You’re Not Going to Canada

From the moment it became clear that Donald Trump’s run for presidency was no longer a joke, statements about fleeing the country if he won started popping up all around us.  From celebrities to friends in our newsfeeds, many were letting it be known that the idea of a Trump presidency was so unacceptable to them that they would abandon ship.

This is not new.  Every election cycle people break out the ultimatums and Canada is always the obvious choice for liberals.  But let’s face it — 99% of you are not going to Canada.

I say this as someone who was born and raised in America but whose family on both sides is only one generation removed from Canadian immigrants to the United States.  Every summer vacation I ever went on as a kid was to Canada.  I know all the words to O Canada and I can name all the provinces and territories and their capitals.  My mother proudly holds dual citizenship and God willing, so will I – but don’t think that desire is an election-based whim – it’s been a lifelong plan.

And that’s where my exasperation at those who declare “I’m moving to Canada” originates.  Moving to Canada is not like moving across state lines.  They have immigration laws, and obtaining a visa and later, citizenship, is a process that costs both years of your life and hundreds to thousands of dollars.  It is not something that can or should be done on a whim.

Yet, I do understand the impulse.  We are faced with a frightening consequence of our election — a president who has inspired the ugliest underbelly of our country to step into the light and make their hateful statements heard.  For anyone who is not a straight, white, cisgendered, Christian male, it’s a scary time.  And for anyone with a conscience, it’s just downright embarrassing to be associated with our new orange overlord.

The thing is, you can escape a Trump presidency without abandoning your country.  Living and working abroad does not require you to relinquish US citizenship and you can still vote absentee (and you should because in 2018 all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33/100 seats in the Senate will be contested).

Depending on how comfortable you are being a nomad, you can spend most of the next four years out of the country without having to go through the process of obtaining expensive visas.  But if you are wanting to settle in one place for the duration of Trump’s term, you’ll need to find a job offer from a company in your desired country that is willing to sponsor your visa.

I love Canada, but I would encourage anyone thinking of living abroad to think bigger than just going north.  There is an enormous world out there that you could explore.  Yes, traveling to a place where English is not the primary language can be intimidating.  But it’s also exciting — it gives you the chance to learn a new language and immerse yourself in a different world view.  Plus, in 2016, you will find other English speakers almost anywhere you go.  Especially if you choose to facilitate your travel by teaching it.

Below is a list of countries that allow travelers from US to enter for certain periods of time without requiring a visa or by using an electronic authorization process.  Time limits are not exact and should be double checked if you are seriously considering temporarily relocating.  Not every country on this list is going to provide you with a better lifestyle than the US (i.e. Haiti or Turkey are probably not great choices right now), so do some research.

Most of us planning to travel for a majority of Trump’s term are doing so primarily because we feel threatened by the views and potential policies of the administration.  Given this, I’ve marked countries popular for LGBT travel with a dagger(†).  Countries without a dagger are not necessarily unsafe as I have obviously excluded all countries with a death penalty for homosexuality, but they are not known as LGBT destinations.  Again, do your research.

North America

  • Canada (6 months) †
  • Mexico (6 months) †

Central America

  • Belize (1 month, extendible to 6 months)
  • Costa Rica (3 months) †
  • El Salvador (3 months)
  • Honduras (3 months)
  • Nicaragua (3 months)
  • Panama (6 months) †

Caribbean

  • Antigua & Barbuda (1 month)
  • Bahamas (8 months)
  • Barbados (15 days, extendible to 6 months)
  • Dominica (6 months)
  • Haiti (3 months)
  • Jamaica (6 months)
  • Saint Kitts & Nevis (3 months)
  • Saint Lucia (6 weeks)
  • Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (1 month)
  • Trinidad & Tobago (3 months)

South America

  • Argentina (3 months) †
  • Chile (3 months) †
  • Colombia (3 months, extendible to 6 months)
  • Ecuador (3 months, extendible to 6 months)
  • Guyana (3 months)
  • Peru (6 months) †
  • Uruguay (3 months) †

Europe

  • Albania (1 year)
  • Andorra (3 months)
  • Armenia (6 months)
  • Austria (3 months) †
  • Belgium (3 months) †
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina (3 months)
  • Bulgaria (3 months) †
  • Croatia (3 months)
  • Cyprus (3 months)
  • Czech Republic (3 months) †
  • Denmark (3 months) †
  • Estonia (3 months)
  • Finland (3 months) †
  • France (3 months) †
  • Georgia (1 year)
  • Germany (3 months) †
  • Greece (3 months) †
  • Grenada(3 months)
  • Hungary (3 months) †
  • Iceland(3 months)
  • Ireland (3 months) †
  • Italy (3 months) †
  • Latvia (3 months)
  • Liechtenstein (3 months)
  • Lithuania (3 months)
  • Luxembourg (3 months)
  • Macedonia (3 months)
  • Malta (3 months)
  • Moldova (3 months)
  • Monaco (3 months)
  • Montenegro (3 months)
  • Netherlands (3 months) †
  • Norway (3 months) †
  • Poland (3 months) †
  • Portugal (3 months) †
  • Romania (3 months)
  • San Marino (unknown length)
  • Serbia (3 months)
  • Slovakia (3 months)
  • Slovenia (3 months)
  • Spain (3 months) †
  • Sweden (3 months) †
  • Switzerland (3 months) †
  • Ukraine (3 months)
  • United Kingdom (6 months) †
  • Vatican City (unknown length)

Middle East

  • Israel (3 months) †
  • Kuwait (3 months with e-Visa)
  • Turkey (3 months with e-Visa) †

Asia

  • India (3 months with e-Visa)
  • Indonesia (1 month)
  • Japan (3 months) †
  • Kazakhstan (15 days)
  • Kyrgyzstan (2 months)
  • Mongolia (3 months)
  • Philippines (1 month) †
  • Singapore (3 months)
  • South Korea (3 months) †
  • Sri Lanka (1 month with Electronic Travel Authorization)
  • Thailand (1 month) †

Africa

  • Botswana (3 months)
  • Central African Republic (3 months)
  • Côte d’Ivoire (unknown length with e-Visa)
  • Equatorial Guinea (3 months)
  • Gabon (unknown length with e-Visa)
  • Kenya (3 months with e-Visa)
  • Lesotho (14 days, extendable up to 6 months)
  • Mauritius (3 months)
  • Namibia (3 months)
  • South Africa (3 months) †

Oceania

  • Australia (3 months with Electronic Travel Authorization) †
  • Kiribati (1 month)
  • Marshall Islands (unlimited stay with no visa required)
  • Micronesia (unlimited stay with no visa required)
  • New Zealand (3 months) †
  • Palau (1 year)
  • Vanuatu (1 month, extendible to 4 months)

 

 

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