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What’s a Visa?

I’m not talking about the plastic card in your wallet, used for faking like you’ve got money. Americans are GREAT with those! No, I’m talking about the little slip of paper or stamp that comes after a little paperwork, a fee and a follow-up visit to your local embassy or airport. And that’s just tourist visas, not a business one. In short, a hassle.

Why Getting a Visa Sucks

If you think getting a tourist visa is a hassle, you’re not alone. It takes paperwork, spending money ($30-$300) and maybe even a visit to a nearby embassy or consulate. In other words, it’s easier to book a flight around the world, than to arrange permission to walk off the plane. But if you’re American, well, lucky for you! Americans, with their US passports, can visit pretty much every country on the planet, visa-free. Out of nearly 200 countries, Americans can visit 172 of them without a visa. Yes, you can stay up to 90 days in almost every country, without any hassle. Just book your flight and Go.

Do I Need a Visa to Visit that Country?

Probably not, but let’s cover this anyway. Needing a visa to visit somewhere depends a lot on what country you’re from.  (hey, that’s the whole point of this article!) I have to share 2 things here. First is a great info graphic that show how powerful each country’s passport is. Click on it for the full-sized picture:

Where Can Americans Go WIthout a Visa?

Click for Full Picture

Then, this website offers a page and chart to answer if you need that visa, per country, per nationality. It’s cool stuff. You just pull down what nationality you are. The list shows destination countries as red (need a visa) or green (no visa needed -just fly there).

My Point…

I guess my point is, if you’re American, there is next to nothing holding you back. You think you got it hard? Try being from one of the “less powerful” countries in the picture. Many people there want to visit other places, but can’t. You can. You’re free to go. Fly, be free.

-Jeff

p.s. By the way, Canada ranks just behind the US overall. Plus they can visit that nearby vacation oasis called Cuba.

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Today is June 21st, 2014

It was 2 years ago I got the letter. Two years ago, CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) said I was awarded Permanent Residency in Canada. The letter was dated June 11th and I received it on the 21st – exactly 2 years ago today. That’s kinda cool to me. :)

Two Years – My Last Qualification

To apply for citizenship, I have to be a permanent resident of Canada for (at least) two years before. My final interview was June 27th, 2012. I had the interview about a week after my letter came June 21st, 2012. Note: if you want to learn all about the PR final interview, read here. That post is at 300 comments and growing!

So, here I am in June 2014, meeting that 2-year requirement. (Yea!)

The 2-year thing is just one condition. What other requirements are there?

Here are all of them to be eligible for citizenship:

  • You lived in Canada for 3 out of the last 4 years. (1095 days) Check!
  • You’re able to communicate well in either English, French or both. Check! (just English for me.)
  • Know about Canada – be able to pass a citizenship test. I’m a fast learner, so… Check!
  • Lastly, be a permanent resident for at least 2 years before applying. Check!

What does all this mean for me? Well, it means I will be….

Applying For Canadian Citizenship – Yea!

Okay, to be totally safe, I’ll probably wait a month or so before applying. The reason is I haven’t spent 1095 continuous days in Canada. Over the past 3 years, I’ve visited the US for a few weeks and Prague for a week. So, I’ll wait until mid-July to apply.

If you need to be sure, CIC offers a calculator here. But be aware you have to (first register and) log in to get the “results.”

If you don’ t want to go through registering with the CIC, you can do it yourself.

Here is how the math works:

1. Figure out when you arrived in Canada.

2. What day did you get Canadian Permanent Residence status?

3. What day do you want to fill in the application for Canadian citizenship?

Count It Up

[(How many days between #1 & #2) / 2] + [How many days between #2 & #3]

If that number is 1095 or more, then you can apply for citizenship.  (1095 = 3 years worth of days)

Ah, but what if you had some vacation time, outside the country? Excellent question — and here’s my answer to that….

How to Vacation Out of Canada – And Apply For Citizenship Faster

Have you wanted to vacation out of Canada, but you’re afraid that every day you’re outside Canada, that’s another day longer you can’t apply for citizenship?

Not really. It actually depends on when you vacation.

Let’s look again at the number facts

Fact #1: You need 3 years worth of days (1095 exactly) of physical presence in Canada.

Fact #2: Each day you lived in Canada before you became a permanent resident counts as half a day.

Fact #3: Each day you lived in Canada after you became a permanent resident counts as a whole day.

Let’s look at 2 examples, using “Alice” and “Bob” again to find out when is the best time to take an extended vacations outside Canada.

Vacation Example #1:

Alice is a Permanent Resident and has been for nearly 2 years. She is planning a 3-month trip back to India. Soon after her return, Alice plans to apply for citizenship.

