HLG Weekly Newsletter

Dec 19,2016
Caribbean countries

1. "Caribbean CBI countries collaborate for stronger programme", Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, December 16th, 2016

  • The five Eastern Caribbean countries engaged in the Citizenship by Investment Programme are looking to establish a stronger regulatory framework with the hopes of becoming more effective and competitive on the global market.
  • Thomas Anthony of the citizenship by investment unit of Antigua shed some light on the association’s first meeting in St. Kitts.
  • He said at that first meeting it was also decided that countries would share information on application denials so that applicants who were refused entry in one state would not be able to apply to another. Anthony further revealed that the joint regional communication center in Barbados would be the central point for such information. Meetings were also held in Barbados and Antigua.
Costa Rica

2. "Costa Rica Eliminates Entry for EU Schengen, Japan Visa Holders", Q Costa Rica, December 17th, 2016

  • In a circular dated November 7, 2016, Costa Ricaabruptly changed its migration policy to stop visitors using visas for the EU’s Schengen zone or for Japan from entering the country.
  • The decision was not explained. The circular by the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (Costa Rica immigration service) says, “After two years of studies, we proceed with the issuance of a new guideline containing the necessary changes based on international agreements and of convenience for the Costa Rican State’.
  • The decision does not affect citizens from most European countries or the United States or Japan, who do not need a visa at all to enter Costa Rica. Also, holders of multiple-entry visas for the United States are not affected. They could still use a valid, multiple-entry US visa to enter Costa Rica.

3. Amina Nazarli, "ASAN Visa portal launched", Azer News, December 16th, 2016

  • ASAN Visa portal designed to simplify a procedure for issuing visas to foreigners and stateless persons wishing to visit Azerbaijan, as well as to ensure immediacy and transparency of this process, was presented to the public on December 16.
  • The portal, which is currently operating in test mode, will be fully put into operation starting January 10, 2017, said Inam Karimov, Chairman of Azerbaijan’s State Agency for Public Services and Social Innovations under the President.
  • Karimov added that the visa of a person, who used the portal to get a single-entry e-visa valid for 30 days’ stay, will be sent to his/her email address within three days after the payment made. The visa fee is $20. Electronic visa applications are available for one person, for a family (not less than two and not more than ten persons) and for a group of 10-300 people.

4. "Sino-Serbian relations at historic high - foreign ministers", B92, December 16th, 2016

  • The level of Sino-Serbian relations is at a historic high, foreign ministers Wang Yi and Ivica Dacic said in Beijing on Thursday.
  • The two parties noted the significance of an agreement on a visa-free regime for holders of standard passports, expected to take effect at the beginning of next year. The visa-free regime is expected to help strengthen overall cooperation, the statement said.
  • The Belt and Road concept is a great development potential for Serbia, in particular in terms of infrastructure and boosting investment and overall trade, Ivica Dacic said in Beijing Thursday.
Hong Kong

5. Christy Leung, "Tighter Hong Kong visa rules may affect more foreign visitors than only Indians", South China Morning Post, December 19th, 2016

  • More nationals from countries whose asylum seekers flee to Hong Kong may need to register online before visiting, a senior immigration officer revealed to the Post, as the authority reviewed a similar requirement it would soon impose on Indian visitors.
  • The online registration platform opened from Monday as Indian passport holders who planned to visit the city from January 23 next year must obtain prior approval from the department.
  • Ma, in charge of visas and policies, said the measure would be reviewed soon after its launch and considered a pilot scheme.

6. "The Latest: Japan relaxes visa requirements for Russians", Business Insider, December 16th, 2016


  • Japan has announced a relaxation of visa requirements for Russians visitors as President Vladimir Putin holds summit talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.
  • The Japanese Foreign Ministry said Friday that a multiple-entry visa will be introduced for short-term stays, including tourism, in addition to the existing single-entry visa.
  • Japan will also expand eligibility for multiple entry visas for business purposes and cultural and intellectual figures and extend the validity period for those visas from up to 3 years to 5 years.
South Korea

7. Guo Jing, "Chinese tourists spending over 2530 USD in S Korea can get 5-year visa", CRI English, December 17th, 2016


  • The South Korean government will offer a 5-year multi-entry visa for Chinese tourists who spend more than three million South Korean won, or 2,530 USD, in the country.
  • The new policy aims to attract high-income tourists from China, according to a senior official in the South Korean government.
  • By last year, more than 100 million Chinese tourists had traveled to South Korea, and the figure is expected to double by 2020.

8. "Taiwan to ease visa regulations for HK, Macau residents", Macau Daily Times, December 16th, 2016


  • The National Immigration Agency (NIA) has announced, it would ease visa regulations for Hong Kong and Macau residents starting from next year.
  • Residents of the two SAR arriving in Taiwan on cruise ships would be able to apply for double visas, granting two entries in one online application.
  • Visitors might arrive in Taiwan by boat or plane and then take a cruise to a third destination before returning to Taiwan and then traveling elsewhere, said Yang.

9. Nhan Dan, "Impressive breakthrough of Vietnamese tourism", Vietnam Net, December 16th, 2016


  • In 2016, despite facing numerous difficulties and challenges, particularly in relation to the serious marine environmental pollution incident which affected four central provinces and in addition to the surge of the number of foreign tourist guides, Vietnamese tourism still managed to gain spectacular growth.
  • The result was in part due to the drastic measures made by authorities at all levels in order to promote the development of tourism, towards becoming a key economic sector of the country.
  • According to statistics of the General Department of Tourism, in November, the number of international visitors to Vietnam reached 926,642, a year-on-year increase of 24.9%. The country welcomed more than nine million foreign arrivals in the first eleven months of this year, up 25.4% against the same period last year; as well as served 57.5 million domestic tourists. The total turnover of the tourism sector in this period was estimated at VND368.6 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 18.6%. These are the highest figures that the Vietnamese tourism industry has gained thus far.
  • The policy is expected to contribute to removing difficulties related to expenditure for tourism activities in Vietnam. The PM also urged the Ministry of Public Security to implement the e-visa application and grant visas at border gates. The National Assembly has officially adopted a resolution on piloting the issuance of e-visas to foreigners starting on February 1, 2017, which has been considered a breakthrough in improving the competitiveness of the Vietnamese tourism industry in the future.

10. "Cyprus and Jordan sign visa abolition agreement and cooperation programme on education and culture", Ammon News, December 17th, 2016


  • Cyprus and Jordan signed on Friday an Agreement on the Abolition of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic and Service Passports, and a Programme for Cooperation in the fields of Education and Culture for the years 2017-2020.
  • The two Ministers had a tête-à-tête meeting, followed by official talks of the delegations of the two countries. During the meeting, Kasoulides had the opportunity to brief his Jordanian counterpart on the developments in the negotiation process for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. At the same time, the two ministers discussed bilateral relations, the way ahead for a trilateral cooperation of Cyprus, Greece and Jordan, as well as other international and regional issues of common interest.
European Union

11. "EU Parliament removes preliminary date for visa-free vote", Ukraine Today, December 16th, 2016


  • A certain date for the visa-free regime with Ukraine has been removed from the European Parliament official website, the UNIAN agency reports.
  • Previously, the institution had scheduled the voting day on January 15, then on February 15 and later on April 3, 2017.
  • For Georgia, a preliminary date for voting for introducing a visa-free scheduled on February 3 was not changed.


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