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A round of applause for Norway.
Not only has the Scandinavian country put its famous design talent to work reworking their paper money, but they've also just concluded an open competition to revamp the look of Norwegian passports.
The winner? Olso studio Neue, whose striking, Scandi minimalist modern exterior and surprise interior won over the judges.
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If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
Would you enjoy the sunsets on a beach in Phuket? Maybe you’d prefer a diet of pasta and Chianti in a Tuscan village? For those wanting to experience life in another country, it can be difficult on pesky 30- or 90-day tourist visas. Do you really feel as if you experienced life in another city, or even country, based on these limited days? That’s not even enough time to learn how to properly order two Big Macs—one without tomato and one easy on the dressing—in a new language.
Operating outside of these visas can be difficult. Stay beyond those days and you risk deportation and the possibility of never returning to that beloved country. So, for those itching to get out of America, here are some spots where obtaining an extended visa is quite easy.
Oh, and we’re not talking about student visas or the like. If that were the case, you could easily relocate to Vietnam as an English teacher. These countries allow Americans to easily uproot and emigrate.
There's no doubt that obtaining a visa for travel is a headache, and for a long time Chinese visas were among the worst. There was the price ($140), the consular visits, the being separated from your passport during processing, and then the frustration that all that work only resulted in a visa valid for one year.
Then, in early 2013, the rules eased when China began allowing for 72-hour visa-free visits. Quick visits for business, shopping, or just taking advantage of great airfare sales to China became possible without the need to plan far ahead and fill your passport with visa pages.
Today brings more excellent news, as applications are open for a 10-year China visa. The move was only announced a few days ago, while President Obama was in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting. Citizens of the US and China have similar visa rules thanks to reciprocity, whereby one country applies the same limitations and requirements as the other. Reciprocity continues with this new announcement, as visas to the US for Chinese citizens will also enjoy the decade validity.
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There's a certain smugness that comes with flipping through a passport full of stamps from all over the world. Unfortunately for travelers who enjoy that feeling, stamps from Hong Kong are no longer part of the action.
Forgive us for being super late on this news, but Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) started dispensing little slips of paper in place of stamps in March 2013, with a full goodbye to stamps in December 2013. It wasn't until our most recent visit last month that we were alerted to the change, and looked at this tiny piece of paper like a step backwards.
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On his recent trip to the United States, India's Prime Minister Nahendra Modi confirmed that his country's plan to expand its visa-on-arrival service to 180 countries will include U.S. travelers for stays of up to 30 days.
While we were initially optimistic that the program would be up and running by now, Modi said the expansion will be delayed until sometime next year, most likely coinciding with the introduction of India's new e-visa system in early summer, which will allow travelers to get a visa online prior to their trip. The delay is a bummer, but it makes sense to wait at this point. Otherwise, by the time U.S. travelers got used to the visa-on-arrival system, the new e-visa operation would make it irrelevant.
Why is there only one season earmarked for organization? Spring cleaning is the shaking out of rugs, dusting off of shelves, and restocking the pantry after winter, but we propose a similar approach for fall, focused on travel.
Whether you’ve spent the whole summer hopping continents or just headed out on a few road trips, right now is the ideal time to unzip wallets and air out duffel bags in anticipation of yet more travel.
Prepare now for winter & holiday travel by:
Just as the arrival of spring means spring cleaning, so too does the coming of autumn call for a reorganization. For this season, we recommend lining up your holiday travel plans, reviewing any upcoming itineraries and, most important of all, having a detailed look at your travel documents such as visas and passports.
The US Department of State agrees, and recently even issued a nice reminder about passport validity, including some fun facts:
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In response to decreased tourism returns this year due in part to the country’s political woes, Thailand has doubled the amount of days that tourists are allowed to stay in the country on a visa-exempt stamp from 30 to 60.
Passport holders from 49 nations, including the United States, do not need to apply for a visa to enter Thailand. Instead, travelers from these nations receive a visa-exempt stamp upon arrival which grants them 30 days in the country. Under the new rule, tourists can now obtain a one-time, 30-day extension stamp when their initial 30 days expires by visiting an immigration office. The extension will be granted same-day and costs $59 (1,900 baht).
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Two days ago, when checking in for a flight from Denver to Guatemala City on the United app, we were unable to obtain a mobile boarding pass and had to check in at the desk upon arriving at the airport.
The reason for this is that a passenger's passport must be verified before a boarding pass - regardless of whether it's paper or mobile - can be issued on international flights. Surely, you're familiar with the self check-in kiosk that makes you scan your passport, and that send you to the desk agent when it malfunctions.
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Our favorite piece of travel technology to spread in 2014 is the Automated Passport Control (APC) Kiosk, and every new airport added to the list of users is one more notch for progress. Joining the club this summer have been Newark, Atlanta, andnewest of allDetroit Metropolitan International Airport, who just completed installation of 30 shiny kiosks.
The APC, which began at Vancouver International Airport, now allow travelers arriving from international flights to quickly enter their details, snap a photo, receive a stamp, and continue on their merry way into baggage claim; this is as opposed to waiting in a long line to see an agent for the usual passport review and stamp. It's not Global Entry; it's something better than Global Entry, not to mention the fact it's completely free.
Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't get that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
While rifling though some old documents, we happened upon a US passport issued in 1952. Although there are few stamps over which to "ooh" and "aah," the design and requirements within the tiny book did open our eyes a bit as to how restrictive world travel was for the average American.
As you're no doubt aware, World Wars I and II really messed up international relations. As citizens of one of the victors, US travelers were at least more free than most when it came to crossing borders, but some countries still remained on the hot list.
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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news to travelers who've shelled out for Global Entry, but a better option is quickly gaining popularity at major US airports...and it's free to use.
The automated passport kiosk allows travelers arriving from international lights to quickly enter their details, snap a photo, receive a stamp, and continue on their merry way into baggage claim; this is as opposed to waiting in a long line to see an agent for the usual passport review and stamp.
We first experienced the smooth and snappy process back in October, and fell in love with it. It seems that airports and fellow flyers echo our feelings, as over 10 airports have added the machines, with more to come: