22 December 2011


Our office will be closed from 24 December 2011 until 02 January 2012.

We have given all staff a full week of holiday this season due to the closures of both embassies and couriers for many of the days over the week between Christmas and New Years.

Full staff will be available on Monday 2 January.

Merry Christmas and a Happy new year.


Suriname - now visa-on-arrival

Great news for the holidays: Suriname, once one of only three countries in Latin America to require visas of Canadians prior to travel, has changed their policy.

Suriname now offers Visa-On-Arrival to Canadain nationals with Canadian passports who are visiting as tourists or on business.

Merry Christmas.

Russian Holidays

Happy holidays from Russia, where due to an historical anomaly of having the Julian calendar run shorter than the Gregorian calendar used by most places, Christmas and New Year fall two weeks later than in the west.

So Russian holidays start early and run long. The Russian foreign ministry will be closed from 31 December 2011 through at least 9 January 2012. This means no vouchers, invitations or telexes will be processed by the Russian government.

The Russian Embassy and consular offices in canada will also be closed for extended holidays. Now is definitely NOT the time to try for Russian visas.

Just so you will know, the Julian calendar has 365 days, whereas the Grgorian caendar has 365.25 days, or a leap year every four years. The Julian calendar has been fixed to the Gregorian so it no longer shifts every four years.

Click here for Russian forms.

02 December 2011

Angolan Holidays

When we think of Christmas and New Years, we naturally think of Angola!

Well, maybe not, but beware, the Angolan Embassy in Canada is closing for another annual extended holiday.

The Angolan Embassy will be closed from Thursday 22 December 2011 until Monday 09 January 2012.

Angola regularly takes three working weeks to issue an ordinary visas, and all applicant must have a police clearance certificate and fingerprints, and both documents must be translated into Portuguese.

Click here for Angolan visa forms.

Kenya closed for a month

The Kenyan High Commission in Canada is closed from today, 2 December 2011 until Tuesday 03 January 2012. Yes, they are closed for one month.

Canadian nationals with Canadian passports can legally get Kenyan tourist and business visas at Nairobi International Airport upon arrival.

Saudi Arabia slows Canadian visa processing

Saudi Arabia slows Canadian visa processing
Embassy Magazine, 30 November 2011

Click here for the full article.

Saudi Arabia is deliberately prolonging the processing of Canadian visas in a retaliatory move to protest what it says are too-slow processing times of Saudi visas to Canada. (Blog note: this should read "Saudi Arabia is deliberately prolonging the processing of Saudi visas in a retaliatory move to protest what it says are too-slow processing times of visas to Canada.")

The Saudi mission in Ottawa says officials brought the issue up to Canadian authorities. "The Kingdom's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to apply the principle of reciprocity in order to send a clear and strong message to our friends in Canada that the current situation is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue, hoping that they will understand and value the relationship the two countries share."

The Saudi decision, which went into effect Sept. 1, means processing of Canadian visa requests takes between 30 and 45 days. A message alerting Canadians to the change appears on the Saudi embassy website. "[T]he waiting period for issuing a visa to Canadian citizens wishing to enter the Kingdom has been prolonged to meet the same amount of time it takes Saudi citizens to obtain a visa from the Canadian embassy in Riyadh," wrote the spokesperson, who did not give their name.

But the added delay is already having an impact on some Canadians, said one director of a company that helps facilitate the visa process, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly about the situation. "The Saudis were very blunt; they said this is retaliation," said the director. "We used to be able to get visas same day—walk in at 10, pick it up at 2, at the Saudi Embassy." "The international oil companies are redeploying their Canadians elsewhere, oil fields that can use Canadian specialists but don't have the Saudi problem. And then they'll put in, say, Brits, people who've worked in the North Sea, because it doesn't take as long."

Saudi Arabia isn't the first country to retaliate against Canada using visa policy changes. Its neighbour in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates, slapped new visa requirements on Canada last year during a dispute with Canada over landing rights at Canadian airports for its airlines.

08 November 2011

Brazil increasing wait times

Yes, Brazil has given official notification that as of 15 Nomber 2011 they intend to increase the processing times for visas for people in Ontario and Manitoba.

