26 February 2011

Russian visa revolution

The Russian Embassy consular office in Ottawa is instituting many changes right now, and the process has become confused.

Due to the Canadian government unveiling a new visa application form in Russia asking for a lot more detail of military service, the Russians have retaliated by requiring Canadians to fill out the long-form (2 page) visa form normally reserved for the arch-enemies of the Cold War, the USA and UK. They want to know if you have experience with weapons of mass destruction.

Please read the new and constantly-changing instructions carefully, and check again before sending the forms. Please feel free to call to confirm the requirements immediately before shipping your passport to us.

Click here for Russian visa forms and requirements.

Great news - Dubai & UAE

Here is the news you have been awaiting for months: the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is issuing visas to Canadians, is processing some visas in as little as one week. Officially the embassy says it takes up to a month for a visa to be authorized and issued. However, we have been getting visas in quick time

The secret is to provide the full air or cruise ship ticket showing entry and exit. This helps make the authorization process easier and quicker. All applications are being referred to Abu Dhabi for decision, and all the Embassy does is print and stamp the final visa document once directed to do so by the home government.

So make it easier for them to say yes by providing a full ticket.

Click here for UAE visa forms and requirements.

Brazil gets slower, and faster

Brazil is getting both slower and faster, but it all depends on where you live.

If you live in BC, Alberta or Saskatchewan, then Brazilian visa processing times have gone through the roof. It is now taking at least a month, and sometimes more than five weeks to get a normal tourist visa for a Canadian passport out of the Brazilians.

For those lucky enough to be from Manitoba or Ontario, the visa processing can be as fast as one week, but is usually about 7 working days. People in the east usually get visas in just under two weeks. People in Ottawa get visas in exactly two weeks.

Be warned, the Brazilians still require you to show an airline or cruise ticket in and out of their country in order to secure a visa. However, this does not apply if you live in the west. People in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan are being told not to buy a ticket until after they have secured a visa.

Click here for Brazilian visa forms and requirements.

Libya is off the visa map

As you all know by now, Libya is engaged in a civil war between the pro-Khaddafi forces and mercenaries around Tripoli, and the opposition forces in the rest of the country.

This is not a good time to be setting out for Libya. Many of our clients have had to evacuate from the country, and some of our oil & gas worker clients are stranded in the desert.

Making the visa problem even more bizarre is that there are now essentially two Libyan government. Embassies are either pro- or anti-Khaddafi, depending on whether of not the staff have gone over to the opposition, as has happened in many Libyan diplomatic offices. Under Khaddafi, their embassies are called "People's Bureaus", but I do not think that will last much longer.

I suspect the new Libyan flag, which is really the pre-1969 Libyan flag, will soon be flying in Ottawa when the staff goes over to the opposition, of Khaddafi is dead.

Click here for Libyan visa forms and requirements, but be aware that the requirements and forms could change with lightning speed as new forces take control.

Egypt is open to tourists

Travel to Egypt is already picking up since the departure of Mubarak.

Egypt is still a relatively safe destination, as the military remains in control of the tourist sites and areas with a heavy concentration of tourists. In fact, the military is still in control of the whole country.

This is a great time to get cheap flights and even cheaper hotels and resorts and special travel deals and totally personalized tour services.

This past week the Egyptian Embassy staff even asked us what we thought they could do to encourage more tourists. We are working on this one!

Click here for Egyptian visa forms and requirements.

04 February 2011

India - utility bills?

I know this is going to sound strange, but it is true.

The Indian Embassy in Canada is now requiring untility or telephone bills for people who live in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, YT and NWT in order to process their visa applications.

The exception is if your passport was issued in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, YT or NWT.

For safety sake it is best to provide the utility or telephone bill showing residence in one of the three provinces or two territies.

Click here for the Indian visa forms.

Egypt - not today

Lots of our recent customers who acquired Egyptian visas have been cancelling their journeys left right and centre.

Now is not the time to travel Egypt.

Before considering travel, pelase read the official travel warnings.

Click here for Canadian travel warnings to Egypt.

Russian HIV/AIDS tests required

The Russian Embassy in Canada is demanding that all applicants seeking a multi-entry visa or who will stay for 90 or more days, have a new valid HIV test certificate showing them to be clear of HIV/AIDS.

Even though the official written requirements say this is only necessary for stays over 90 days, this is not what they want when the visa application is submitted.

So be safe, and get the HIV certificate for any multi-entry or long-term visa.

Click here for the Russian visa and voucher forms.

U.A.E. Dubai visa available

The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) in Canada is really issuing visas to Canadians. The wait of nearly two months for solid information and a decision by the government on what it would let the emabssy do in Canada fianlly resulted in a limited visa service for Canadians.

If you are flying on Emirates Airlines or Etihad Airways, you must get your visa from these airlines. Their websites have electronic visa application pages.

If you are on a cruise, or entering by some other airline, you must have a visa prior to travel.

Be warned, the UAE Embassy is taking three weeks to process a visa. The only good news is that you can keep your passport: they only need a colour copy of the passport in order to issue a visa document.

Click here for the U.A.E. Dubai visa forms.

Madagascar now FREE

Yes, you read it correctly. Madagascar is now offering free visas for tourist stays of up to thrity days.

You still need to have the visa placed in your passport before travel, but the Madagascar government is giving them away in the hopes of attracting more tourists.

Click here for the Madagascar visa forms package.