31 December 2010

Remember those less fortunate

We at Visa Services Canada get a lot of emails from people in the third world who are truly desperate to escape grinding poverty, war and oppression.

As you know, we do not acquire Canadian visas for foreigners to come to Canada. VSC helps Canadians and others go abroad. Many companies dealing in Canadian visas are very unscrupulous, and we will have nothing to do with this type of operator.

Here is a sample email which we received this morning from Kashmir:

"we are living in earthquake place Azad Jam mu Kashmir Bagh. Kashmir is not Independence country. one park by capture Pakistan and second part capture, India government, and my family wanted there which iz peaceful country. Canadian people's and government are very good manners. Canadian living standards are best. there education and living standard are best. this time i and my family live in difficult crises, problems. u know earthquake came in two hundred five but our government and Pakistan government have not supported to the people. this time more people are living in tent at village. we want two government of Canadian sport to us for visa. i and my family wanted to went Canada and also wanted to do work in Canada. i am very thank 2 Canada government and people's of Canada."

Whether or not the email is legitimate, there is no doubt that millions of people around the world are barely surviving, and doing so in terrible circumstances.

So when you travel, remember there are about three billion people who could never do so, and they need your help.

Happy new year 2011.

22 December 2010

U.A.E. visas in Canada

The Embassy of the UAE in Ottawa announced on 21 December 2010 that they will issue visas to Canadian regular passport holders. Canadian citizens on tourist and business journeys should have their visas arranged by the airline or hotel or travel company inside the UAE. The visa can then be received at the airport upon arrival in the UAE. It must be arranged beforehand by an office in the UAE.

But some of you will want to apply for a visa at the embassy, so here it is.

The UAE Embassy also announced the jaw-dropping prices: a short-stay visa, valid for only 30 days, costs $250. and a long-tern stay valid for up to 90 days costs $500. The big multi-entry visa valid for six months costs a whopping $1000. !

Applications to the embassy are accepted only by Canada Post mail (Priority Courier or Xpresspost or registered).

The embassy stresses that Canadians should pre-arrange visas through either of the two national airlines, or through a hotel or agent in the UAE. They are still not saying anything about cruise ships, and cruise companies are confused about the changing rules.

Click here for the form and instructions.

16 December 2010

Kenya closed for 2010

For those of you wishing to get a last minute visa for Kenya in order to see the great migration - forget it. Kenya is no longer taking visa applications this year.

Yesterday, 15 December, was the last day the Kenyan High Commission would accept visa applications until they re-open on 5 January 2011.

Until then, Canadians are allowed to acquire a visa-on-arrival in Nairobi, Kenya.

UAE visas from Emirates Airlines

Canadians flying on Emirates Airline can apply for paperless electronic tourist, visit and transit visas on-line through Emirates Airlines.

You must have an Emirates Airlines booking reference number; a digital image of your passport; and a digital passport photograph in order to apply.

Click here for the on-line visa application from Emirates Airlines.

14 December 2010

U.A.E. visas for cruise ships

The UAE Embassy in Ottawa informed me today by email that Canadians on cruise ships need their visas sponsored by a travel agent from inside the UAE.

Canadian sailing on international cruis ships through the UAE need to have a visa pre-arranged by their cruise ship company port agent in the UAE. Please call your agent or your cruise line visa & documentation office to ensure they have arranged visa support for you, and that this visa support is linked to your passport number.

U.A.E. visa news - here at last!


1. The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Ottawa will issue visas for official visitors only.

2. Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, travel agencies and hotels in the UAE are able to issue the following visas to Canadian citizens:
•Visit visas
•Tourist visas
•Transit visas (Issued by the above mentioned airlines)

Translation: The Embassy of the UAE in Ottawa cannot and will not issue visas to Canadians on regular passports. These visas have to be arranged before entry by either an airline or hotel or travel agent in the UAE. The visa should then be available for pick-up at the airport in the UAE.

Click here to read the official annoucement of the UAE Embassy.

10 December 2010

UAE - no news

There is still NO NEWS on the visas for the UAE.

With a mere three weeks to go until the visa deadline (02 January 2011), we were hoping for full details of the requirements and prices: but so far, nothing.

We suspect the UAE may impose a visa-on-arrival scheme for Canadians, as there is probably too little time to get a visa printer and hire and train staff and issue the hundreds of required visas in the next few weeks.

Kenya closing early

The Kenyan High Commission is closing early for their Christmas and New Year holidays.

Kenya will accept the last visa application of 2010 on Wednesday 15 December 2010. If you do not apply by that day, you cannot apply until Tuesday 4 January 2011: three weeks later. Processing takes 6-7 working days.

Click here for Kenya visa application forms.

09 December 2010

Visiting the UK High Commission

This morning I had the great honour and pleasure of having breakfast in the High Commission of the United Kingdom here in Ottawa. We were hosted by Sir Anthony Cary, the outgoing high commissioner. After breakfast he took us to see the UK's visa processing centre overlooking central Ottawa. There a large staff process nearly 20 000 visas per year. Summer is their busiest time, with lots of students applying for visas in order to attend UK universities. During the rest of the year their visa officers are usually reviewing applications from non-Canadians who need a visa to travel on the passport of their home country. UK visa rules will be changing in the new year, as will prices.

Canadians do not need a visa to visit the UK as tourists or on business.

Visa Services Canada does not do visas to the United Kingdom. This is due to the fact that the UK visa application process is totally automated and electronic. There is no paper form. Clients pay electronically, and apply electronically. Then clients make an appointment through the UK website for a visit to a UK biometrics office near them. This is all done on-line.

Click here for UK visa details and electronic application forms and electronic payment, as well as information on biometric scanning.

