05 December 2012


Staff will be on hand on right up through Friday 22 December to assist with your last-minute visa questions.

VSC will be closed for the Christmas holidays from Monday 24 December through Friday 28 December 2012 inclusive. Everyone deserves a holiday.

Staff will be back in force on Monday 31 December to handle all visa processing on your behalf.

VSC will be closed on New Years Day, Tuesday 01 January 2013, but will re-open again on Wednesday 02 January.


The Chinese Embassy in Canada is strictly enforcing their new rules on tourist visa seekers.

Applicants must provide both of following documents:
1. ❒ - An airline ticket showing entry to and exit from China.
2. ❒ - A hotel booking confirmation letter from a hotel in China. This cannot be from a western booking company such as hotels.ca. Please contact your Chinese hotel to get a letter showing your names and booking dates.

Click here for updated Chinese requirements and forms.


The great news on the Saudi front is that the old 45 day processing has dropped dramatically down to 14 days.

Visa Services Canada is pleased to partner with Al Rayan Travel to provide Saudi Arabian visas to all Canadians. Together we will expedite your visa processing to make your application experience as painless as possible.

Click here for Saudi Arabia visa forms.


The High Commission of Kenya will be closing for an extended Christmas holiday. The visa section will be closed by 21 December and will not re-open until afetr 02 January next year.

The last day to make an application for a Kenyan visa this year is 12 December.

 Click here for Kenyan visa forms.


The Embassy of the Union of the Republic of Myanmar has moved to a different location. They now have a full building as their official embassy in Ottawa.

Now that the move is over and the staff settled, visa processing has resumed. Visa processing is still taking ten plus (10+) days, so apply early. There is no fast service for Myanmar, and the government no longer allows visa-on-arrival. You MUST get your visa in Canada prior to travel.

 Click here for Myanamr visa forms.


The Consulate General of Brazil responsible for Canadians living in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan has announced they have a supply of visas and are ramping up the processing speed.

Here is the official annoucement:
"We current have a backlog and our estimated processing time is 15 business days from the date of receipt of a complete application. The Consulate General of Brazil does not offer expedited / rush services. Applications are processed in order of receipt. Please do not insist. Due to the large number of applications that we receive daily, the Consulate neither confirms the receipt of documents nor checks the status of any process by phone or email.."

So it appears that visas can be acquired in less than a month at this point. Apply very early if you need a visa.

Click here for Brazil visa forms.

08 November 2012


The Consulate General of Brazil responsible for Canadians living in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan has announced a further reduction in services.

Here is the official annoucement:
"Temporary reduction in the rate of visa issuance.
The Consulate General of Brazil informs that due to a technical problem in issuing documents, the rhythm of issuance of visas will be temporarily reduced. If your trip is not urgent and you do not wish to surrender your passport to the Consulate for the time that is required for its processing, we suggest submitting your request later on. We hope to resume normal rhythm as soon as possible.
The Consulate General of Brazil appreciates your understanding."

We are now back to where we were a year ago with visa processing taking over one month. Apply very early if you need a visa.

 Click here for Brazil visa forms.

01 November 2012


The Chinese Embassy in Canada has just made getting a visa even tougher.

Our staff was briefed this morning by the consular staff regarding new requirements for both tourists and business travelers. These new items are in addition to all existing requirements.

BUSINESS visa applicants must also provide one of the following three documents:
1. ❒ - An Invitation Letter of Duly Authorized Unit (referring to the form of visa notification issued by the Chinese governmental departments, companies and social organizations authorized by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs); or a Confirmation Letter of Invitation issued by an authorized Chinese agency); or
2. ❒ - Invitation cards of various kinds of trade fairs; or
3. ❒ - An invitation Letter issued by a state-owned enterprise, collectively-owned enterprise, joint venture, solely-owned or private enterprise and educational, cultural and scientific institutions, and conference sponsors or hosts (original or copies). The invitation letter shall include:
A. Personal information of the applicant: name, gender, date of birth, passport number, etc.
B. Information concerning the applicant's visit to China: purpose of the visit, date of arrival and departure, places to visit, relationship between the applicant and the invitor, and who will bear the cost of the applicant's accommodations in China.
C. Information of the invitor: name of the unit or individual, phone number, address, and if applicable, the legal representative or the invitor's seal and signature.

