They have a CSS display value of none.
They are form elements with type="hidden".
An ancestor element is hidden, so the element is not shown on the page.
Elements with visibility: hidden or opacity: 0 are considered to be visible, since they still consume space in the layout.
This is useful in some cases and useless in others, because if you want to check if the element is visible (display != none), ignoring the parents visibility, you will find that doing .css("display") == 'none' is not only faster, but will also return the visibility check correctly.
If you want to check visibility instead of display, you should use: .css("visibility") == "hidden".
Because :visible is a jQuery extension and not part of the CSS specification, queries using :visible cannot take advantage of the performance boost provided by the native DOM querySelectorAll() method. To achieve the best performance when using :visible to select elements, first select the elements using a pure CSS selector, then use .filter(":visible").
Also, if you are concerned about performance, you should check Now you see me show/hide performance (2010-05-04). And use other methods to show and hide elements.