Monday, March 29, 2010

Guest Post: Visas for Living Abroad

Forget foreign languages, lack of deep dish pizza, and being far from family. Often, the hardest part about the living abroad experience is just dealing with the paperwork to get there. Today Writer Abroad welcomes guest writer Lauren Fritsky, an American journalist and blogger currently living abroad in Australia, to talk about visa requirements and terms–and how they’ve changed.

Visas for Living Abroad

by Lauren Fritsky

Thinking of moving abroad? Then you might want to brush up on the latest visa requirements and terms. Here is what’s changed in recent years in some countries.

United Kingdom

Before: Individuals used to apply under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) to seek work or self-employment opportunities in the UK without a specific job sponsorship. Work/holiday seekers could apply to the various individual programs in operation, such as BUNAC’s Blue Card Work in Britain program and Gap Year.

Now: In 2008, the UK changed immigration policies to a points-based system. The HSMP now falls under Tier 1 of the five-tiered system, and applicants still don’t need visa sponsorship (Tiers 2 through 4 do). Tier 5 now takes in work/holiday programs such as BUNAC.

More changes to UK immigration policies are possible in 2010. Reports claim Parliament might allow non-Masters degree holders under the Tier 1 Visa.

Web site:


Before: Upon receiving the work/holiday visa (subclass 462), you had three months to enter the country. Under the skilled–independent visa (subclass 885), which allows you to work and permanently reside, candidates had to apply for a skills assessment, but only had to take it if their visa submission was accepted.

Now: You now have a full year from the time your work/holiday visa is granted to head down under. As of Jan. 1, those wanting a skilled-independent visa must obtain a skills assessment prior to applying.

Web site:


Before: You could change certain visas to other types, and American visitors could get a visa within a day.

Now: Between the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing and last year’s swine flu outbreak, China has tightened its visa requirements. Express visa service is no longer available, and visitors must fill out visa applications in person. You can also no longer change tourist (L) and business (F) visas to other types.

Also, visa applicants may now be required to provide letters of invitation or certificates of family relationships.

Web site:

How about you? Was it difficult to get permission to live in your country? Do you have to renew permits every year? Writer Abroad wants to know!

Lauren Fritsky is a journalist and blogger from New Jersey currently spending a year in Sydney, Australia, on a work/holiday visa. Her work has appeared on major Web sites including AOL and CNN and in magazines such as Weight Watchers. Read her blog at


  1. Thailand while you're writing, things are changing there now too. You can enter without a visa for up to 30 days depending on where you come from but you can't stay more than 90 days in a six-month period now. You need to apply for a Non-Immigrant visa for longer stays.
    This is a great site for information:

  2. Good to know. Thanks for sharing.

  3. In Japan, it's difficult to get a visa just for freelance work - unless you are a journalist (but still need a sponsor/employer of some kind). There's the 90-day tourist visa, but aren't allowed to do any work (in Japan, but as a freelancer wouldn't matter so much). Otherwise, would need a different visa through another job, like teaching English (instructor visa) or be married to someone working in Japan (dependent visa) or marry a Japanese person.

    Regular visas typically need to be renewed every three years, or sooner if there's a status change. Also, in order to leave and come back (say, on a short trip or vacation) need to purchase a re-entry permit. Japan is rather strict with visas and who they allow into their country.

  4. Hi Ashley, great info, thanks. Switzerland is also very strict. As an American, you can't just come here for more than three months and freelance, you have to be sponsored by an employer or be married to someone who is. And you have to renew this permit every year (mainly I think, so that Switzerland can collect the big bucks).

  5. My husband,our 1 year old daughter and I applied to migrate in canada. It's been more that 7 months now since we forwarded our documents for visa approval. and we still have not received any from the embassy. we are here in the philippines. supposedly, they will get back to us within 90 days. so, currently we are clueless about what's happening with our application. still, we are very positive to hear positive feedback from the embassy.

  6. Pursuant on the O-1 carte visa category criteria, the patient or perhaps member of staff should demonstrate that he or she is amongst the smaller percentage who's grown on the top with their industry connected with knowledge. It is done by providing documented evidence how the person satisfies the criteria detailed from the immigration law. Some other moose workers may perhaps qualify for the O-2 work visa. This US ALL visa category is often a will be kind on the primary O-1 visa dish. On that basis, someone might not exactly sign up for the O-2 visa group on their own. This kind visa additionally involves the member of staff to obtain before experience while using principal O-1 visa dish.

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