TOURIST visa applicants must provide one of the following two documents:
1. ❒ - An Invitation Letter for Tourist or for Tourist Group by a Duly Authorized Tourism Unit; or
2. ❒ - An Invitation Letter issued by companies, corporations, institutions or individuals in China. If the invitation letter is issued by an individual in China, the photocopy of the ID of the individual is required. The invitation letter shall include the following items listed above (A,B,C) for business letters.

Click here for updated Chinese requirements and forms.


Visa Services Canada today received a signed photograph from the famous Canadian band NICKELBACK which is currently touring in Eastern Europe and Russia.

We provided ultra-fast service for their Belarus and Russian visas, and they were kind enough to courier this photo from St Petersburg, Russia, a mere two days ago.

Click here for your fast service Belarus visa forms.
Click here for your fast service Russian visa forms.

21 September 2012


The election is long over, and the Angolan Embassy in Canada has re-opened. Visa issuance has begun again and everything is operating as normal for Angola.

Click here for Angola visa forms.


The Embassy of the People's Republic of CHINA will be closed the following days:
1, 2, 3, 4 October 2012 for the national holidays.

China will not process any rush service visas between Friday 28 September and Friday 05 October 2012.

People needing rush service must apply early next week or after 08 October.

Click here for Chinese visa forms.

07 September 2012


Canadian-Iranian relations hit a new low today when Ottawa announced it was in effect withdrawing recognition of the Tehran government, closing the Canadian Embassy in Iran, and withdrawing the remaining diplomats. Canada further isolated Tehran by expelling all Iranian diplomats from the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa. The Iranians must leave Canada within 5 days.

This move follows the earlier action on 29 April 2012 when Ottawa closed the Canadian visa office in Tehran and shifted all visa processing for Iranian nationals to the Canadian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. Ottawa said it was a cost-saving measure, while Tehran said it was a hostile act. Both are correct.

Here is the full statement from the Canadian government:
“Canada has closed its embassy in Iran, effective immediately, and declared personae non gratae all remaining Iranian diplomats in Canada.
Canada’s position on the regime in Iran is well known. Canada views the Government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.
The Iranian regime is providing increasing military assistance to the Assad regime; it refuses to comply with UN resolutions pertaining to its nuclear program; it routinely threatens the existence of Israel and engages in racist anti-Semitic rhetoric and incitement to genocide; it is among the world’s worst violators of human rights; and it shelters and materially supports terrorist groups, requiring the Government of Canada to formally list Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act.
Moreover, the Iranian regime has shown blatant disregard for the Vienna Convention and its guarantee of protection for diplomatic personnel. Under the circumstances, Canada can no longer maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran. Our diplomats serve Canada as civilians, and their safety is our number one priority.
Diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran have been suspended. All Canadian diplomatic staff have left Iran, and Iranian diplomats in Ottawa have been instructed to leave within five days.
Canadians in Iran seeking routine consular and passport services should contact the Embassy of Canada in Ankara, Turkey, or any other Canadian mission. Those who require urgent assistance should contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa, by calling collect at 613-996-8885 or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.
Canada has updated its Travel Reports and Warnings to advise Canadians to avoid all travel to Iran. Canadians who have Iranian nationality are warned in particular that the Iranian regime does not recognize the principle of dual nationality. By doing so, Iran makes it virtually impossible for Government of Canada officials to provide consular assistance to Iranian-Canadians in difficulty.”

This means it has now become virtually impossible for Canadians to acquire visas for travel to Iran.

