With digital nomadism taking off around the globe, people are wondering where they can travel—and stay—without having to apply for a visa.
Most countries allow U.S., Canadian, and British citizens (along with many others) to enter countries for a maximum of 90 days at a time on their automatically granted tourist visa.
Long-stay visas, on the other hand, can come with administration fees, require advance application, background checks, and proof of funds, and generally entail more administration and hassle than many travelers want to deal with.
When it comes to going overseas, unless you’re very sure of where you want to be long-term, these visas aren’t worth the bureaucracy they require.
Plus, staying long-term can trigger consequences that you may not be aware of and, in many cases, that you’d rather avoid—things like trigging local tax residency and being required to file more IRS forms. They can also require you to stay in the country, depriving you of the freedom to leave when you wish for as long as you’d like, even to go back home.
The only administration hassle you might encounter with some of these long-stay tourist visas is that your foreign driver’s license may not be valid for the entire length of the visa. Panama, for example, allows tourists to stay for 180 days, but they won’t be able to legally drive on their home country’s license for more than 90 days. If you’re planning to drive a car in the country in question, this is something to verify.
If you’re looking for commitment-free travel while you explore the globe—be it for retirement, investment, or just enjoying the great wide world—there are only a handful of places in the world that fit the bill.
Automatic Entry For A Year—Or Even Two
With the most generous tourist visa allowances in the world, most citizens can come to the following countries and stay for a year without doing any paperwork. Plus, to get another year-long stay, all you have to do is exit and re-enter.
On the Adriatic, this beautiful country boasts many of the same assets that neighboring Greece and Montenegro offer, but at a fraction of the cost.
Unfortunately, Albania’s year-long tourist visa is only available to Americans.
It’s not on the mainstream travel path, but Georgia is a culturally rich country that offers some great offshore and business advantages, including the fact that you can simply enter the country and stay for a year.
An archipelago of over 500 islands, you can enter and spend up to a year island-hopping in this oceanic paradise.
Easy Six-Month Entry
It doesn’t get any easier than in the following popular countries, where you can enter and stay for six months without worrying about administration.
The latest country to allow for six-month tourist visas, Costa Rica just announced the change from 90 to 180 days in September 2023 for “Group One” countries (which includes the United States, Canada, the U.K., and most of Europe).
Technically, granting it is at the immigration officer’s discretion—so mind your Ps and Qs—but there shouldn’t be any reason you won’t be given the 180-day visa.
You can request an extension of an additional three months or exit and re-enter to get another six months.
Ever popular and right next door, famous for its sunshine and laid-back culture, Mexico has long offered six-month visas to tourists—all the better to explore this massive, diverse country. You need to leave the country before that time is up, but simply re-enter to get another six-month stay granted automatically.
One of my favorite countries, my home for half the year, the base of my business, Live and Invest Overseas, and a noted retirement haven, Panama offers 180-day tourist visas. To reset the clock, simply leave the country and re-enter.
Extend For A Total Of Five-Plus Months
While the following countries only allow for three months off the bat, you can easily extend your stay while in the country for an additional two to three months, giving you a total of five to six months (possibly more) in that country without formalizing your residency.
Blessed with beautiful lakes, rivers, mountains, and forests, not to mention its enticing cost of living and its wonderfully welcoming people, Cambodia makes it easy to stay long-term on its regular visa (not a tourist visa, which is only renewable for a total of a two-month stay). For US$35, you’ll be granted a 30-day visa, which can be renewed monthly for up to a year.
With fine wines, endless coastline, and modern cities, Chile offers the highest standard of living in Latin America. Even better, you can stay for three months automatically and extend that for an additional three months (for a fee).
Offering the best health care in Latin America and diverse lifestyle opportunities, including the Caribbean and the Andes as well as cosmopolitan cities, Colombia is South America’s best-kept secret. Stay for three months (granted automatically) and extend for an additional three months. Just beware; you can only spend six months per calendar year in the country.
Boasting extraordinary nature, welcoming locals, and picturesque colonial towns, come to Guatemala for an automatic three-month stay and extend for an additional three months at no cost.
Akin to the rules of Europe’s Schengen Area, the Central America-4 Border Control Agreement, which includes Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras, allows free travel between member countries. However, it also means you’ll need to exit the entire region once your tourist visa expires.
A global hub for trade and business with breathtaking beaches, visit for three months (granted automatically) and extend for an additional two months.
With crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and unless sunshine, you can explore this 115-island archipelago in the Indian Ocean for three months and extend that for three-month periods for up to a year (for a fee).
You’ll need proof of onward travel, accommodation, and funds to cover expenses while in the country (US$150 per day).
To leave a country and re-enter immediately for no other reason than to get a new tourist visa is known as a visa or border run.
This used to be a common practice in many regions of the world and still is in some. Certain countries, like Thailand, for example, have come to frown on this practice and have taken measures to prevent it. Some will only grant a certain number of visas per calendar year; some require you to be out of country for a specified time before you’ll be allowed to re-enter for a new tourist visa.
The following countries all allow for border runs, essentially allowing 180 days of entry, as long as you exit the country once before the first 90 days is up.
Enjoy the good life in this wine country with a low cost of living and excellent health care for 90 days. You can either extend this in the country for an additional 90 days or just do a border run to reset the tourist visa.
Taiwan boasts tropical forests, delicious cuisine, and helpful locals. Citizens of most countries can enter Taiwan and stay for 90 days. You’ll need to leave the country before the tourist visa expires, but you’ll be allowed right back in.
Read the full article here