13 July 2015

Embassies Closing for Eid (Islamic holy days)

Eid Mubarak. (Happy Eid)

Many embassies and consulates will be closed starting on Thursday 16 July 2015 for the Islamic holy days known as Eid. This is the end of Ramadan, and signals the end of fasting and the start of feasting.

All Muslim / Islamic countries will have office closures and will not be processing any visas at all for the week following 16 July.

Please expect processing times to extend by another week due to the holidays.

Also, countries with extensive or sensitive Muslim populations also commonly close or cut back on work days during Eid. This includes countries such as Tanzania and usually Nigeria.

Remember that Indonesia is in fact a Muslim country and will be closed for the entire period.

Visa Services Canada will of course be fully open during the entire Eid period to assist with all visas.

Indian e-Visas for Business travel

It is now full speed ahead for the Indian e-Visa system.

Since its Canadian roll-out a few months ago the e-Visa system has grown in popularity.

The biggest response is from the business community who now get visas without having to surrender their passports to a potentially slow-moving Indian consular offices.

Although the Indian e-Visa scheme is formally named the "Tourist e-Visa", it is valid for four types of travel: tourist, family visit, medical treatment, and BUSINESS.

Your visa form which we will send to you along with your authorization, will say it is a "Tourist e-Visa" form on the top. However, business travellers need not be worried as the type of travel is specified deep in the form.

At the bottom of section E, just before the start of section F, the form says "Purpose of Visit" and then says "BUSINESS". So although it looks like a tourist visa, you are authorized to conduct business meetings in India under this visa type.

Click here for the new Indian business e-Visa application package.

UNIVISA for Zambia & Zimbabwe

Recently the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia set up a pilot project for issuing the new UNIVISA. The organization is formally called KAZA Visa

Currently, tourists visiting Southern Africa must apply for separate visas for each country, each with its own visa regime. For some, this acts a deterrent for multi-country travel in the region. It is for this reason that the development of a common visa, deemed a UNIVISA, was endorsed by SADC Heads of State in 1998. While there have been some obstacles to implementation, significant momentum is now building towards the UNIVISA. Central to the UNIVISA strategy is taking a phased approach. The first step is the creation of a pilot initiative through which a common visa will be created for Zambia and Zimbabwe. One of the reasons they were selected as pilot countries relates to their role as cohosts of the 2013 UNWTO General Assembly.

The name appears to be a mix of Kazungula Land and Zambezi River (Ka and Za)

Some day, the UNIVISA might (might!) include such countries as Angola, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland. Far down the road they hope to add D.R. Congo, Malawi, Lesotho, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles. The chances of Angola being an early adopter seem slim at best.

The Zimbabwe High Commission says that there is some availability of this visa at certain border and airport entry points, but that it is only available to persons who can prove they are going to BOTH countries. It is only valid for up to 30 days, and costs at least US$50 per passport.

 The UNIVISA is only available upon arrival at the following entry points:

Harry Mwaanga Airport (Livingstone)
Victoria Falls Land Border
Kazungula Land Border (border with Botswana)
Kenneth Kaunda Airport (Lusaka)

Victoria Falls Airport
Victoria Falls Land Border
Kazungula Land Border
Harare Airport

No high commission or embassy or consulate is allowed to issue this permit.

Click here for regular paper Zambian visas.

Click here for regular paper Zimbabwe visas.

10 June 2015

South Africa - Children need Birth Certificates to Travel

Effective 01 June 2015, South Africa now requires parents or guardians who are travelling with children under the age of 18 to, from or via South Africa, to produce an unabridged (long form) birth certificate of the child regardless of nationality. This is in addition to any other required travel documents such as passports and/or visas.Travellers are invited to visit the Department of Home Affairs, Republic of South Africa, or to contact the South African High Commission in Ottawa for more information.

12 May 2015

China Requires Both Parental Signatures

The Chinese embassy has new rules for minors in place as of today. 

1) Both parents must sign in both signature boxes on the Chinese form. 
Box 4 must be signed by both parents. 
Box 5 must be fully filled in and signed by both parents 

2) Both parents must provide copies of their passports or other government ID cards. We strongly recommend PASSPORT copies for this.

This is effective immediately, so make sure all applications for minors (up to and including age 17) get four (4) signatures - two from each parent.

In the case of single parents or other situations, the parent must provide a copy of a legal document proving they are the sole authority over the minor. This can be a court order or a death certificate.

Click here for China visa forms.

