Pack Your Things – These 7 Countries Grant Long-term Visas to Americans
American passports enable preferential access and low visa fees when visiting many countries. Lucky us! Countries like Russia and have long, arduous visa processes for Americans. But a few countries allow Americans long stay periods allowing visits and residence ranging from eight months to eternity. If planning a lengthy vacation or relocating for months/ decades, these destinations do beckon.
Marshall Islands (Indefinite)
Americans could visit these little-known, visa-free 29 atolls containing thousands of islands of the Pacific archipelago, ad infinitum. Majuro offers amenities and opportunities to mingle with the local populace, besides exploring the outer lying atolls. The locals are experienced nautical navigators, get on board a modest-looking canoe, which are used to sail the 750,000 square miles of ocean that surround the 70 square mile long country. These canoes also offer you the opportunity for snorkeling, spearfishing and scuba diving. The Marshall Islands allow experiencing a stroll in empty beaches, an unknown culture, and let you see a country being submerged due to rising ocean levels because of climate change. Exit pass to leave this paradise costs $20, if you are aged between 13 and 59.
The Federated States of Micronesia is a far-flung island country of over 600 islands in the Pacific, offering American visitors with an indefinite stay. The country of Micronesia is better known than Marshall Islands, but attracts only 40,000 visitors annually visiting it’s extensive coral reefs. The Chuuk Lagoon has more than 50 wrecks at varying depths, a true snorkelers’ Paradise with colorful reefs and marine life. But the coast and it’s lesser islets remain susceptible to rapidly rising sea levels. The ancient Nan Madol ruins which were built in the 12th century, with islets constructed on top of coral reefs, centuries earlier. Pohnpei has numerous waterfalls and a dense cloud forest.
Svalbard, Norway (Indefinite)
Though Svalbard, with it’s total of 3,000 permanent residents, is in Norway, it has it’s separate immigration policy allows work permits and visa-less entry to all visitors but few tourists brave the arctic winter. Visitors can go snowmobiling and dogsledding but there being more polar bears than humans here, a professional tour is preferred as is touring iceberg-filled coves to spot walruses and whales. Reaching Svalbard from the main land of Norway is not very expensive. The archipelago is not a luxury destination and the remoteness makes it costly for a country which is already expensive.
Albania (One Year)
Albania, long isolated by Stalinist Communism, permits Americans visa-free stay up to a year. Albania is a relatively cheap Mediterranean tourist spot since 1992 compared to nearby Greece and Croatia. Visitors enjoy the beaches, mountain villages and vibrant Tirana. Bunk’Art a dual museum and gallery, is a five-floored subterranean bunker. The stunning coastline includes Sarande, Dhërmi, Ksamil, Himara and Berat, the delightful Ottoman town. Hiking trails provide a link to smaller villages hidden between striking mountains with many brief or multi-day routes from the city of Shkodra.
Georgia (One Year)
Georgia, situated in the Caucasus region in the Eurasian crossroads, is undoubtedly gorgeous. Tbilisi Old Town has Ottoman-style baths, the crumbling Narikala Fortress, quaint brick churches and Art Nouveau buildings. Tbilisi’s Saturday flea market witnesses intense bargaining and haggling and for wine and quaint antiques. In the hilly countryside of the region lies Svaneti, which offers amazing hiking trails and exceptionally preserved villages with historic church frescoes and paintings surviving today. Vardzia has an amazing network of caves and stairways leading towards the cave city which contains hundreds of rooms, a dozen churches, and a couple dozen wine cellars built into the mountainside in 12th century AD to house almost 2,000 monks. Georgia has the finest vintage wines which comes from the Kakheti region.
Palau (One Year)
Palau with over 500 limestone islands covered in forests, is sparsely populated lying between Guam and the Philippines in the Pacific Ocean. Eil Malk’s inner marine lake is filled with jellyfish and Palau has 70 marine lakes connected to the ocean through gaps and tunnels in the limestone. The aptly named Jellyfish Lake witnesses millions of stinger-less golden jellyfish swimming across the lake and visitors snorkel among them safely and visit world-famous dive sites, Blue Holes and Ulong Channel. Being a site which has seen World War II battles; several tanks, wreckages and other aircraft, litter the landscape. Koror has excellent private camping grounds and trekking to its beaches is marvelous.
The Bahamas (240 days)
The Bahamas, comprising 700 islands, has coastal mangrove forests, many beautiful beaches, coral reefs and a relaxed island culture, which receives six million visitors annually who prefer the Grand Bahama with the Lucayan National Park and it’s many resorts are a family-friendly spot. Nassau’s downtown, which certainly has a colonial hangover, is renowned for its restaurants, nightlife, shops and white-sand beaches. Snorkelers and divers have plenty of blue holes, underwater grottos and reefs to explore. Bimini, famous for deep-sea fishing lies very close to Miami. Visitors can undertake a short day visit to Big Major Cay, where fearless feral pigs come up to greet the visitors. Another beautiful spot is Long Island, with fewer crowds and amazing pink-sand beaches.
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