Many will rightly wonder if this is a step along the path to Canadian support for an Israeli attack against Iran. The extereme pro-Israel stance by Harper has alienated several close allies and has even gone further than even the normally blind USA in support for a regime which routinely commits crimes against humanity in the occupied territories. But to say that Iran is the biggest threat to peace on the planet is bizarre even for the current government in Ottawa.

06 September 2012


Despite the election being over, the Angolan Embassy in Canada remains largely closed. This is odd as many other Angolan embassies have re-opened and are issuing visas.

The remaining staff member at the Angolan Embassy in Canada told me this morning that they will have full staff and start processing visas on/after 17 September 2012.

No visas will be issued until at least 05 October at the earliest at this point.

Click here for Angola visa forms.


As of today the Chinese Embassy in Canada is requiring all tourists to provide proof of hotel bookings directly from the Chinese hotel or hostel or cruise ship. This means the booking form or letter must come from the hotel in China. You can no longer use a print-out from a western travel agent or a western hotel booking website. The document must come from China.

Click here for Chinese visa forms.

09 August 2012


We are sad to report that due to increasing courier costs we have had to raise the return shipping fee by $2. In addition, we now have to charge for money orders. This is a flat $6.50 fee charged only if the embassy requires payment by money order. By prior arrangement you may send a money order to cover the embassy fees, but we do not recommend this. These revised fees came into effect as of 01 August 2012. We regret any inconveneince, as our prices have been stable for the past five years.


Effective 16 August 2012, the German Embassy in Ottawa will no longer accept applications for Schengen visas. As of that date, applicants previously served by the German Embassy should submit their application to the visa office of the Embassy of Austria in Ottawa. Non-Canadians seeking Schengen visas for Germany will now have to apply in person at the Austrian Embassy in Ottawa.

23 July 2012


Later in August the Angolan Embassy will be dramatically changing their service delivery times. The processing times will remain roughly the same as before.

The big change is that all visas will be handed over only on FRIDAY at noon.

Yes, Angola will store all visas, even those completed on Monday, until the end of the week when they will hand out everything all at once.

How this will work in practice remains to be seen. However, oil company workers should prepare to be in Ottawa on Fridays to pick up their passports and then to catch the Friday night flight to Heathrow (AC888).

Click here for Angolan visa forms.

19 July 2012


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

Every year VSC gives a few tonnes of rice to the Life & Hope Association. The rice is purchased locally in Cambodia, so the money goes to rice farmers and local producers, as well as the food going to needy locals.

The LHA is a non-profit, non-governmental and non-political organization, established in 2005 by the young monks of Wat Damnak, Young Khmer Youths and generous friends. These people saw the urgent needs of orphans, vulnerable children, poor children, street Children, (also called Rubbish Children and beggar children) etc, who are living miserable lives. LHA is dedicated and committed to alleviate the poverty and ignorance of Cambodians and to encourage their equal treatment in Cambodian society by providing physical and moral support.

LHA works with several active villages in and surrounding the Siem Reap and Bakong District, with aim to alleviate poverty/difficulty of poor families, especially Cambodian Children by supporting them with basic needs such as foods, clothing, school supplies, health services, education, accommodation etc.
LHA, as well as running a food programme and a sewing school and a mine victim village, also runs an orphanage on the edge of Siem Reap. I have personally been to this orphanage and know that LHA will continue the good works here.

Click here to help LHA help Cambodians who are living on less than $2 per day.


We extend greatings to our Muslim customers on the occassion of Ramadan.

Please note that due to the fasting and other religeous requirements of the faith, many embassies will have shorter working hours. This means visas will be delayed during Ramadan which runs for the next few weeks.

Please budget extra processing time when applying for a visa at any Muslim or Arab country during the Ramadan period.


The State of Qatar has moved its embassy to Canada into Canada! This is great news. In the past the Qatari Embassy to Canada was located in the USA and acted as a dual-hatted embassy to two countries.

Now, Canadians needing visas to Qatar can get served right here in the nation's capital.

Canadian tourists do not need a visa, but people on business are required to have a visa prior to travel to Qatar.

Click here for Qatar visa forms.


