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How Electronic Travel Authorizations Are Making International Travel Easier

How Electronic Travel Authorizations Are Making International Travel Easier

It’s no surprise that countries are tightening their border security after a recent spat of isolated terrorist attacks over the past few years. Although border security has increased worldwide, a few of the more popular travel destinations have implemented electronic travel authorization systems in the form of electronic (i.e. eVisas) and Visa Waivers to make it easier for many foreign nationals to enter for tourism and business travel. This guide provides information on where to get the appropriate travel authorization for popular destinations, as well as information on how much each travel authorization will cost, the validity period for each, and the type of uses permitted.

EU Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS)

It’s no surprise that Europe is one of the most popular destinations for tourism and business, yet it is one of the last to implement an electronic travel authorization system. ETIAS will roll out starting in 2020. The system is intended to streamline border security checks for business and tourist travelers from over 50 countries by allowing them to apply online for travel authorization before arriving in one of the EU or Schengen area countries. Once ETIAS is deployed, it will be the most widely used form of electronic travel authorization given the millions of yearly EU visitors.

Cost: €5 for individuals over the age of 18, free for travelers under the age of 18.

Where to apply: To be determined.

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United States Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

In 2009, the United States deployed their Visa Waiver system,ESTA. Although the system has been under recent scrutiny over potential abuse and security concerns, ESTA has been in use for over seven years and is a valuable screening tool for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, as well as serving as a source of revenue bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars per year to the U.S. government. Upon issuance, ESTA is valid for two years, or the date of passport expiration (whichever comes first), and can be used for visits of up to 90 days for tourism, business, transit or medical purposes. As of 2016, there are 38 countries whose citizens are eligible for the ESTA.

Cost: $14 USD if your application is approved, or just $4 USD if your application is denied.

Where to apply: Visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

Australian Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and Electronic Visitor (eVisitor)

Both the Australian eTA and eVisitor travel authorizations make it simple for travelers to apply online for entry into Australia. The eVisitor is for citizens of 36 different European countries who wish to visit Australia for business, tourism, or transit purposes. The eVisitor is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and can be used for up to three months per visit during the 12-month period. Best of all, the eVisitor does not impose any application fees. The Australian eTA is for citizens of just over a handful of countries and allows these business or tourist travelers to stay in the country for a maximum of three months per visit and is also valid for a period of 12 months from the date of issue.

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Cost: $20 AUD per eTA application (non-refundable even if application denied) and free for eVisitor applicants.

Where to apply: For eTA Applications visit www.eta.immi.gov.au and eVisitor applicants visit https://online.immi.gov.au/lusc/login

Canada Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)

The latest country to roll out an electronic travel authorization system is Canada. The Canadian eTA allows tourist, business, and transit travelers to apply online for an authorization which will be valid for five years, or until the date of passport expiration, and be used for stays of up to six months per visit for the purposes of tourism, business, or transit. As of 2016, there are over 50 countries whose citizens are eligible to apply for an eTA.

Cost: $7 CAD (non-refundable even if application denied)

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Where to apply: Visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta-start.asp

Indian e-Tourist Visa

The Indian eVisa is for travelers from nearly 150 countries. The Indian e-Tourist visa is issued for anywhere between 6 months to 10 years (for U.S. citizens). The maximum amount of time permitted per stay is 180 days and the e-Tourist Visa can be used for tourism, business, transit or medical purposes.

Cost: The cost ranges between $0 to $60 USD, depending on the citizenship of the traveler.

Where to apply: Visit https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/Registration

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Why are governments using eVisa and Visa Waivers? Visa Waivers and eVisa systems allow for greater ease of entry and exit at the border for travelers from various countries, as well as allow host countries to better monitor the flow of visitors through their borders. Most Visa Waivers and eVisas require the following:

  • Applicants must have an electronic passport (i.e. with an electronic chip); this allows border authorities to link the passport of the traveler with the approved travel authorization, which is then checked at the border.
  • Applicants must have an electronic passport which is valid on the date of arrival to the host country, and preferably have six months or more remaining before expiration.
  • Applicants must from an eligible country.
  • Applicants must not have a recent and / or serious criminal record.
  • Applicants must be free from any contagious diseases.
  • Applicants should not plan on staying in the host country for purposes of other then a short-stay for business, tourism or transit purposes.

Most application forms support multiple languages and accept online debit or credit card payments. Most Visa Waivers and eVisas are issued within 72 hours or less of submitting an online application. These electronic travel authorizations also share the same commonality in that they usually allow multiple entries on the same authorization. However, most cannot be renewed, thus applicants must reapply for travel authorizations once their previous approval has expired.

If you’re planning to visit the USA, Europe, Australia, Canada, or India, rest assured these countries make it easy to get the right travel authorization online in a fast and relatively low cost manner.

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Areion Azimi

Product Director at Sweet Startup

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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