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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.
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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).
When it comes to planning a trip overseas, too much information is never a bad thing, especially as it pertains to the details of crossing borders.
United States citizens are lucky enough to be able to travel around the world nearly unfettered, but there are exceptions here and there, with visas and/or fees required in certain countries. Luckily our buddies at CN Traveler have the latest visa requirements.
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We’ve seen some good visa news and advice over the last few days, and now we have even more to share. India seems to get be getting on board the technology bandwagon, and they’re streamlining their whole entry process.
The country is boosting its offerings when it comes to allowing visas on arrival to visitors from around 180 countries, and that does include those making the journey from the United States. Right now there’s only like 11 countries that can do this, so it’s certainly quite an expansion. Obviously the thought behind things is convenience, but we’re also thinking that the country is eager to cash in on some more tourist dollars.
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Without a doubt, Brazil is cool. Many elements combine to make it so; Brazil is fortunate to have some of the world's best beaches, liveliest music, sexiest people, most exotic flora and fauna, and tastiest food. Still, there is one bit about Brazil that's not so cool: going through the process of obtaining the visa necessary for US citizens to visit.
It's our own fault, really. Brazil is only doing to us what we do to their citizens wanting to visit the US; it's called reciprocity. Still, the Brazilian visa process is necessary evil of traveling to this beautiful country, and since we just sweated through it ourselves, we thought we'd break it down into simple steps.
Note that spectators, staff and volunteers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup have abbreviated visa requirements for what is a free "temporary special visa" with 90 days validity. If you're heading to the World Cup and think you'll return to Brazil at some point, then opt for the regular tourist visa, which comes with ten years of validity but costs $160-$180.
* Instructions and links below are intended for one regular adult tourist of US citizenship, holding a US passport.
These three little letters, E, T and A might mean estimated time of arrival when you're talking about planes, trains and automobiles, but they also might be responsible for ruining a vacation down under. When traveling to Australia, those letters stand for Electronic Travel Authority, which is the technological replacement for the huge visa sticker you once needed in your passport. Visitors must have one if they're planning to rock-out on Aussie shores, go on walk-abouts, see the Opera House or pet a kangaroo.
The ETA is electronically stored when an immigration officer swipes your passport at the border and will provide all the juicy details of your travel to and from Oz. Sounds super cool and futuristic, but it's actually very easy to obtain and available today.
The best way to get one is to head to the Australian Immigration website to ensure you qualify for the convenience. The process is quick and cheap as you can get approved online in a few hours, and it costs just $20. The ETA is valid for 12 months, but you can only visit for three months at a time. You must also apply for it before your trip, as they do not take applications that come from within Australia.
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Whether you're a frequent flyer or an armchair traveler, there are certain details it's nice to review before making plans for that next big trip. Every week, we'll squeeze our mindgrapes and share tips to make sure you're the best informed flyer in seat 1A...or 38K.
This Week: The 5 Things Everyone Should Do Before Booking a Flight
We're going to run an idea by you, and see if you agree. The concept seems pretty straightforward to us, but the federal government has been having trouble with it for more than a decade. So maybe we're missing something. Ready? Here's the theory: if you make it harder for tourists to visit the United States, less tourists will visit the United States. What do you think?
We've been complaining about America's "Don't Come Here" approach to tourism for years. Visa restrictions, security regulations, and even new taxes on tourists have combined to decrease the U.S.'s share of the global tourism market from 17% to 11% over the last decade. There were 1.1 million more visas issues in 2001 than there were in 2011, and that happened despite the dollar's plunge against other currencies, which should have boosted tourism.
World Expo 2010 / Shanghai Travel / Shanghai World Expo 2010 / China Travel / Passports / Travel Tips / Visas / → All Tags
When the Shanghai World Expo opens to the public on May 1a week and a half awayhundreds of thousands of Chinese and international tourists will pour into the park and its pavilions daily until October 31, when the Expo closes. With the Expo looking at entertaining some 600,000 visitors per day, China will be a huge destination for spring travel. Americans traveling to the country require a Chinese tourist visa to enter, a fact many are not aware of. We've gone through the process before, so allow us to walk you through, too.
How to get a Chinese tourist Visa, which you'll need to visit Shanghai:
· If you're a regular tourist to China, you'll be applying for the "Tourist (L Visa)." Download and print this application form.
More steps to getting a Chinese Visa, after the jump
Airport Security / LHR / Airport News / AIrports / Student Travel / Visas / London Travel / → All Tags
Think you can easily fly through London's Heathrow Airport because it's big and should have its act together? Well, there's only bad news: it doesn't have its act together and epically long lines pop up every so often for everything from going between terminals to heading through customs. Just search YouTube for crazy long lines at Heathrow, and you'll see what we meanget stuck in one of these queues and you're looking at a 3-4 hour wait, so you might as well film it.
Nonetheless, no line is as bad as the one that recently occurred at immigration, for those with student visas. Click here to check out the brief video on BBC, where a Heathrow employee filmed the length of the line from back to front. Thank god we're beyond the student visa days. Stillwhat the hell is happening here?
Immigration / Borders / Visas / UK Travel / → All Tags
The guy probably had it all planned out before they searched his bags. A Mexican national, he declared his intent to visit a few friends in the U.K. before returning back home via Los Angeles. But his suitcase told a different story, and after customs found a note from a friend wishing him a "new life," he was forced to confess that he was planning to stay and work illegally -- and subsequently deported.
He's not alone: After years of relative open-door policies, the three leading British political parties are all calling for greater regulation of who gets into Britain, which could mean trouble for long-haul travelers without visas. And, spurred by a report from the Office of National Statistics which showed that some 214,000 foreign nationals had gained jobs in the U.K. while 278,000 Brits had lost theirs, most of the country is behind them.
The new policies include fingerprinting all visa applicants and tacking fees onto the entry visas for various countries, but it may also mean turning up the heat on legitimate vacationers. Perhaps packing a datebook showing you have something to get back to wouldn't be a bad idea.
· Hasta la vista, baby [Reuters]
· UK slump poses challenge to support for an open economy [The Australian]
· New visa regulations may harm UK tourism [ASAP.co.uk]
· 2008: UK Stepping Up Its Immigration Game [Jaunted]
The care-free days of non-US citizens flying into the country with just a little green form in their hand ended this week. If you're from one of the countries that belonged to the visa waiver program, you'd better listen up so you're not turned back at the border on your next visit to the United States.
Now you need to know about the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, which basically requires that travelers visiting the US apply for permission to enter the country at least 72 hours before they arrive. You use a simple form online and there's no cost attached, so there's not too much to complain about--except that if you don't do it in advance then you'll probably get sent home.
Once you get "approved," your permission lasts for two years, so frequent travelers don't need to keep hopping online. ESTA affects citizens of most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Brunei, so if that's you, don't forget to get online before you fly. No complainin' that we didn't warn you, alright?