Please sign your forms. Please sign your passports.

So many applications arrive without signatures. These cannot and will not be accepted by the embassies. Your application forms must be signed.

In addition, all of your supporting documents must be signed. We get a lot of letters of invitation which have no signature. A letter of invitation or letter of support must be signed by the invitor. Embassies do not accept unsigned letters as the letetrs just look fake.

So in closing, if the document is not signed, it is not legal. Sign it or have it signed by your supporter or invitor.


As of Monday 16 July 2012 Canada Post has been withdrawing regular services from parts of downtown Ottawa.

Our building, a 21 story office block continaing four embassies and numerous business, now gets postal deliveries at the end of the business day, or even later. A couple of days ago the post arrived at 17:10 after the facility was locked. Canada Post tells us this will be in palce on an irregular basis for the next two weeks, and will then become engraved in stone.

So if you want your passports to arrive on time, or you want fast services, please use PUROLATOR or FEDEX courier systems.

13 July 2012


The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa has changed the overall fees charged for all visas, with an increase of about $30 per visa.

There is no change in processing or forms. Carry on as before, but be aware that prices have risen.

Click here for Chinese visa forms.

31 May 2012


As of now the new Russian on-line visa application system is mandatory.

All Canadian applicants must use the on-line service provided by the consular division of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fill in their new Russian visa form.

The on-line form features individual unique coding and a bar code which is scanned by the Russian embassy in order to see the details on screen at the time of processing.

Set aside up to two hours to enter all the required details of your personal life on the Russian computer, and have a copy of your resume and the names and addresses and telephone numbers of all your past employers and schools on hand for easy reference. The Russians want it all.

You can visit the new Russian government website here -

Click here for our updated Russian visa application package, explaining all the new features.

17 May 2012


Dear Tourists to China

The Embassy of China is now strictly enforcing all new visa application rules for tourists.

People seeking Chinese tourist visas MUST provide a copy of their air ticket into and out of China (or a cruise ship ticket / booking confirmation).

They MUST also provide a confirmed booking for a hotel or guest house made out in their name.

These new requirements are non-negotiable. All applicants must provide these new addtitional documents without exception.

Thank you

Embassy of China

14 May 2012


The Chinese Embassy is already applying the new rules to tourist visa seekers by demanding airline tickest and hotel bookings. And it is causing a massive line-up at the embassy.

This morning, Monday, the line was 2.5 hours long inside the embassy, and promises to get worse as the week goes on.

Under these circumstances fast service visas may become difficult to acquire for the next week.

Not since the Beijing olympics have we seen this sort of backlog.

Lesson: apply EARLY !


There are only two more days until the new Chinese tourist visa rules will be strictly enforced. As of Wednesday 16 May 2012 the Chinese embassy will require more documents from tourist visa applicants.

Each tourist applicant must provide both and air ticket in and out of China; or a cruise booking confirmation form and itinrary, in their name.

Each tourist applicant must provide a confirmation of hotel booking in their name.

This new requirement is mandatory and applies to all people seeking tourist visas. Remember to provide both your air ticket and your hotel booking. The hotel name and contact information also gets printed in box 2.5 and 2.8 of the Chinese visa form.

Students and teachers/professors musts still make the student/teacher declaration regarding obeying all Chinese laws. This can be done in the other declaration space provided in box 5.

Click here for Chinese application forms.


As you all know and fear, Russia has adopted an on-line electronic visa application system for filling in the visa form. The questions remain as they were on the printed form, but now the e-form forces certain answers and does not allow blank spaces.

The real problem was that over the past two weeks there have been two Russian visa websites, one that works and one that does not:

1) the one listed on the Russian Embassy in Canada website which is the worng one because it does not list Canada as a visa country option; and

2) the correct site which does allow Canadian applicants, and it looks real, which is a bonus.

The correct specialised website of the Consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation is https://visa.kdmid.ru

Click here to see the new Russian on-line site.