Up until this week, resdients of Ontario and Manitoba have had the fastest Brazilian visa processing in the country. But as of next week that time will increase to 15 working days according to the Brazilian consul general in Toronto.

This will have no effect, for bettr or for worse, on the already abysmal processing times of up to a month experienced by Western Canadians.

So apply early!

Click here for Brazil visa forms.

07 November 2011

Sri Lanka introduces E-visas

Sri Lanka will require all foreigners to acquire visas prior to travel starting in the new year (01 January 2012).

The Government of Sri Lanka is rolling out a new on-line visa system. All foreigners will be required to apply on-line to get approval for a tourist or business or visit visa.

The new prices are:
US$50. for a visas valid for a stay of up to 30 days.
US$75 for a visa valid for a stay of 31-90 days.

Applicants will apply and pay all fees on-line directly to the Sri Lankan government computer system. Th3 exact computer address has not yet been announced, but we will get it for you as soon as we can do so.

Once you have applied and paid, you will receive an electronic reference number which you print and take to Sri Lanka. At the airport upon arrival you will hand over the reference number and your passport. The immigration officials will then confirm you are registered and place the paper visa in your apssport.

Eid closures - 7 November

It is the Islamic holiday of Eid, and the following embassies are closed:
Iran, UAE, Egypt, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, and most other Arab or muslim countries.

Russia is closed for a national holiday, and India is closed for a religeous holiday.

UK closes visa office in Canada

Although Canadians do not need visas to visit the UK on business or tourists trips, stuents and various other categories of travellers do need UK visas. Until last month these visas were issued in Ottawa by the UK High Commission to Canada.

Due to severe budget cuts in the UK, the High Commission in Ottawa was forced to close their visa processing office in October 2011. All visas for people in Canada are now processed in the United States. After biometrics processing in Canada, you must ship the sealed package to the UK visa office in the USA. There is no longer an office in Canada. Please allow a couple of months for processing due to the massive backlog and reduced staff numbers.

20 October 2011

Tanzania -- New Price

After years of price stability, the Tanzania government has directed a modest price increase for visas.

As of 01 November 2011 a basic single-entry tourist visa will cost $80. The old price was $75, so the new price represents a mere 6.6% increase.

And remember, most flights to the safari region on Tanzania and Kenya land at Nairobi airport in Kenya, so you will need a visa for Kenya.

All visa forms for both Tanzania and Kenya require the full name and address and contact details of one hotel or safari lodge at which you intend to stay.

Click here for Tanzania visa forms.

14 September 2011

Be kind to cats & dogs

When you travel abroad, and especially in the third world, you are likely to see domestic animals such as cats & dogs which are not well cared for. Consider a donation to a local animal shelter in your destination. They are usually very easy to find on-line.

We take care of our friends because they take care of us.

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

2. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

3. Don't be angry with me for long, and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainments; but I have only YOU.

4. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

5. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

6. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet I choose not to.

7. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

8. Please take care of me when I grow old. You, too, will grow old.

9. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me, please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

10. Let my last memory be of your kind face, gentle voice and of your loving arms holding me.

We thank the Turks & Caicos RSPCA "Potcake Foundation" for the quote.
Click here for the Potcake Foundation.

25 August 2011

NIGERIA - no fast service

As of today the Nigerian High Commission is temporarily suspending fast visa processing. For the next two weeeks at least there will be regular service only. This means it will take ten working days to get a Nigerian visa.

Click here for Nigerian visa forms.

MYANMAR changed its name ?

Myanmar has officially changed its name from the "Union of Myanmar" to the new "Republic of the Union of Myanmar".

Now most people would not think this was much of a change, or even care at all. But the military government cares, and this means something to vis applicants.

The Myanmar Embassy is forbidden from accepting any visa application form which does not have the word "Republic" in the letterhead. The forms have stayed exactly the same with the exception of the addition of the word Republic to the name. All applicants using the form without Republic will be rejected.

Click here for the new Republic of the Union of Myanmar visa application forms.

