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India Travel / Passports / Visas / Travel Tips / Immigration / → All Tags
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.
Brazil Travel / Travel Tips / Passports / Visas / Politics Travel / 2014 FIFA World Cup Travel / World Cup Travel / Rio de Janeiro Travel / Sao Paulo Travel / Manaus Travel / Amazon Travel / → All Tags
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.
Travel Tips / Lists / Travel 101 / Travel Booking Sites / Airlines / Credit Cards / Visas / → All Tags
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?
Cities have MySpace pages now? Who knew? Turns out that Sydney has got its own MySpace haunt because they want to persuade young Americans to head Down Under to boost the Aussie economy rather than helping out their own. Well, that's just our interpretation.
Now that US citizens aged 18 to 30 can get a working holiday visa for Australia, Sydney reckons it's got the goods to attract people: Surf and sand, plenty of jobs, good nightlife and decent places to study if you're so inclined.
Sydney--at least its MySpace version--doesn't have too many friends yet, and it has even fewer comments on its forum questions. But don't let that be an indication of whether this city is actually friend-worthy. Just because we think Melbourne's better doesn't mean you can't add Sydney as a friend: Melbourne isn't even cool enough to have a MySpace page yet.
Last month, we were worried that the fallout from this Hugo Chavez speech might lead to new fees for American tourists brave enough to travel to Venezuela. But instead it's Argentina that's planning to levy an entry fee on Americans, Australians, Canadians and others, starting January 1.
Interior Minister Florencio Randazzo says charging foreign nationals $134 upon their entry into Argentina is payback for the visa fee his people have to pay when heading to other countries:
We feel that it's an injustice that an Argentine goes to the United States and has to pay $134 for a visa.
For what it's worth, this doesn't mean visitors have to actually apply for a visa; the charge, which covers you for 10 years, is simply a "fee of reciprocity" that will ostensibly go toward "modernizing immigration posts throughout the country."
[Photo of Buenos Aires' Immigration Museum: Wikimedia]
Passports / Visas / Immigration / UK Travel / → All Tags
It may soon get harder to visit the UK--at least if your a national of one of 11 countries now off the so-called visa-waiver list. The idea, says the UK Border Agency, is to keep tabs on those people who might endanger the country. But among the 11 are Brazil, Malaysia, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago, places that you might not associate with scary stuff.
The Border Agency says it plans to work with the governments in question to see if they can't stay on the visa-waiver list; a final decision won't be made until early 2009. But should risk reduction not be seen, even more foreign visitors will have to submit fingerprints and get a visa before arriving in the UK. The new rules would mean that Britain requires visas of 80 percent of the world's population.
When the US clamped down of visiting foreigners after 9/11, many countries didn't appreciate it. In probably the most famous show of displeasure, Brazil decided to charge Americans $100 per visa starting in 2004 in retaliation for what its citizens had to pay to visit the states. A pro-tourism group in the UK is worried the same thing might happen to the British as a result of the ever-widening visa net.