10 May 2012


The best hotel in Cambodia, and one of the finest in all of Asia, is the Hotel de la Paix in Siem Reap, near the temples of Angkor Wat.

The rooms and suites are superbly detailed and cared-for, and staff are attentive and helpful in a useful way. I never wanted to leave the swimming pool on the rooftop. When the poolboy asked what flavour of crushed ice I would like after my swim, and if I wanted to be misted with cool water, I simply died and went to heaven.

Food is beyond compare, and rooms include breakfast in the Meric room under the direction of Joannes Riviere. The spa suites are two stories with private outdoor plunge bath and massage tables. Even the regular rooms are far from ordinary, with beautiful Khmer designs and artwork.

And you do not have to feel guilty about enjoying the luxury in the midst of a sea of poverty. HdlP is a major sponsor of community charity activities. The hotel will help you help the locals. The hotel pairs with the Life and Hope Association at Wat Damnak in Siem Reap to provide all sorts of charitable care in the community.

Click here to visit Hotel de la Paix.


"Yes", I tell visa applicants again and again, "you do need more photos even though you already have a passport if you want a visa". I have even offered to cut photos out of people's passports for them. This is not difficult people: provide a passport photograph. But do not be like the person who provided a photograph of his passport instead of a passport photograph!

Almost every country wants at least one standard passport-style colour photo attached to each visa application. The general rules are the image should be passport-photo size, usually colour, full face, head on, no hats and usually no glasses, never sunglasses, white or grey background, and taken recently. If you wear religious or cultural headcoverings, you will have to make certain of the requirements. All photos must be identical.

Some embassies require the photographers stamp and date on the back, but most do not. Most embassies want one or two, but a handful of embassies demand four! The good news is these are available almost everywhere now, including many pharmacies. And it is always best to have extra copies of both the photos and the visa application forms (filled-in) with you during your travels in case some nasty border guard insists on more paperwork.


Canadians are now subject to filling in on-line mandatory Russian visa application forms. This process can easily take 90 minutes per application. You will need to fill in a lot of personal information, and you will need to know the address and telephone numbers of every place you went to school and worked. You also need to know where you went in the past ten years.

Click here for all new Russian forms, requirements, and new instructions.


The Embassy of Venezuela now requires electronic photos in addition to the paper visa application. The picture for the visa must be submitted in digital format to the Embassy of Venezuela.

• Photos must be recent (such as maximum 6 months).
• Picture size: must be symmetric with a minimum of 600 pixels x 600 pixels and a maximum of 1200 pixels x 1200 pixels. Image files containing a scan size letter with the photo in a corner are not acceptable.    Format: JPEG     Extension: *.jpg
• File size: equal or less than 240 KB (kilobytes) and greater than 40 KB (kilobytes).
• Colour with a white background.
• Show the uncovered and upright face and the neck - face should be 66-75% of the photo.
• The person should be with the mouth shut and neutral expression.
• No glasses.
• Save the image as follows: name-Apellido_VISA.jpg (Pedro-Perez_VISA.jpg).
• The photo must be emailed to both the embassy and the consular section:
• Email subject line: "Photo VISA name surname" (photo VISA PEDRO PEREZ)

Click here for Venezuelan visa forms and details.


Lately we have noticed that the Angolan Embassy in Ottawa hs been speeding up the processing of regular (Ordinario) visas for Canadians.

Instead of the strict three week processing, we have lately seen some visas being issued in as little as two weeks.

We hope this is a trend.

Click here for Angolan visa forms and details.


The Chinese government announced today they are now requiring all persons applying for tourist visas to provide two more documents.

Each tourist applicant must provide both and aitr ticket in and out of China; or a cruise booking confirmation form and itinrary, in their name.

Each tourist applicant must provide a confirmation of hotel booking in their name.

This new requirement is mandatory and applies to all people seeking tourist visas. Remember to provide both your air ticket and your hotel booking. The hotel name and contact information also gets printed in box 2.5 of the Chinese form.

Click here for Chinese application forms.


