¨It’s pretty physically unsettling, living life on a visa.¨
John Oliver

What are Electronic Travel Authorizations?

This blog was written before the COVID Pandemic. The COVID epidemics played havoc on the travel business. In 2022, Fifty Plus Nomad decided to focus on traveling and living in Mexico and language learning posts. We will only update these long-term travel-related posts on a time-permitting basis. We would appreciate your comments and updates on these posts.

In recent years, many developed countries have required citizens from other developed countries to get ¨electronic travel authorizations¨ (ETA) before entering their country. Most people from developed countries (the US, Western Europe, Canada, and Australia) need ETAs to visit each other’s countries. (One notable exception; Canada and the USA do not require the ETAs for each others’ citizens). 

For most people, ETAs are relatively easy to obtain. You simply:

  • Go to a website for the country you are visiting (Australia , USA, and Canada). Note: It is an ESTA (Electronic System Travel Authorization) in the US.
  • Pay a small fee (around $30 US).
  • Fill out a short online form.
  • Wait to receive an email confirmation a couple of hours later.

No photos, scanned copies of your passport, etc., are usually required. (It may or may not be necessary to print a copy of the authorization to enter the country).

In November 2023, US and Canadian citizens will be required to get ETAs to go to most European countries. Thankfully, since these countries are part of the Schengen Treaty, you will only need to apply once to travel around most of Europe. (Here is a map of the Schengen area.

Want More Long-Term Travel Tips from Fifty Plus Nomad?

Paul Heller has been a lifelong avid traveler and language learner and teacher, Even as a child, he told Santa Claus that he wanted to visit all the children worldwide. At seven years old, Paul wanted to retire to Mexico. At eight, he memorized the name, capital, location, and some facts about every country worldwide. At twelve, he found a book "Lonely Planet: Southeast Asia on a Shoestring" and started developing his own itinerary for a future round-the-world trip. He remained obsessed with travel; after getting a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and working as an administrator, He spent his vacations going to different countries around the globe studying language, touring, and volunteering. In 1994, he quit his job and lived in Russia as a volunteer English instructor. He discovered that he loved teaching languages. In 2004, he decided to make a living out of his travels and founded a community of people who love to travel just like him. He developed 5 three-hour classes about living and traveling long-term worldwide which he taught in over 50 adult education programs throughout the US. After his parents passed, he realized his dream of traveling around the world; cruising and touring some of the most remote places like the North Atlantic, Patagonia, and Oceania; and learning new languages (he knows Spanish, Italian, French, and Russian). Paul encourages everyone to learn foreign languages. He knows that it can be frustrating and slow but that anyone can learn a language if they put in the work and, most importantly, learning a language is well worth the time and effort because it opens up a whole new set of people, ideas, and cultures. He is currently spending the next chapter of his life in Mérida, México. He is excited about using this blog and his classes and workshops to inspire and equip fellow Fifty Plus Nomads with the language, cultural, and psychological skills necessary to be successful and happy long-term travelers and expats over 50.

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