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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 December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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