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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 October 20, 2020

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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