With more and more people vlogging and blogging their lives on social media and various websites, you may have come across those who live in Asia, but are not Asian. You may have asked yourself how they are able to live in Asia for a long period of time? Do they have a great job with a company that is sponsoring them? Do they have family there that are allowing them to stay? For some, the answer to one of these questions is yes. But for others, the answer to both questions is no. So how does one stay full time in a country like Korea? The do what is called visa runs from time to time. But what is a visa run in the first place? Is it legal? What are the pros and cons of living this way? Let’s take a look and see.
A Misleading Name
The term visa run can be misleading because it implies that a person actually has a visa to enter a country. However, that is not true for many who do visa runs. A visa run is when a person exits a country by a certain time so that they can come back later and enter the country legally. For example, as a U.S. citizen, I can go to a number of countries without a visa based on my passport. (The same can apply to citizens of Canada and many European countries.) Usually, the longest that I could lawfully stay in a county would be 90 days. In fact, when going to Korea back in 2014, my entry stamp on my passport showed when 90 days would be up to make sure I would leave on time. So a visa run in that situation would mean I would leave Korea, get an exit stamp on my passport to prove that I left before the 90 days were up, then reenter Korea, get a new entry stamp on my passport and that will renew my 90 days that I can live in Korea.
Is It Legal?
Actually, it is legal to do so in many countries as of me writing this post. The law states you must leave by a certain time to be able to come back without any issues. You do this, and there usually aren’t any legal issues. Does this mean that countries like this? Not necessarily. Most would rather you qualify for a visa and enter their country that way. But if you are in their country, that means you are spending money in their country, which only helps their economy. So countries that want foreigners to come and spend money with them, but don’t want to grant a lot of visas probably won’t frown on you doing a visa run. Just make sure you don’t get into any legal trouble.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Doing Visa Runs?
While doing visa runs may seem like the perfect way to live where you want, it is not always an easy thing to do. So let’s take a realistic view of what will happen if you decide you want to go to a country and do visa runs according to what your passport will allow. We will start with the cons, then look at the pros.
Expense: If you are in a position to do this, and your passport allows you to stay up to 90 days at a time, you would have to leave the country you are living in at least 4 times a year. This would mean paying for 4 round trip tickets to other countries with different rules, currency and ways of getting around. While this may appeal to someone who loves to travel, there are a lot of factors that could make this an expensive thing that you have a hard time fitting into your budget.
Lack of Legal Services: If you are doing visa runs, you likely aren’t paying taxes to the government of the country that you are living in full time. This means you would not qualify for forms of medical assistance, financial help or other programs sponsored by the government. While you may save money by not having a car or car insurance, you may need to have special traveler’s insurance for your stay to help with any medical cost. And in some countries, foreigners without a visa can’t rent property, open a bank account or get a cell phone in their name.
Possible Legal Changes: With more and more countries making it harder for people to get visas to lawfully enter their country and pay taxes, one should be aware that a government could crack down on doing visa runs and demand that people either get a visa, which they will make it hard to do, or exit the country. If that is the case, people making visa runs may have a hard time getting back into the country that they are living in and could have to leave their stuff behind.
Great Way To Travel: If you actually love to travel and can afford to do so, making visa runs will give you the opportunity to see the world. There is no set limit in many countries for how long you have to be gone to complete your visa run. So you could take a day trip, a weekend adventure or a vacation to a location you’ve always wanted to go to. If you do this in a country like Korea, the price of tickets will be cheaper to many Asian destinations.
A Way To Change Your Life: If you feel stuck in a rut, or don’t like your current situation, living in another country may be what you need. Moving can bring a change of pace and can give you a new perspective on life that you didn’t have before. Of all of the people that I’ve met that have lived in another country, none of them ever regretted it. It was life altering for the positive. While living in an area where you have to do visa runs can be difficult, it can be very rewarding as well.
Open The Doors To Get A Visa: It may seem strange, but you could actually turn this into an opportunity to get a work visa. Sometimes, companies that will sponsor a work visa will be looking for a new person to hire. If you are already in the country, you’d have a leg up and could have a better chance of getting hired. In fact, some actually recommend looking for a job in the country you want to be in instead of trying to find one online. In this way, you can say that you have a better concept of the culture and of how things works. Another plus that a company may consider as a plus in your favor.
It Actually Is Possible To Do: There are many people who do live this way and are happy doing so. Some have blogs and vlogs about it, so you will have to do your research to find out what they did and how they did it. It may be that you already have the skills necessary to do work online and live in another country. Or a company that is legitimate may give special consideration for someone who can live in another country and possibly bring them more business and exposure in a new market. In any event, it is proven that ones are able to live in another country, do visa runs and be obeying the law, all while having the time of their life.
In the end, it is up to you if you decide that you will want to do live in another country and do visa runs. The biggest suggestion I would give you is to look at the laws of the country you’d want to live in and make your decision based on that. Also, do your best to understand how tax laws will work, as well as how easy it will be for you to obtain housing, transportation and other basic needs for your life. Either way, I hope anyone who dreams of living and working in a foreign country will one day have their dreams come true.