cover letter for your visa application, here is a sample cover letter for a tourist visa needed to enter a country:
TO THE HONORABLE CONSUL
EMBASSY OF (Country you're visiting)
<Address of the Consulate>
I, <Your full legal name> would like to apply for a tourist visa to spend a vacation in <name of the country> from <date of arrival> to <date of departure.>
My main purpose for travel is tourism, to see the beautiful sights of <name of the country>, particularly <name of tourist attractions.> I'm also looking forward to experiencing the culture, tasting the cuisine, and meeting locals to experience everything the country has to offer.
I am employed at <name of the company> located in <location of the company> since <date you were employed> and am currently holding the position of <your job position.> Vacation from work has already been approved for the whole duration of this trip.
During my trip, my <your relationship with the sponsor> <full name of the sponsor,> who works as <job title of the sponsor> at <place of employment> will sponsor my trip. He/she will cover my accommodations, food expenses, and plane tickets.
Please find the following documents to support the legitimacy of what is outlined in this letter:
- Passports (including old ones if applicable)
- Application form, duly dated and signed with passport-size picture
- Employment and leave certificates showing the date I'm expected to return to work
- Payslips, tax report, credit card statements, bank certificate & statement of account as proof of income
- Plane ticket booking reservation
- Hotel booking reservation as proof of accommodation directly faxed to the embassy
- Travel insurance with benefits
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you require any further information. I may not be available at all times due to my working schedule or I might be engaged in a mission, but you may still try to reach me at the following:
Of course, the sample cover letter for tourist visa application provided above is only a template and can be modified according to your situation. Again, including this in your travel visa application is very important, so make sure that you take the time to think about what you want to write and to gather all the necessary documents to support the information you provide in your letter.