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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.
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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.
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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