Vacation Example #2:

Bob is a landed immigrant, but not yet a Permanent Resident. He submitted his PR application a few months ago and noticed online that processing just started. With all his free time, Bob is considering a 3-month visit to family in the Philippines. He expects to get back long before a letter arrives that his PR application was approved.

Who’s Vacation Counts Most Against Citizenship?

If you’re paying attention, you know the answer already. Yup, Alice. Her 3-months away means she must wait another 3 months longer before she can apply for citizenship.

But Bob’s 3-month vacation will only take away 1.5 months from his citizenship application date. Because Bob took vacation before he got his Permanent Resident status, his days in Canada count as only half-days. And thus, his vacation days out of the country only forfeit away half the time.

Sure, it’s “glass is half-full” versus “half-empty” thinking, but in terms of “opportunity lost” the logic is sound.

Something I thought you should be aware of, in case you’re planning around your PR interview date.

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HUGELY GENEROUS CONTEST AHEAD

But first, a word from our sponsor…

(review written by me, after the company sent me a wallet to check out for you all)

Review of the CAZLET iPhone Wallet

The good people of Kynez contacted me recently. They wanted to know if I’d be interested in reviewing their newest wallet, the CAZLET.

Keith of Kynez explained the CAZLET is an iPhone wallet. I was immediately skeptical, but I figured “Why not, I’ll check it out if they’re sending me one.

Well, I got it 3 days ago, and have been using it 100%. My impression: the CAZLET is a smart product. 

[click to continue…]

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Canadian Immigration Federal Worker Program

Yesterday Canada announced it is re-opening the Federal Skilled Worker and Skilled Trades Program.

If you want to get into Canada, this is great news for you.

Getting Into Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker

This is very exciting news for people who wanted to immigrate into Canada, but didn’t want to marry a Canadian to do it.  LOL [click to continue…]

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You know, as a man gets older (not “old,” just older), he labels his experience as worthy to pass on. Women…they have the miracle of birth, but for us guys, passing on knowledge is pretty much all we got. So, I guess, given the chance, we run with it. :)

Last week, a 16-year boy wrote to me, asking for advice. He admires his dad whose own corporate career included assignments abroad. The boy lived overseas for half his life, and wants to continue it himself. Very cool to hear.

Well, you combine the two things and it starts to explain the good feeling I get from e-mail chain between me and this young one. [click to continue…]

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Advice to a 16-Year Old

I get e-mail asking for help. E-mail every day. And I answer every one. Don’t believe me? Try me.

I’d say 85% of the e-mail I get is the same general request for help: get me overseas. For general e-mails, I give general help. See examples here.

But sometimes I get an e-mail that tugs at my heart. Today was one of them. A 16-year old wrote for some early life-direction advice. At first glance, it was almost “cute.” I mean, imagine, a 16 year old asking a total stranger (-me, of all people!) for advice. He doesn’t know me at all. He only knows I have travelled and he wants the same. Then I read it carefully. [click to continue…]

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To some, “Slomo” is Dr. John Kitchin, a neurologist. To others, he seems like “a homeless guy with a nice pair of skates.” To others, he’s just …happy. He got away.

Watch the video and decide who Slomo is to you.

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Heard the News?

Just in case you missed the news, US President Obama quietly extended the country’s status of national emergency. I’m guessing you missed that bit of news. Though, you probably didn’t miss the fact the year is now 2014.

I know what you’re thinking… it’s 2014, and the terrorist attack which killed nearly 3000 people on September 11, 2001 happened in 2001. That’s like …13 years ago. Yup, 13 years. Yup, the US, the most (insert here: powerful/wealthy/nuclear-tipped/war faring/inch-measuring) country in the world, still running scared in a state of national “Oh GAWD, the sky is falling!” emergency.

It's a trap!

Thirteen Years. Seriously?

Do you know what you were doing during the attack? For millions of Americans, it’s the annual conversation-starter question, if ever there was one.

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Holy Winter in Nova Scotia, Canada!

Holy Winter in Nova Scotia, Canada! thumbnail

Whether you’re American thinking in Fahrenheit, or Canadian thinking in Celsius, it’s COLD here.

The temperature outside our house is now -15 (C). With the wind, we’re well past twenty below zero. (Dude, that’s cold.)

I’m no outdoorsman, not an Inuit, nor am I fond of cold in general. In fact, if I can share, I’m daydreaming of a toasty beach chair and a cool tropical drink with one of those little paper umbrellas.

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On my blog, I only seek to inspire you to travel. That’s my purpose. To inspire you to push the comfort zone, explore the great world around you, and seek your own adventure.

Here are 3 examples of how 3 guys, Matt, Alex and Miguel, used travel to turn their normal thing into something kick-ass…

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