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.

Iranian Visas Available to Canadians

Canadians can now get tourist and visit visas from the Iranian government without having to go to Europe or the Middle East to pick up the visa.

Canada severed all relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran as of Friday 07 September 2012. Canada also closed its embassy in Tehran. Ottawa announced it was expelling all Iranian diplomats from Canada within 5 days. As of Wednesday 12 September 2012 there is no longer any official Iranian diplomatic presence in Canada.

The good news is that the issuance of Iranian tourist and visit visas has moved to the Iranian Interests Section of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington DC USA.

Since Iran is not allowed to have an embassy in the USA, they opened an "interests section" under the wing of the Embassy of Pakistan. This de facto Iranian embassy is allowed to issue Iranian visas to Canadians.

So we are pleased to announce that we can once again help you get your tourist or visit visa to Iran.

Click here for visas to Iran.

Brazilian Document Uploads Required

As of 01 November 2014 the government of Brazil requires all Canadian visa applicants, and all persons applying in Canada for a Brazilian visa, to upload all of their documents to the visa application website at the time the application is filed on-line.

All documents must be uploaded here when you are completing your on-line visa application form:
https://scedv.serpro.gov.br

Applicants must upload their PHOTOGRAPH, SIGNATURE, and any other supporting documents.

If you are unable to do so, VSC can do this for you for a fee $10. per document..

* Photograph, in JPG or PNG format, must have minimum dimensions of 177 x 236 pixel and maximum of 354 x 472 pixel, and 3 x 4 aspect ratio. This is a different ration than the paper photo you must supply with your signed application. Be certain you upload a 3 x 4 photo instead of the 5 x 5 photo.

* Signature, in JPG or PNG format, must have minimum dimensions of 177 x 236 pixel and maximum of 207 x 255 pixel. You must scan your own signature and upload it for the Brazilian government.

* Other supporting documents must be in PDF format.
- air tickets (if applicable)
- bank statements (if applicable)
- Notice of Assessment (if applicable)
- letter of invitation (if applicable)
- Brazilian ID card of invitor (if applicable)

Please note that the maximum upload size is 2 Mb total.

Click here to apply for a Brazil visa.

25 September 2014

Nigeria - RCMP Fingerprints Police Check

Canadians going to work in Nigeria - those seeking STR and TWP visas - must now have a criminal records check based on fingerprints.

The most common version of this is the RCMP fingerprint records check. This can be done by any RCMP detachment or regional office. You can also get such service from "Reliability Screening .com", and from the Commissionaires.

When you get the check done it should be the RCMP police check based on a scan of your fingerprints, done electronically. Remember to tell the RCMP that you want the original certificate shipped to VSC in Ottawa for your visa processing. The whole process take about ten days, despite the fact that the RCMP can check for a criminal record in minutes once they have your fingerprints.

Click here for a Nigerian work visa.

Nigerian Tourist Visas

Yes, I know what you are thinking - there is no such thing as tourism in Nigeria. Well, that is true, but there is a small trickle of tourists and there is a tourist visa.

The hard part is getting all the necessary documents in order to apply for the tourist visa.

The new requirements include a confirmed hotel booking and a copy of the hotel ID card of the manager or reservation agent in Nigeria. If the hotel manager will not supply a copy of their hotel ID card, then book a different hotel.

Also, the Nigerian High Commission in Ottawa wants to see proof of purchase of sufficient funds for the entire journey. This means they want to see a receipt for the purchase of a lot of traveler's cheques. Do not send a photocopy of the actual cheques.

People going to Nigeria are best advised to be invited by a Nigerian person or a person legally living in Nigeria who can supply an official invitation and a copy of their Nigerian national ID card or passport.

Click here for Nigerian visas.