31 March 2010

Cuba & Health Insurance

Cuba wants you to have medical health insurance.

As of 01 May 2010, the Cuban government requires Canadians visiting Cuba for holiday or business or family reasons to have proof of full travel medical health insurance coverage.

Please take your insurance card or policy with you when you travel to Cuba.

The insurance policy should be taken out at the home country of departure. Travelers, who, exceptionally, do not have insurance at arrival, could take out a policy of insurance and assistance from Cuban insurance companies at the airport, port or marina.

Persons not having proof of medical insurance will be required to purchase insurance at the airport from the Cuban company ASISTUR.
Alarm Central 24 hours a day:
Phones (53 7) 866-8527, 866-8339, 867-1315.
Fax (53 7) 8-66-80,
e-mail: asisten@asistur.cu; seguros@asistur.cu

For more information you can visit www.cubatravel.cu or Asistur insurance company at www.asistur.cu


29 March 2010

Nigeria Offering FAST Service

In a move which will delight business clients and oil workers, the Nigerian High Commission in Canada is once again offering fast processing of visa applications.

The usual processing time remains 7 working days, but the Nigerian consul will sign visas within 48 hours for an extra payment of $65.

This move will be greeted with open arms by people who need their passports for daily use, and cannot afford to be without for two weeks.

And remember, when applying for a Nigerian visa, you need a lot of documents! If all the documents are not in order, then the Nigerians will not be giving fast service.

Please click here for the Nigerian visa application form and detailed requirements list.

10 March 2010

Dual Citizens Beware

The Canadian Government has issued the following warning about dual citizenship.

Dual citizenship occurs when a person is the citizen of more than one country. Canadian law permits dual citizenship: you can remain or become a citizen of another country and still be recognized as a Canadian.

But dual citizenship (also called dual nationality) is not legally recognized in all countries and can lead to serious difficulties for Canadians when they are in the country of their second citizenship. It can also create problems in third countries if there is any confusion over what citizenship was used to obtain entry.

There are also risks and problems associated with having more than one citizenship.

RECOGNITION: The most important of these is that your Canadian citizenship may not be recognized in the country of your second citizenship. The authorities of that country may not recognize Canada's right to provide you with consular assistance. There could also be problems in other countries, especially if you used the travel document of the country of your second citizenship to gain entry. In such circumstances, the local authorities could decide that Canada does not have the right to provide consular assistance.

MILITARY: Many countries still have compulsory military service. If you are a citizen, and you meet other conditions, you may be legally required to register for military service and to respond to call-up orders. This legal obligation may exist even if you do not reside in the country of your second citizenship. Your obligations could be enforced even if you're just visiting at some point in the future.

TAX: Taxation arrangements between countries are complex. If you hold dual citizenship, you may have obligations in both countries. These obligations should be discussed with your financial and/or legal advisers.

MARRIAGE: Canada recognizes the legality of marriages performed in other countries. However, marriages performed in Canada may not always be considered legal in other countries. Similarly, divorce and child custody documents issued by Canadian courts may not be recognized.

CHILD ABDUCTION: Many international child abductions involve parents and children who have dual citizenship. If the abducting parent carries a second passport, Canadian authorities may encounter difficulties in preventing the abduction. The Government of Canada cannot prevent another country from providing passport services to Canadian parents or children who are also citizens of that country. You or your lawyer can request that a foreign diplomatic or consular mission not provide passport services for your child. To do so, provide the mission with a written request, along with a certified copy of any court orders dealing with custody or foreign travel by your child. Inform the foreign diplomatic or consular mission that you have also sent a copy of your request to Consular Services of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in Ottawa.

USE YOUR CANADIAN PASSPORT: The Canadian government strongly encourages you to use your Canadian passport when travelling abroad, especially when entering the country of your second citizenship. Note that you cannot use a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship instead of a Canadian passport to travel abroad.

Click here for details from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

09 March 2010

India Bans 2nd Entry Within 2 Months

The Indian Government has issued new rules about when a tourist can re-enter India on a multi-entry tourist visa.

As of 2010 anyone using a tourist visa must be out of India for at least two months before being allowed re-entry. This means that a person visiting south Asia on a multi-country itinerary cannot simply hop in and out of India regularly. They must leave India and remain out of India for at least two (2) months before they can legally re-enter the country.

The reason for what seems like a rather draconian policy change is in fact the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. These were apparently facilitated by two US citizens who used Indian multi-entry visas to come and go repeatedly while planning the attacks and providing logistics for the attackers.

Acording to Wikipedia "In October 2009, two Chicago men were arrested and charged by the FBI for involvement in terrorism abroad, David Coleman Headley (real name: Daood Sayed Gilani) and Tahawwur Hussain Rana. Headley, a Pakistani-American, was charged in November 2009 with scouting locations for the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Headley is reported to have posed as an American Jew and is believed to have links with terrorist outfits based in Bangladesh. In December 2009, the FBI charged Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed, a retired major in the Pakistani army, for planning the terror attacks in association with Headley." "Indian investigators were surprised at how easily Headley had obtained a visa to enter India, a process that is extremely difficult for Pakistani nationals. Headley's U.S. passport, his new Christian sounding name, and the fact that the passport and his visa application made no mention of his prior name or nationality, made it easy for him to obtain an Indian visa from the Indian consulate in Chicago. He also falsely stated on his visa application that his father's name was William Headley and that his own name at birth was Headley, a claim that was difficult to refute since the U.S. passport, unlike the Indian one, does not provide the father's name, and does not require endorsements on name changes by the passport holder."

So the actions of some US citizens who probably helped the attackers while using tourist visas and repeatedly and quickly entering and re-entering India have led to the ending of quick re-entry for all tourists. This also explains why the Indian visa application form asks for details about parents and their nationalities at birth.

Lesson: when planning your Indian and South Asian itinerary, remember to have all of India done in one visit, then exit the region through another country.

VSC Charity in Cambodia

We at Visa Services Canada are pleased to support the Life & Hope Association in Siem Reap, Cambodia. LHA helps orphans and vulnerable children, and landmine victims.

VSC uses some of its profits to aid LHA in its good works.

Recently LHA had to take over a faultering orphanage on the edge of Siem Reap. I have personally been to this orphanage and know that LHA will continue the good works here.

The photo, taking in early March 2010, shows the orphans holding a thank you sign in recognition of the recent donation to the facility.