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in the broadest sense of the word, the signature of the corresponding official on a certain document or act, either attesting to its authenticity or putting it into effect; in the narrow sense of the word, a visa is a notification in a passport which signifies permission for entry of a given person into the territory of another state, for exit from that territory, or for passage through it.
Correspondingly, there are distinct types of visas—exit, entry, and transit—issued by the competent state bodies for a definite term. The majority of states have instituted a permit system for the entry of foreigners; that is, the entry of foreigners is permitted only with a corresponding visa in their passports. In some instances, certain states have established a simplified system of entry for foreigners: examples include systems for tourists (by lists), the crews of foreign trading ships (by passage books), and the inhabitants of border regions for short-term business stays (by permits). Passengers on international air and sea routes are not required to have transit visas if they do not leave the territory of the airport or the ship.
Entry, exit, and transit without visas may be established by special agreements between states. Thus, the capitalist countries of Western Europe in the postwar period have concluded a series of agreements by which citizens of these countries or citizens of the USA, Australia, or Canada have the right of entry into the territories of Western European countries without visas if they have a national passport for travel abroad. Customarily, the rules of entry without visas have been extended to apply to foreigners who do not intend to receive the right of continuing residence in the country of entry.
In the USSR the system permitting entry, exit, and transit is regulated by the special Statute on Entry to and Exit From the USSR. Entry of foreigners is permitted only if they have a visa issued by embassies, missions, and consulates of the USSR abroad. Citizens of countries without diplomatic and consular relations with the USSR may apply for visas at an embassy or consulate of the USSR in any country. Visas for entry into the USSR are sometimes issued abroad by especially empowered Soviet representatives. Exit visas from the USSR are issued by the ministries of foreign affairs of the USSR and of its Union republics, by diplomatic agencies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and by police agencies. Entry, exit, and transit without visas is possible only if there are special agreements between corresponding states. The USSR has such agreements with a majority of the socialist countries.
I. P. BLISHCHENKO
V. I. MENZHINSKII