How to Live Abroad with the Least Hassle
If you want to live for extended periods of time outside your home country, you need to understand how visas work and when you need them. And when you don’t.
Immigration When You Land at the Airport
Every country on the planet wants to control the flow of people across its border. When you arrive in a country other than your own, you must pass through some kind of immigration area. You will have to show your ID and any other required documents. You have to be prepared for this or they won’t allow you to enter the country.
If I am a US resident and I want to enter a country outside of the US, I’m going to either need a visa or a visa waiver to do this.
What is a Visa Waiver?
A visa waiver is just like what it sounds. The country I want to go to is waiving the requirement to get a visa because I am a US citizen. A visa waiver is a legal agreement that is entered into between countries to allow their citizens to come and go.
If there isn’t a waiver agreement in place, then you are going to have to apply for a visa from the country you want to visit. This can be a confusing and time-consuming task. Some countries like Saudi Arabia require that you give them your passport. China requires that you give them your passport for a few days when you apply for a visa. If there’s a visa waiver in place, you don’t have to get a visa.
What is a Tourist Visa?
These visa waivers are typically referred to as tourist visas even though you don’t actually have a visa. All you are getting is an approval stamp in your passport to allow you to stay in the country for a certain amount of days. People call them tourist visas because most people use these for sightseeing and tourism. Savvy expats use them to live and work remotely all around the world without the hassle of residency or citizenship requirements.
The length of these visa waivers (and visas in general) vary from country to country. If you need a visa, then there are many different kinds of visas to apply for (tourist, worker, student, etc). You can see why travelers prefer visa waivers.
How Long Can I stay with a Tourist Visa?
In some countries, visa waivers are as short as 30 days (Thailand), and up 1 year (Georgia). Many are 60 in 90 days to start. The visa waiver determines how many days you have upon your first entry before you’re required to leave the country.
You can overstay your visa in some instances. Many times it won’t hurt. You pay a fine and then you leave. The issue may come back and hurt you when you try to re-enter the country. This is more of an issue for expats who try to abuse the visa waiver program in the same country over and over.
Some countries like Colombia allow you to extend your visa waiver with a simple application. Colombia initial waiver for US citizens is 90 days. If you’d like to extend that you can apply towards the end of your 90 days and get another 90 days. The limit for foreigners in Colombia is 180 days total per calendar year.
It is important to find out what the total number of days per year is that you can be allowed in the country under a visa waiver. Columbia is 180 but Thailand is only 90 days, 30 days at a time. You can get a 90-day visa waiver in Thailand but most people go there for 30 and then get it extended for another 60.
What some experts and digital nomads have been doing for years it’s called visa running or visa hopping. This is where they would go over the border for a short amount of time and come back like going from Thailand to Laos or Vietnam. Countries are starting to crack down on this along with people that overstay their visa waivers.
There are some people that will go to a place like Thailand on a tourist visa and then just never leave. We don’t recommend this. You may get found out and deported back to your home country and never allowed to come again. If you like that other country the risk seems too great to us. There are many other ways to do this without risking getting permanently deported.
What’s The Best Way To Do Live Abroad Permanently?
Here at Dream World Passport, we like to plan our year out a bit and stay in countries for months at a time. The AirBnBs give the best discount for monthly stays and you can even negotiate better deals directly with owners for longer stays. Planning out the proper use of visa waivers means we don’t have the hassle or expense of getting residency or citizenship. You can live abroad indefinitely (with some swings back through the US when you prefer it) by keeping track of the waivers in your favorite countries.
Over time, when you find the 1-2 countries that you prefer, you can look into permanent residency so you don’t have to worry about the timing of visa waivers and entry/exit from the country.
Getting a 2nd Passport is a key ingredient to your Dream Life too. You put 2-3 passports together with 1-2 residencies and you’ll be set up with lots of options on how to live your best life.