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.