19 August 2011

BRAZIL - not so fast

The promise was there. The Brazilian foreign ministry and the Brazilian consulate in Vancouver said visas would now be issued within days instead of a month. And at first it seemed to work. Now, the evidence is of backsliding. The Brazilian office responsible for BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan is going back to processing in up tp three weeks.

Apply early.

Click here for Brazil visa applications and instructions.


Well, our government has annoyed another dictatorship, and that regime has retaliated against visa seekers.

The Saudi regime has taken issue with the Canadian policy of taking weeks and sometimes even months to grant visas to Saudi subjects. So as of 01 September 2011 they are changing their processing time from the usual 24 hours to an astonishing four to six (4-6) weeks. Yes, you read it here first: the Saudi Embassy in Canada will hold Canadian passports for an average of one month before issuing a visa.

Now in my opinion a country wracked with religious issues, and religious police who execute two people per week, and high numbers of under-employed indoctrinated young men needs to be watched very carefully. It is the duty and obligation of the Canadian government to scrutinize all Saudi applicants. After all, it is not Belgians committing atrocities against Western nationals in the name of their god.

Despite the inconvenience it will cause to some Canadian businessmen and oil workers, I encourage our often spineless tory government in Ottawa to keep standards in place and to not cave into the house of Saud on this one.

Click here for Saudi visa details.

INDA - sign it twice

Yes, you read that headline correctly. The new Indian visa application form has TWO places for signatures: one on the first page at the upper-right beneath the photograph box where no one would look; and the other at the end of the second page where you would expect to find it.

If the form does not bear two original ink signatures, it will not be processed and a visa will not be issued.

So sign both pages, please.

Click here for India visa application forms and instructions.

CHINA - get it right the first time

Applying for a Chinese visa has not been this difficult for three years.

The new four page extended Chinese visa application form now has to be filled in VERY carefully. No pen amendments are allowed. Blank spaces must be filled in with "N/A'. If you make an error or ommission, start again and type everything. The only pen ink allowed on the paper is your signature.

Click here for Chinese visa application forms and instructions.

11 August 2011

CHINA -- new forms

Fortune Cookie says: "Old Chinese form is no good - use the new longer Chinese visa application form for best results!"

The Embassy of China in Ottawa has introduced a whole new and better visa application form, and a totally new supplemental application form for ALL applicants.

Starting now you must use the new forms (a total of six pages in Chinese and English), and all answers must be typed on the form on-screen, then printed and all pages signed in black ink.

The new form is far better in that the questions are clearer, and the space allotted for answers is larger and easier to use. Most of the longer form is taken up with the questions from the old form, but with better spacing for ease of reading and answering.

The downside is that it has gone from 2 pages to six pages. So start typing now for your visa to China.

Click here for the new Chiense visa application package.

09 August 2011


Visa Services Canada is proud to provide full "Authentication & Legalization" services to all Canadians at home and abroad, and to legal residents.

If you have documents from Canada which you need to use in a foreign country, we at VSC will get then notarized, stamped by the Canadian Government, then legalized by the foreign embassy and returned to you. This includes items such as birth certificates, diplomas, various educational certificates, police clearances, and fingerprints.

We can even get documents officially translated before being legalized.

Basic A&L services cost $100. for the first document, and $50. for each additional document.

We will even ship them anywhere in the world, such as directly to a prospective employer or immigration office.

Click here for Authentication & Legalization forms and details.


Be prepared to wait for Tanzanian visas for the rest of the summer. Staff changes at the High Commission may means the normal 7 working day processing of visa applciations could stretch to weeks.

Apply early, but remember that you must LEAVE Tanzania within 90 days of the issue date of your visa.

Click here for Tanzanian visa application forms.


BRazil is getting better and better.

In the past people in Western Canada were treated very poorly, and often had to wait a month for a visa, while people in Winnipeg and Eastern Canada got visas in a few days.

The Brazilian Government has moved to fix the problems in the Vancouver consulate, and they are now stating visas should be done in 10 days at most. This is great news, and we hope they will continue to meet this service commitment.

Of course people in Western Canada still have to provide a lot of extra documentation not called for in the east, but the service has become faster.

Click here for Brazilian visa application forms.


India has gone high-tech. As of 25 July all Indian visa applciations MUST be made first on-line, then in person (or by courier).