Angola's long holidays

The Angolan Embassy told us today that their annual long Christmas holidays would probably start on or even before 22 December 2010, and they would re-open after 3 January 2011. This is a two week holiday, so apply right now or be prepared to wait until the new year. Nothing will happen fast.

Click here for Angolan visa forms and details.

08 December 2010

More Cambodia charity donations

Another charity-minded person has donated to the Cambodian non-governmental organization "Life and Hope Association" through our offices.

Mr. RW donated $250 to buy one tonne of rice for orphans and vulnerable children in Cambodia today. His donation was sent straight on to Somnieng, the head of LHA in Siem Reap who will be able to buy the rice directly from the rice mill in town.

Click here and look at the last page to see how you too can help.

India requires your utility bill

In another strange twist of the visa world, the Indian consular office responsible for people who live in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, YT, and NWT demand that people lviing in this region provide a copy of their utility bill showing they live in one of the named provinces or territories. Since not everyone is named on the utility bill, we suspect a copy of the provincial drivers license will be sufficient.

Even more confusing is that this rule, to show proof of residency in the above places, only applies if your Canadian passport was issued outside of BC, AB, SK, YT or NWT.

Click here for an Indian visa form and details.

Jordan raising prices

The Royal Jordanian Government, which has kept visa prices very low for years, has announced a dramatic 100% price increase effective 01 January 2011.

Visas will go from the current $22 each to the new $44. each for single entry and are valid for only one month. Double entry visas will be $62. Multiple entry visas will be $122.

Click here for Jordan visa forms and details.

No news from the UAE on visas

There is no news on the visas for the UAE.

With only three weeks to go until the visa deadline, we were hoping for full details of the requirements and prices: but so far, nothing.

We suspect the UAE may impose a visa-on-arrival scheme for Canadians, as there is probably too little time to get a visa printer and hire and train staff and issue the hundreds of required visas in the next few weeks.

Ethiopia is moving ?

Yes, you read that correctly. Ethiopia has made the bizarre decision to move their embassy out of the capital city. Strangely the embassy will be moved away from Ottawa where it is in direct contact with the Canadian government and development agencies and the diplomatic community, over to a small office in Toronto so that it can be closer to the Ethiopian ex-pat community. The move will make it more difficult to acquire visas due to the upheaval and lack of trained staff.

Click here for an Ethiopian visa form.

03 December 2010

Holiday Closing Dates

Visa Services Canada will be closed from Friday 24 December through Tuesday 28 December 2010 inclusive. There is no courier delivery in or out on 25-28 December.

Libya - Translations Over?

The unofficial word is that the Libyan Government, and the Embassy of Libya in Ottawa, will no longer require an official translation of Canadian passports in an official stamp from Passport Canada.

Imposed several years ago after an unfortunate incident at a customs post, the requirement from Libya was that all Canadian passports had to have a stamp from Passport Canada, and the passport had to be translated into Arabic. Only then would a visa be issued.

I have been informally notified by the embassy that they are no longer looking for the translation page.

Non-Canadians may still have to get translations.

Click here for Libyan visa form.

Brazil - Slow in Vancouver

Anyone living in BC, Alberta or Saskatchewan who wants to travel to Brazil for any purpose needs to be prepraed to live without their passport for at least a month.

The Brazilian consular office responsible for that region of Canada has a firm policy of using 15 working days (three working weeks) to process a tourist or business or conference visa. Business travelers used to get the work done in 12 days, but not any longer. This is all the more annoying for people in Western Canada as those in the rest of Canada can generally get visas in 4-10 working days.

Click here for Brazilian visas.

Kenya - new prices for 2011

Kenya has announced that it will increase visa prices back up to the original prices. Right now a basic visa to Kenya has been costing $32. This was a sale price. Kenya lowered the prices in order to attract more tourists, and the visa sale lasted for more than a year. As of 01 January 2011 the price will be $64 for a regular single-entry tourist visa.

Click here for Kenya visa forms.

UAE Update

There is no news on the visas for the UAE. Today is the national day of the UAE, so everything is closed.

With only four weeks to go until the visa deadline, we were hoping for full details of the requirements and prices: but so far, nothing.

We are starting to think the UAE may impose a visa-on-arrival scheme for Canadians, as there is probably too little time to get a visa printer and hire and train staff and issue the hundreds of required visas in the next few weeks.

01 December 2010

No news on UAE visas

There is no only one month to go until the United Arab Emirates (UAE) begins requiring all Canadians to have visas to enter the UAE.

The bad news is that the home ghovernment in Abu Dhabi has still not decided what to do, and no instructions have been given to the UAE Embassy in Ottawa. The embassy is still not allowed to issue visas, and there are no set requirements yet.

So with on month to go, there is still no news. And with the UAE national holiday starting later this week, there will be nothing until at least early next week.

New Russian regulations

As of December 2010, the Russian Embassy regulations require persons to apply in person if possible, or at least to apply directly to the Russian consular office directly by courier. This means no third party such as a visa service is allowed to submit your application to Russia, or receive your passport and visa from the Russians.

Visa Services Canada will still assist you in getting vouchers for travel, and can help with your visa application package. However, it will be submitted to the Russians by courier, and will be returned to you the applicant directly from the Russian consular office. Due to Russian regulations we will not be able to conduct a post-visa quality control check.

Should you wish us to handle the visa process for you, we will of course continue to provide this service for as long as possible.

Click here for Russian visa application forms.

Those wishing to apply to the Russians directly must to so through the consular offices of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Canada. Please check with the Russian office for the correct address for your application.

Embassy of the Russian Federation in Canada
52 Range Road
Ottawa, ON, K1N 8J5
Tel: (613) 236-7220
Fax: (613) 238-6158
Website: http://www.rusembassy.ca/
E-mail: ruscons@rogers.com

We hope to have regular Russian visa service back up in no time.