13 July 2015

Embassies Closing for Eid (Islamic holy days)

Eid Mubarak. (Happy Eid)

Many embassies and consulates will be closed starting on Thursday 16 July 2015 for the Islamic holy days known as Eid. This is the end of Ramadan, and signals the end of fasting and the start of feasting.

All Muslim / Islamic countries will have office closures and will not be processing any visas at all for the week following 16 July.

Please expect processing times to extend by another week due to the holidays.

Also, countries with extensive or sensitive Muslim populations also commonly close or cut back on work days during Eid. This includes countries such as Tanzania and usually Nigeria.

Remember that Indonesia is in fact a Muslim country and will be closed for the entire period.

Visa Services Canada will of course be fully open during the entire Eid period to assist with all visas.

Indian e-Visas for Business travel

It is now full speed ahead for the Indian e-Visa system.

Since its Canadian roll-out a few months ago the e-Visa system has grown in popularity.

The biggest response is from the business community who now get visas without having to surrender their passports to a potentially slow-moving Indian consular offices.

Although the Indian e-Visa scheme is formally named the "Tourist e-Visa", it is valid for four types of travel: tourist, family visit, medical treatment, and BUSINESS.

Your visa form which we will send to you along with your authorization, will say it is a "Tourist e-Visa" form on the top. However, business travellers need not be worried as the type of travel is specified deep in the form.

At the bottom of section E, just before the start of section F, the form says "Purpose of Visit" and then says "BUSINESS". So although it looks like a tourist visa, you are authorized to conduct business meetings in India under this visa type.

Click here for the new Indian business e-Visa application package.

UNIVISA for Zambia & Zimbabwe

Recently the governments of Zimbabwe and Zambia set up a pilot project for issuing the new UNIVISA. The organization is formally called KAZA Visa

Currently, tourists visiting Southern Africa must apply for separate visas for each country, each with its own visa regime. For some, this acts a deterrent for multi-country travel in the region. It is for this reason that the development of a common visa, deemed a UNIVISA, was endorsed by SADC Heads of State in 1998. While there have been some obstacles to implementation, significant momentum is now building towards the UNIVISA. Central to the UNIVISA strategy is taking a phased approach. The first step is the creation of a pilot initiative through which a common visa will be created for Zambia and Zimbabwe. One of the reasons they were selected as pilot countries relates to their role as cohosts of the 2013 UNWTO General Assembly.

The name appears to be a mix of Kazungula Land and Zambezi River (Ka and Za)

Some day, the UNIVISA might (might!) include such countries as Angola, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Swaziland. Far down the road they hope to add D.R. Congo, Malawi, Lesotho, Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles. The chances of Angola being an early adopter seem slim at best.

The Zimbabwe High Commission says that there is some availability of this visa at certain border and airport entry points, but that it is only available to persons who can prove they are going to BOTH countries. It is only valid for up to 30 days, and costs at least US$50 per passport.

 The UNIVISA is only available upon arrival at the following entry points:

Harry Mwaanga Airport (Livingstone)
Victoria Falls Land Border
Kazungula Land Border (border with Botswana)
Kenneth Kaunda Airport (Lusaka)

Victoria Falls Airport
Victoria Falls Land Border
Kazungula Land Border
Harare Airport

No high commission or embassy or consulate is allowed to issue this permit.

Click here for regular paper Zambian visas.

Click here for regular paper Zimbabwe visas.