04 May 2015

Canadians Now Get e-Visas for India

Great news for Canadian tourist and business visitors going to India - Electronic visas!  As of right now the Indian government is allowing Canadian tourists and casual business travellers to apply for and use electronic visas.

The government of India offers e-visas on-line, and this service is now available to Canadians. The on-line fee is about US$60, plus service fees. There is a further charge at the airport in India of another 3700 rupees (US$60) to get the visa stamped into the passport. Nationals of the following countries can use the ETA service: Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, CANADA, Cook Islands, Djibouti, Fiji, Finland, France, 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. 

You must meet the following conditions in order to be eligible for an Indian e-Visa:
1) You must have an "ordinary" tourist passport (as opposed to a diplomatic/official/military passport) which is valid for at least six months past date of proposed exit of India.
2) Your sole objective is tourism (sightseeing, recreation, etc), meeting friends/relatives, short duration medical procedures, or “casual business visit” for meetings only.
3) You will be travelling on a round trip ticket with a stay of less than 30 days in India.
4) You wish to obtain a short term, single entry visa (not a long term multiple entry visa).
5) You are a Canadian citizen who has lived in Canada for the past two years consecutively.
6) You must arrive in India by scheduled airline flight at one of the following airports: Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Trivandrum.
7) You or your parents or your grandparents were/are not Pakistani citizens (meaning the applicant is not of Pakistani heritage going back two generations). This form and the e-Visa system cannot be used by persons of Pakistani origin. Pakistani-Canadians seeking Indian visas must apply through the Indian High Commission in Ottawa.

The best part is that you no longer have to submit your passport. Keep your passport at home.

Click here for Indian visa applications.

Click here for Indian E-Tourist (and Business) e-Visas

01 May 2015

Canadian Tourists Now Get e-Visas for India

Great news for Canadian tourist going to India - Electronic and ten-year visa !

As of right now the Indian government is allowing Canadian tourists to apply for and use electronic visas.

More to come...

Click here for Indian visa applications.

Egypt Again Allows Visa-on-Arrival

The Government of Egypt has rescinded the ending of visa-on-arrival. This blog entry alters the statements we reproduced from the Egyptian government in our blog entry on 19 March 2015.

Previously the government had announced that all persons must have a valid Egyptian visa glued into their passport prior to travel to Egypt.

However, an uproar by travel, tour and hotel operators brought the authorities in Cairo back to allowing visa-on-arrival. This is a major economic issue in a country with a massive tourist industry which has seen numbers drop by over 75% since the Arab Spring began a few years back. Every tourist is important to the economy, and anything which makes it easier to attract tourists is seen as benefiting the country.

You can once again buy a visa at the main international airports in Egypt.

That said, you are still strongly advised to have a real paper visa glued into your passport by the Egyptian Embassy in Canada. Remember - airlines do not have to board undocumented passengers!

Click here for Egypt visas.

16 April 2015

Canada to be added to Indian e-Visa list

Great news for Canadian tourist going to India - Electronic and ten-year visa !

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced yesterday a new liberalized visa policy for Canadian nationals visiting the country, days after extending a similar scheme to French citizens. Modi said the new visa policy would support greater engagement and people-to-people contacts between India and Canada. India will issue Electronic Visa Authorization for tourist visas for Canadian nationals. They will also now be eligible for 10-year visas, said Modi. (from an article in indiatvnews.com)

Prime Minister Modi stated that to support greater engagement and people-to-people contacts, "we have liberalised our visa policy for Canada. We will issue Electronic Visa Authorization for tourist visa for Canadian nationals. They will also be eligible for ten-year visas now." (from an article in The Hindu newspaper of India)

Now before you all get too excited, let me remind you that none of this has actually been implemented. So for now all Canadians still have to go through the hideous and labourious process of getting a paper visa in their passports at least a month prior to travel.

Remember, you will NOT be boarded on a flight to india without a real visa glued in your passport in Canada.

Click here for Indian visa applications.

India Abandons Visa-on-Arrival name

Due to massive confusion and hundreds of tourists being sent home immediately upon arrival in India, the government of India announced last week that they were abandoning the badly-named Visa-On-Arrival scheme. Since there never was an actual visa-on-arrival available to anyone, any passenger who turned up in India was turned around and sent straight back to their home country to apply for an electronic visa authorization. So the Indian government now says what they actually have is an electronic visa authorization scheme, and call it the "e-Tourist Visa (eTV)", and also the "e-Tourist Visa (ETA)".