The new Indian visa application computer system was apparently rolled out without any field testing and without notice to the visa community. It still does not function properly, and for the first week business visa seekers were locked out.

Visa Services Canada moved quickly to provide all new forms and new instructions regarding the Indian on-line system Please visit our India page for full details and the new forms and links to the Indian computer.

Click here for Indian visa forms.

08 July 2011

Welcome to SOUTH SUDAN

Visa Services Canada is pleased to extend our greetings to the new nation of SOUTH SUDAN.

On Saturday 9 July at noon, the largest country in Africa will be partitioned into the existing Sudan (in the north), and the new republic of South Sudan in the south. The capital city, Juba, will ring out with the new national anthem and the new flag will be raised on the tallest flagpole in Africa. At the same time as the partition, South Sudan will join the United Nations as the 193rd member of that body.

Visas will be available soon.

Click here for South Sudan visa information.

29 June 2011


We are closed on Canada Day, and will re-open after noon on Monday 04 July 011.

Have a great Canada Day long weekend.

31 May 2011

CHINA - new visa forms coming

This is just a warning to people planning a China trip: the Chinese Embassy is talking about instituting a new and much longer application form with far more detailed questions. It could go from being a 2-page form to being a 4-page form. We will keep you posted.

Click here for the Chinese application package.

KAZAKHSTAN - new requirements

The Kazakh government lets in Canadians without a formal invitation, but they are requiring far more details about your trip as of this week.

Both business and tourist travellers are now required to provide a hotel booking confirmation for their time in Kazakhstan, ans well as a very detailed letter about what they will be doing in Kazakhstan.

Click here for Kazakhstan visas.

25 May 2011

ANGOLA - photos, police & notaries

Effective immediately, the Angolan government requires all Canadians applying for any type of Angolan visa to have a full police records check and fingerprints forms.

And to make it even more difficult and time-consuming, the police and fingerprint documents must be translated into Portuguese and notarized and authenticated by DFAIT.

And they also now want four (4) passport-style colour photos with each application.

At this point pretty much the only people going to Angola go as employees of oil companies.

Click here for Angola visa forms.

KENYA - new visa fees

As of Canada Day, 01 July 2011, the Kenyan High Comission in Ottawa is charging new and higher prices for visa. The rules will also be changing to become more strict. Most people will face a price rise from the current $32. to the new $52.

New visa fees:
C$52.00 For Single Entry (Tourist/ Visitor/ Business),
C$103.00 For Multiple Entry (Tourist/ Visitor/ Business),
C$21.00 For Single Transit,
C$42.00 For Double Transit.

10 May 2011

Russia may want Russian

The following information is not confirmed.

The Russian Embassy in Canada has mentioned to us and to several others that Russia is seriously considering requiring Canadian applicants for Russian visas to fill in the Russian application form in the Russian language and Russian cyrillic alphabet.

This is in retaliation for actions taken by the current Canadian government under Harper against Russians applying for Canadian visas. Canada now requires Russians to use either English or french, but not Russian.

So the Russians, having first retaliated by imposing the new long 2-page form, are now set to impose the use of Russian language answers.

This may happen at any time. Be warned.

17 March 2011

Ghana closed by fire

A massive fire in an Ottawa hardware store which spewed toxic smoke and gasses is having an effect on Ghana.

The Ghana High Commission in Ottawa shares a building with a hardware store which burned on Wednesday 16 March 2011, causing a large evacuation of nearby residents and road closures.

Although Ghana has two building sites, they are currently not responding as they were evacuated from the current consular office with no notice.

This means it could be several days before Ghana resumes issuing visas.

Click here for Ghana visa form.

04 March 2011

Rwanda visas

Canadian need visas to visit Rwanda for any purpose.

Since the Rwandan genocide and the Canadian response, the government of Rwanda has let Canadians in without visas as a form of thanks.

Well, it seems that Rwanda is on the growing list of countries abused by Canada's current government, and has retaliated: visas are now mandatory.

Visas cost $70 and take seven working days to process. So if you are going to see the gorillas in the mist, or study the genocide, apply now.

Click here for Rwanda visa details and forms.

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.