What is an Exit Visa?

An exit visa is a government-issued travel document used by some countries.

While only certain destinations require visitors to have an exit visa, it is helpful to know what this document is. You may be required to have one for your trip abroad.

This page explains what an exit visa is, and how different countries use this immigration policy.

Exit Visa Definition

An exit visa is a specific travel policy that some countries require exiting passengers to follow.

The official document works similarly to a standard entry visa, in that it gives the holder permission to pass through immigration. However, an exit visa allows you to leave the country, rather than enter.

Purpose of an Exit Visa

The purpose of an exit visa depends on the issuing authority. It can be used to:

  • Control the number of individuals leaving
  • Prevent political rebels or criminals from leaving
  • Monitor people who have debt
  • Ensure work visa holders complete their sponsored employment
  • Prevent emigration of skilled workers

Examples of Countries that Require an Exit Visa

Some countries require travelers in specific circumstances to have an exit visa to leave.

The policies depend on the country you are visiting, so it is advisable to check your destination’s official travel information before you plan your trip.

Russia’s tourist visa policy

Some countries use the travel document to control the number of people who overstay their visas.

Russia requires any visitor who has stayed longer than their allocated time to have an exit visa to leave. The document must include an explanation as to why they overstayed their trip.

Saudi Arabia’s work visa

Other authorities use an exit visa to monitor visitors with a work visa.

Saudi Arabia only permits work visa holders to stay for the duration of their contract. In order to leave, they must apply for an exit visa when their work agreement has ended. If the employee does not apply for the visa in time, they will be overstaying in Saudi Arabia.

The exit visa is also used by some countries to ensure that foreign workers complete their job contracts, particularly if they have been sponsored by a company.

India’s lost passport policy

India also has an exit visa for overseas visitors who have lost their passport (or had it stolen) while traveling in the country.

Even with a replacement travel document, you must also get an exit visa in order to leave India without your official passport.