The Russian government has now made it mandatory for all persons applying in Canada to use their on-line visa application system.

 Click here for all new Russian forms, requirements, and new instructions.

20 April 2012


The Russian Embassy in Canada has just announced that as of 01 June 2012 it will only be accepting visa forms produced through their on-line government visa application computer system.

Canadians MUST use the new on-line visa application system at http://evisa.kdmid.ru in order to enter their personal details and request a visa.

Although the application is typed on-line, the final product is printed and signed just like the old forms. All off the paperwork must still be provided in hard copy.

There are about 24 steps to filling in the from, so it could easily take up to 90 minutes to complete a single application. Be ready with all of your old workplace and school addresses and a lot of personal history.

We are Visa Services Canada remain ready to get your Russian visa from the Russian government.

Click here for the current Russian application package.


Two words about travel health: get shots and get insurance.

Before travelling anywhere 'exotic', please please please get shots for things such as yellow fever, hepatitis and whatever else is a health issue in the region of travel. Major cities in Canada have outlets of the travel health clinic known as MEDISYS.
Click here for MEDISYS.

Before travelling anywhere at all, get travel medical insurance which includes hospital coverage and if possible medical evacuation. We prefer International SOS, a world-wide company dealing with bsuiness, ex-pats, and tourists. This is one of the best investments you can make in health before extensive international travel or residence abroad. They saved me in Cambodia where they run two extensive medical facilities using western equipment and standards. We trust them with our lives.
Click here for the International SOS website.

U.A.E. (Dubai) QUICKLY

Remeber -- Canadians need visas to enter the United Arab Emirates. This goes for those of you on a cruise stopping in Dubai or any other port in the UAE.

Fortunately we can get a rush service UAE visa for you in as little as 48 hours.

This is an electronic application, and the visa is emailed to you as a pdf document.

You must type the forms on0screen, print out, scan and email all documents to our office. You must also provide high quality scans of both your passport and of a passport-style photograph. Each scan should be a pdf of jpeg format, and not excede 400kb in size.

Click here for UAE visa forms.


This is just a warning to people who have been and are seeking visas to Ghana.

The Ghanaian High Commission has changed locations several times in the past few years due to construction and even fire. Many old forms and out-of-date websites refer to addresses which have not seen the Ghana mission in some years.

Amateur visa seekers have lately experienced a lot of frustration due to packages being returned declined.

Save time and trouble: let us find the Ghanaians for you.

Click here for Ghana visa forms.


Now is the time to visit Egypt.

The abortive revolution last year produced a massive hole in their tourist numbers. Hotels, resorts and tourists sites are begging for visitors.

In the past embassy staff were almost overwhelmed by the number of passports awaiting visas. Now the files are nearly empty.

Now is the time to visti Egypt to take advantage of the great prices and short lines.

Click here for Egyptian visa forms.


Tanzania now has an unofficial fast service.

Certain applicants with little time to spare can sometimes get unofficial fast services from the wonderful people at the Tanzanian high commission.

Do not expect this as a formal announced service. We are pleased to offer it on a limited basis as the need arises. Prices remain the same.

Click here for Tanzanian visa form.


It is official: Angola is now taking three working weeks (15 working days) plus any holidays real or unannounced, to produce a visa for Canadians.

Visa seekers wanted Ordinary or Short Term Visas are now waiting through 15 processing days at the Angolan Embassy.

Applicants for STVs must come in person to Ottawa to pick up the visa from our office. This is because the visa is only valid for 72 hours from the date of issue.

Click here for Angolan visa forms.


The Russian Embassy in Canada has just announced that as of 01 June 2012 it will only be accepting visa forms produced through their on-line government visa application computer system.

Canadians MUST use the new on-line visa application system at http://evisa.kdmid.ru in order to enter their personal details and request a visa.

Although the application is typed on-line, the final product is printed and signed just like the old forms. All off the paperwork must still be provided in hard copy.

We are Visa Services Canada remain ready to get your Russian visa from the Russian government.

Click here for the current Russian application package.