Tourist visas are a type of visitor visa that you may be eligible for if you only plan to make a temporary visit for the purpose of tourism.
It may vary from country to country, but in general, a tourism visa will be granted if you are traveling for one of the reasons listed below.
- Visiting friends and family
- Participating in social events hosted by certain organizations
- Medical care and treatment
- Participation in musical or athletic events if you are not being paid for your services
- Enrollment in recreational study which will not earn credits towards a degree (for instance, taking a sitar lesson in India)
Note that this does not include employment, paid performances, academic study, working as a crew member on a ship or on an aircraft, permanent residence, or working as a journalist, amateur or professional (though allowances may be made for informal travel blogging).
In short: if you have a tourist visa, you can get in trouble for using it for anything but tourism.
After applying for your tourist visa, some countries may require that you go through an interview before you are cleared for takeoff. This may be conducted by phone or on Skype. Not all countries require this, but some do, so know that this might be part of the process.
For any purposes outside of tourism, you may need to look into attaining a work visa or a study visa. Visas are not always “anything goes,” rather, you may be allowed into a country only for the purpose stated on your visa. This is not to say that you can’t spend a weekend on the beach when traveling for business, but the primary function of your trip should be whatever is stated on your visa.