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Why do we use "have to have a visa to travel abroad", but not "must have a visa to travel abroad"? As far as I'm concerned, it's impossible to travel overseas without a visa, it's a law, so we should use "must" right?

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  • You (in most cases) have to have a passport to travel abroad, but depending on what passport you have and what country you are travelling to, you might not need a visa. But that's a question for Travel Stackexchange, not here.
    – The Photon
    Jun 2 at 5:32
  • Can you give the complete sentence you're asking about, because "must" can be used depending on the situation. It might relate to tense or other grammatical constructions, but we can't read minds.
    – Stuart F
    Jun 2 at 7:59
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In everyday usage, "have to" and "must" are used interchangeably. In your example, either one can be used, with no change in meaning.

In very formal contexts, you might prefer to use "must".

In the past tense, you must use "had to"

Last year I had to visit the doctor 4 times.

not

(*) Last year I must visit the doctor 4 times.

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  • Thanks, The Photon. I got it. The example was from a Cambridge's exercise book, using only have to, so I was a bit convinced that it's the only correct way to say. Now I know.
    – Coraline T
    Jun 2 at 10:06

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