Visas

For NZ residents Canada is easy.  If arriving by air you can get a 6 month visa on line, http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta-start.asp If arriving by road you don’t even need that.  This will be the first time we travel without a return ticket.  Immigration officers like to know you will not out stay your welcome and become a burden on their welfare system.  The actual length of stay will be determined by the Immigration officer – the max time is 6 months, but you wont know how long you can stay until they stamp your passport !  We will took a good itinerary plan and have a US B2 visa to indicate we are moving on.  Lot’s of cash in the bank is good too, as they want to ensure you can support yourself (and boost their economy). We had no issues at all on arrival.  We stated 90 days on the arrival doc, and he asked what we were doing.  Next thing passports stamped and we are in.  Not even a baggage x-ray.

USA not so easy.  Yes there is the VWP for a 90 day visa, http://www.estaonline.com/index.html but that only applies when travelling with a major carrier, not a private vehicle at a road border.  Also if you leave the US for a few days and try to return the immigration officer may determine you are doing a visa run just to reset your 90 day visa ( which is probably true) and deny you entry.  Bit of a problem if you parked your RV for for 5 days while you did a Caribbean cruise and then cant get back to it.  You need to apply for a B2 visitor visa to stay 6 months, and this has to be done in your country of residence before you travel.  The visa lasts for 10 years and is multiple entry, so you can cross over the border as many times as you want.

The Visa is not cheap – NZ$240 each.  There are a gazillian questions to answer on the online application.  Then you need to book an interview time at the Consulate in Auckland.  Turn up 15 min early, there is often a queue to get through security. The interview is about 5 minutes, but the whole process with wait times is about a hour.

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