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Last Updated on December 14, 2017

Which Type of Visa Do You Need to Travel Abroad?

Which Type of Visa Do You Need to Travel Abroad?

If you’ve never traveled abroad before, you might not really even know what a visa is, or why you’d need one.

To put it simply, a visa is a document that provides you with visitation rights to another country. Think of it like a hall pass: It explains what you’re doing in the country, and for how long. Depending on what you are doing in the country, you’ll have a varying amount of time to be within the border without having to do more paperwork or request an extension.

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Although there are many – many – types of visas you can apply for. But for the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on the four most popular types of visa people use when coming into the United States. These visas allow visitors to stay in the country for specified periods of time, and dictate their purpose for being in the country. However, this does not mean visitors must adhere to a strict schedule. While the period of time in which they are allowed to stay within the country is quite stringent, they are allowed to use their free time however they choose.

Short, Specific Period of Time

Those temporarily coming to the US on business can apply for a B-1 visa. Travelers applying for a B-1 visa know exactly how long they will be in the country, and their documentation will reflect this. Though those entering the US on a B-1 visa will performing occupational duties for an international company throughout their stay, they aren’t limited to actions only pertaining to work. In other words, people with a B-1 visa aren’t going to be thrown out of the country if they attend a professional ballgame or Broadway show.

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In lieu of a B-1 visa, many travelers can apply for an ESTA waiver if they hail from a specific country.

Visitor Exchange

A J-1 visa is colloquially known as a visitor exchange visa. J-1 visas are most often granted to college-age travelers looking to come to America to work in temporary positions in order to gain fieldwork experience and training. Candidates for a J-1 visa are usually recruited from a specific area at once, allowing hosts in the US to accommodate to a single demographic. Those visiting the country on a J-1 visa can take jobs ranging from camp counselors to teachers, or may remain as students or apprentices.

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Skilled Work

Students who have recently graduated with highly-specialized degrees apply for an H-1B visa. These students usually work in fields in which other countries consistently outperform their American counterparts – including computer programming, medicine, and mathematics. Visitors applying for an H-1B visa must be able to provide documentation that confirms their skills are on-par with the degree they currently hold. An H-1B visa allows recent graduates to live in the US for three years, and up to six or ten in special circumstances. Although the main goal of accepting workers under an H-1B visa is to recruit skilled workers, doing so also promotes cultural diversity in the workplace, as well.

Unskilled Labor

An H-2B visa is a cross between the J1 and H1B visa: It allows travelers from other countries to come into the US during periods in which seasonal employment increases. Typically, these jobs are either very labor-intensive or simply require increased manpower. For example, during the spring and summer months, the US may accept young adults from other countries to work as lifeguards or ticket-takers at water and amusement parks. In the winter, those looking for work as snowplow drivers may be accepted into the country. After the season winds down, however, the workers’ visas will expire.

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Featured photo credit: Statue of Liberty / Chick neo / Flickr via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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