Digital Nomad: Setting Your Business Goals as a Digital Nomad
This article provides a framework for goal-setting that will help you move along your chosen career path as you trek around the world.
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A visa is an endorsed document that allows people to enter into other countries for a specified period of time. Visas exist to provide countries with a traceable record of who is in their country at a given time, and this data is used for anything from tourism planning to national security. Unlike passports, visas share similar conventions so the local authorities in a given country can understand its contents no matter where the traveler has originated from.
The information within a visa tells the country you’re entering who you are, why you are there and for how long you plan to stay. Each country will have its own entry requirements for visitors, and they can vary based on an entrant’s nationality. For this reason, it’s important to thoroughly research the visa procedure for your unique circumstances prior to planning a move abroad.
There are two overarching visas that apply to any country: immigrant (in which you become a citizen of that country) and nonimmigrant (whereby you do not become a citizen of that country, and are there for temporary travel).
Then, there are four types of travel visas.
Some countries will require its visitors to apply for a visa in advance. Other countries streamline the process and even allow you to easily renew a tourist visa should you choose to extend your stay. We recommend acquainting yourself with the general rigidness of a country’s visa application process well in advance, so you can be prepared in the event of a long and drawn-out process.
Of important note: Some countries will not allow you to enter their country, or even apply for a visa, if your passport is on track to expire within the next six months. An initial step you should take in the process of becoming a nomad is to renew your passport, if needed.
If you are a U.S. citizen, some countries will not require you to apply for a visa up until a certain point. For example, if you are travelling anywhere in Australia, a visa is required regardless if you are U.S citizen or not. However, if you are travelling to Canada, no visa is required for stays under 180 days. For specific information regarding the visa policy for the countries you wish to visit, head over to the U.S. Department of State’s resource on Passports & International Travel.
If you are a non-U.S. citizen and your nomadic travels take you stateside, you’ll need to apply to and be approved by the U.S. Department of State. The visa requirements will differ based on your nationality. To complete the application online, visit the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA (www.esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta).
Currently, there are 38 countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VMP), which allows people from these select countries to visit the U.S. without a pre-authorized visa. If you’re from one of these countries, like New Zealand, Switzerland or the UK, you’re in luck! No visa is needed.
As you might imagine, the rules vary by country. For example, in the U.S. you must apply with USCIS before your authorized stay, denoted on your admission stamp or paper Form I-94, expires. It’s recommended that you apply well in advance of your expiration date.
As a digital nomad you’re no doubt used to living your life on the web. Instant banking, instant communications—everything is real time. However, when working with federal agencies, things tend to move slower. A lot slower. Always build lead time into your planning for applications and renewals, because they can take weeks, if not months to go through.
If you’re planning to live as a nomad within your own country, you obviously will not require any sort of visa. Just pack your bags and go. That said, some countries are making it easier than ever to go in between partner countries. VisaCentral’s quick-check tool is a great place to look if you are unsure where to go and want to prioritize a country with lax visa policies. For U.S. residents, you’d be surprised by how easy it can be to go in and out of many countries. In fact, U.S. citizens get access to 174 countries in the world by way of having an up-to-date passport. Instead of applying in advance, you’ll speak with a border agent who will process your visa upon your arrival.
Part of your responsibility as a digital nomad is navigating the laws of the countries you are departing and entering. Given the complexities of the global landscape, it’s critical to do your due diligence and thoroughly research your visa obligations early in your planning process.
For lots more information on being a digital nomad, check out our free eBook, Anywhere.
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