16 December 2014

Nigerian Prices Jump High

The consul of the Nigerian High Commission has informed us in person that effective immediately there are new, and much higher, processing prices in effect.

The Nigerian High Commission application processing service free jumped from $20 for regular three week service up to $50 -- a leap of 150%.  The fee increase for a fast processing goes from the old $85 to a new $115 -- a rise of only 35%. This applies to the business, visitor, tourist and TWP visas.

The fees for the STR visa have leaped from the old $20 all the way up to $100 for regular service -- an astonishing 400% jump. The new fee for fatser STR processing goes from the old $85 to the new $150 -- a jump of a mere 77%.

These fees are already in effect and are mandatory. The fees are paid on top of the fees the Nigerian government already receives through the electronic application system. The on-line fees remain unchanged. So we are all paying twice for the same visa.

Click here for a Nigerian visa form.

09 December 2014

Angolan Holidays

Every year around this time we get requests from the oil industry for the holiday closure dates of the Angolan Embassy in Ottawa.

The new holidays for this year have just be announced!

The Angolan Embassy will accept the last application of the year on Friday 12 December.

The embassy will issue the last visa of the year, then close for more than two weeks of holidays, on Friday 19 December 2014.

The Angolan Embassy will re-open on Monday 05 January 2015.

What this means is that there is almost zero chance of anything submitted now to be processed and have a visa issued this year. From now on any application will not see a visa until into January 2015.

Remember, the Angolan Embassy in Canada cannot make decisions on visa requests. All authorizations for visas are transmitted from Luanda, Angola, and simply administered at the embassy. This means that extra time is always required for communication with and decision by Luanda.

Click here for Angolan visa forms.

02 December 2014

Chile - Fee Free

Good news about Chilean travel for all Canadians.

The Chilean government has abolished the old and hated Reciprocity Fee of $132. which used to be applicable to all Canadian travellers.

Canadian tourists and visitors and business travellers are now invited to stay for up to six months visa-free and fee-free. There will no longer be a charge at the airport on arrival. Chile is now added to the list of easy travel destinations in Latin America.

The official change came about due to Canada de-listing Chile for visit visas, and Chile reciprocating by abolishing the fee as of 22 November 2014.

However, there is a caveat to this --- it is not yet in effect! Chile had to change their law and this will only come into effect once it is published in Santiago in the official gazette. This is expected in the third week of December 2014.

So for the moment expect to still have to pay the Reciprocity Fee at the airport upon arrival. But be of good cheer - the days of visa-free travel are nearly upon us.

01 December 2014

India ETA visas - Not for Canadians

On 27 November 2014 India launched their new ELECTRONIC TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION (ETA) visa system on-line, but not for Canadians.

Nationals of the following countries can use the ETA service: Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Zeal and Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Thailand, Tonga,  Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, USA, Vanuatu, Vietnam.

Processing takes 5 working days. Tourists will get their visas stamped into their passports upon arrival at one of nine major airports in India. This is not yet available to Canadians.

Until Canada is added to the list (perhaps in the new year) you must get a paper visa issued into your passport by the Indian High Commission in Canada prior to travel using the links below.

The fee to apply on-line is US$60, plus credit card charges by your bank and the Indian credit card clearing company. There is then a further charge at the airport in India of another 3700 rupees (US$60) to get the visa stamped into the passport. So the final fee is about US$120 for a visa which sells for $75 in Canada.

Indian travel industry executives have already complained the charge is unreasonable and will not encourage people to use the efficient system

Click here for India ETA Visa Application (non-Canadians only):

Click here for Indian visa forms for Canadians.

26 November 2014

HOLIDAY CLOSING AND HOURS

Visa Services Canada is here to serve your visa needs, but holidays are soon upon us and there are a few closed days and a couple of shorter hour days.

As there are no courier or postal services on 25 and 26 December, we at VSC are closed on Christmas and on Boxing day.

We are also closed on New Year's Day, 01 January 2015, but open for business on Friday 02 January.

In order to let staff spend more time with their families we are closing early (12:00 noon) on 24 and 31 December for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Please be aware that many embassies, high commissions and consulates close for extensive holidays at this time of year, so apply well in advance of your travel dates and allow plenty of extra processing time.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and have a great holiday from everyone at Visa Services Canada.

24 November 2014

NEXUS Cards Instead of Passports

Canadains holding NEXUS cards often ask if they can use the card instead of their passport, especially when their passport is in the custody of an embassy being reviewed for a visa.

The answer appears to be a cautious yes, according to a somewhat vague statement by the US Customs and Border Protection Agency (Department of Homeland Security).

"The NEXUS alternative inspection program has been completely harmonized and integrated into a single program. NEXUS members now have crossing privileges at air, land, and marine ports of entry. Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, the NEXUS card has been approved as an alternative to the passport for air, land, and sea travel into the United States for US and Canadian citizens."

We still strongly recommend that you travel with a notarized colour copy of your Canadian passport as well as your original NEXUS card if you are trying to cross at an airport.

Click here for the NEXUS card use details.

South African Visas - Apply IN PERSON

Effective Immediately the High Commission of South Africa requires all applicants in Canada seeking a visa to appear IN PERSON at the high commission or consulate.

Canadians do not need a visa for tourist or business trips to South Africa, so these people will not be bothered by the new rules.

All persons seeking a South African visas muse make an appointment to visit the consular office for an interview and document review and for possible biometrics scanning. Call the visa office before driving or flying to the office. Many people have travelled great distances only to be turned away for not having an appointment, or finding the office closed.

Click here for South Africa visa details, forms and addresses.

Pakistani Visas - Apply Directly

Effective immediately, all applicants for Pakistani visas must apply directly to the High Commission of Pakistan in Ottawa, or the consulate general of Pakistan in Toronto.

Third parties cannot assist with this visa., so all applicants will have to deal with the Pakistani consular offices on their own.

Click here for Pakistani visa details, forms and addresses.

19 November 2014

East Africa Tourist Visa Forms

Avid travelers know that a group of three countries is now offering an "East Africa Tourist Visa", but since none of the countries can agree totally on the new form, each embassy or high commission is demanding their own national form plus the EATV form. So the paperwork doubled, but you get three visas for the price of one. The countries are Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

New Great Price for Azerbaijan

The government of Azerbaijan has lowered the visa price for Canadians.

Effective immediately the new price for all visas is US$100.

This is far lower than most people paid for their visas, so Canadians are getting a price break.

Remember, you must still fill int eh e-visa forms on-line, and provide the letter requesting the visa. The paperwork has not changed - only the price.

Click here for Azerbaijan visas.