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Original Question:

Should I request an embassy to extend me a visa or issue me a visa?


Just the way an invitation is extended, I thought I could ask embassies for extending me a visa. With that thought I have written supporting letters to embassies, asking to extend me a visa and I have been granted visas as well, without any embassy getting confused about whether I'm asking for a new visa or requesting extension of an existing one.

However, this doesn't mean that the my usage was correct.

They probably just did not read the letter or maybe ignored my incorrect English. It was a non-issue until this time when I got response back from someone (not working at the embassy) telling me to write another letter that is about issuing me a new visa, instead of extending me a visa.

I looked up online to see whether I committed a mistake and could find no place which clearly says that visas cannot be extended (so as to mean - "be newly issued" rather than extending a current one) and exclusively have to be issued.

There is enough material, though, to understand that a request to extend a visa can be easily confused with requesting extension for a visa.

But then this too doesn't mean that 'extending a visa' cannot be used for conveying the request to issue a new visa.

My comprehensive questions:

  • Is there any authoritative answer that tells the correct method to request a visa stamp on your passport?
  • Is there any authoritative answer that tells that asking the embassy to extend a visa is wrong?
  • Yes, I can write the letter, requesting the embassy to grant me a visa. I'd like to know if this is indeed the most appropriate way?
    • In that case, is requesting to 'extend me a visa' an exclusively wrong phrase?

Issuing a visa implies requesting the embassy to provide a visa.

Extending a visa implies prolonging an already issued visa.

If you need the embassy to provide a visa, then you would request them to issue one.

If you already have been issued a visa with a specified number of days and would like to add to that, then you would request the embassy to extend the given visa.

References: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/issue http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/extend

Generally, formal documents are “issued” by a party. In this case, a visa is an authorization that can only be issued by the embassy; it cannot be extended as an invitation.

Reference: http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/issue_2

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    This doesn't actually answer the question. The question was not requesting the embassy to "extend a visa" but "extend us a visa". – Andrew Leach Aug 29 '17 at 13:02
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    Thanks for pointing that out. Generally, formal documents are “issued” by a party. In this case, a visa is a document that can only be issued by the embassy; it cannot be extended as an invitation. Reference:oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/issue_2 – starfish Aug 29 '17 at 13:46
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    Please alter your answer, explaining why a visa cannot be extended. – Andrew Leach Aug 29 '17 at 13:48
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    The link mentions the different meanings of ‘extend’; each will apply to a particular context. Given your context, using ‘extend’ would be incorrect. The first issuing of a visa can't be called ‘extending a visa’ because there is nothing to extend or prolong. Also, in #8, note the meaning of 'extend' and the examples provided: it involves ‘offering’ a warm welcome, etc. My previous comment mentions that formal documents/authorizations are “issued” and not extended as an invitation. Moreover, it was you who took the initial action of applying for a visa. The embassy did not ‘offer’ it to you. – starfish Aug 29 '17 at 16:40
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    To continue @starfish's excellent comment: You can "extend an invitation" to someone – that is, spontaneously offer them an invitation. The corresponding use involving a visa would require an embassy to spontaneously offer to "extend a visa" to you... which clearly does not happen (they don't pick people at random and offer them visas). Technically, you could probably ask someone to "extend an invitation to me" (i.e. ask to be invited), but this is clumsy (both socially and linguistically). However, I don't believe you could ask an embassy to "extend a visa to me" [cont...] – TripeHound Aug 30 '17 at 10:40

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