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[vee-zuh] /ˈvi zə/
noun, plural visas.
an endorsement made by an authorized representative of one country upon a passport issued by another, permitting the passport holder entry into or transit through the country making the endorsement.
verb (used with object), visaed, visaing.
to give a visa to; approve a visa for.
to put a visa on (a passport).
Also, visé.
1825-35; < French, short for Latin carta vīsa the document (has been) examined; vīsa, past participle feminine of vīsere to look into, see to, frequentative of vidēre to see
Can be confused
passport, visa. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for visas
  • The legislation meant that boat people arriving on the island could not apply for visas.
  • Employers can hire qualified foreign nationals on temporary work visas.
  • And only accredited universities can apply for academic visas.
  • Nationals of many countries don't even need entry visas.
  • All applicants are encouraged to apply for visas well in advance.
British Dictionary definitions for visas


noun (pl) -sas
an endorsement in a passport or similar document, signifying that the document is in order and permitting its bearer to travel into or through the country of the government issuing it
any sign or signature of approval
verb (transitive) -sas, -saing, -saed
to enter a visa into (a passport)
to endorse or ratify
Word Origin
C19: via French from Latin vīsa things seen, from vīsus, past participle of vidēre to see
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for visas



1831, "official signature or endorsement on a passport," from French visa, from Modern Latin charta visa "verified paper," literally "paper that has been seen," from fem. past participle of Latin videre "to see" (see vision). Earlier visé (1810), from French past participle of viser "to examine, view."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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