HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 06.06.2018

Jun 06,2018





  1. Ethiopia Begins Issuing Online Visas for All Tourists Starting June 1”, Africa News, June 1, 2018
  • With effect June 1, Ethiopia will begin issuing online visas to tourists from around the world and other categories of visitors coming into the country. The news was released by Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, Fitsum Arega. According to him, the move coupled with a relaxed visa regime will enhance the country’s openness and also entrench the leading reputation of its national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines.
  • Ethiopia boasts the continent’s best national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, which has made the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, not just a regional but global aviation hub.




Costa Rica


  1. Lavrov Signs Agreement to Scrap Visas With Costa Rica”, TASS, May 28, 2018
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov signed on Monday an intergovernmental agreement scrapping visas with Costa Rica, the Foreign Ministry said, adding that the document creates new possibilities for the development of contacts with Central American states.
  • In the presence of Costa Rica’s Ambassador in Moscow Arturo Fournier Facio, Lavrov signed a visa waiver agreement between the two countries’ governments. The same ceremony took place in San Jose on May 3 with the participation of the former Foreign Minister of Costa Rico, Manuel Gonzalez, the ministry said.


St. Kitts & Nevis


  1. PM: With More Than 1,200 Applications, Hurricane Relief Fund a Success”, St. Kitts & Nevis Observer, May 31, 2018
  • More than 1,200 applications were received under the innovative Hurricane Relief Fund – the temporary investment option introduced in 2017 under St. Kitts and Nevis’ Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme. That information was revealed by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris, who was reporting on the success of the sixmonth fund and the overall strength of the country’s CBI programme during his monthly press conference May 30.
  • Prime Minister Harris stated that in the next six months the applications “will be processed and a determination made as to how many were successful. Success occurs where an application succeeds at the vigorous multitiered due diligence process and the applicants or agents successfully wire payments to satisfy their obligations.” Harris noted that once these statistics are completed and are available, the government will provide that data to the public.


United States


  1. US to Shorten Length of Some Visas Issued to Chinese Citizens Amid Trade Row”, South China Morning Post, May 30, 2018
  • The changes begin on June 11. The State Department said that under the new policy, US consular officers may limit how long visas are valid, rather than the usual practice of issuing them for the maximum possible length.
  • The State Department did not provide specifics, but a US official said that according to instructions sent to US embassies and consulates, Chinese graduate students will be limited to oneyear visas if they are studying in fields like robotics, aviation and high-tech manufacturing. China identified those areas as priorities in its “Made in China” 2025 manufacturing plan.
  • The instructions also say that Chinese citizens seeking visas will need special clearance from multiple US agencies if they work as researchers or managers for companies on a US Commerce Department list of entities requiring higher scrutiny. Those clearances are expected to take months for each visa application, the official said. The official was not authorised to comment publicly and requested anonymity.
  • The application process itself will not change, the State Department said.





  1. Arka Roy Chowdhury, “India to Allow 30-Day Free Visa for Indonesians”, The Times of India, May 31, 2018
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit to Indonesia has turned fruitful for Indonesian citizens, mostly for the Indian expatriate living there. The PM strengthened ties between the two countries by announcing 30day free Indian visa for Indonesian citizens. Modi welcomed Indians living in Indonesia to visit the country and witness the New India.
  • Modi addressed the gathering, and said, “We will grant freeof-cost visa for Indonesian citizens for travel of up to 30 days. Many of you may never have been to India. I invite you all to come to India for the Kumbh Mela in Prayag next year.”


  1. New Passport Rules in India 2018”, The Times of India, May 31, 2018
  • As per the latest update, MEA is thinking about eliminating printing the last page of the passport that has the residential information of the person. These details will not be there in the passport but will remain in the government database.
  • As of now, passports in India are issued in three colours […].Instead of the blue, the ECR type will soon have passports issued in orange colour so that it makes it easy during immigration checks.
  • As per the new norms, parent's name will also not be printed on the last page of the passport. The ministry has been studying submissions that in case of “names of estranged mother/father” and “kids of single parents” need not be printed on the passport.
  • The CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project) will be associated with Ministry of External Affairs and will replace the traditional physical police verification to online verification. This measure is taken to reduce the processing time for the passports.




  1. Immigration Plans to Issue 10-Year Passports This Year”, The Jakarta Post, May 31, 2018
  • As a result of increased public demand, the Law and Human Rights Ministry's Immigration Directorate General is planning to extend the validity of Indonesian passports from five to 10 years. The Immigration Director General Ronny F. Sompie said it would implement the new policy starting this year.
  • Ronny said the 10year passport validity offered a solution when the high demand for passports from the public no longer matched the capability of the Immigration Directorate General.




  1. First Group of Visa-Free Japanese Guests Heads to Disputed Russian Iturup Island”, TASS, June 1, 2018
  • On Friday, this year’s first group of 60 Japanese nationals travelled visafree to Russia’s Iturup Island (part of the Southern Kuril Islands challenged by Japan), the Kyodo news agency reports.
  •  According to the head of the delegation, Shigemasa Noguchi, such events help strengthen friendly relations between the Japanese people and the residents of the southern Kuril Islands. This group will stay on Iturup until June 4 and then will return back to Nemuro port on Hokkaido Island.
  • In midMay, another group of about 60 Japanese nationals visited Kunashir Island for the first time this year. All in all, nine delegations from Japan will visit the Southern Kuril Islands before the end of October.




  1. Taiwan Grants Visa-Free Entry to Nauru, Tuvalu Nationals”, The Fiji Times, May 29, 2018
  • Taiwan on Monday announced visafree entry for nationals of Nauru and Tuvalu, two of its two diplomatic allies in the Pacific, as part of its efforts to grant visa-free privileges to its allies to promote closer exchanges.
  • Starting 01 June, Nauru nationals will enjoy reciprocal visafree entry for visits of up to 30 days, while Tuvalu citizens will get reciprocal visa-free stays of up to 90 days, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) statement.
  • Taiwan is also working with its four other diplomatic allies in the region — Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, and Solomon Islands — on procedures for arranging similar reciprocal visawaiver treatment, and things are proceeding well, the ministry said. Taiwan will grant these countries visa-free entry once all related administrative procedures are completed, it noted.


United Arab Emirates


  1. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, “Canada Intends to Lift Visa Requirement on the United Arab Emirates”, Government of Canada, May 28, 2018
  • Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, announced today during a meeting with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, that the Government is lifting the visa requirement for UAE citizens on June 5, 2018.
  • Emirati citizens will no longer need a visa as of 5:30 a.m. ET (1:30 p.m. Gulf Standard Time) on June 5, 2018, to travel to Canada for short stays (normally for up to six months) for business, to visit family and friends or for tourism.
  • However, Emirati citizens, similar to other visaexempt travellers, will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to, or transit through a Canadian airport. […]Emiratis will be able to apply online for an eTA after 5:30 a.m. ET (1:30 p.m. Gulf Standard Time) on June 5.


  1. Guyana Grants Visa-Free Travel to UAE Nationals”, The Santiago Times, May 28, 2018
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) said Monday its citizens will be allowed to travel visafree to Guyana, the state news agency WAM reported.
  • The announcement was made by the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation, saying that citizens with diplomatic, private and regular passports can obtain a visa to Guyana upon arrival at the airports.


  1. UAE Passport Jumps to 14th Place After Visa-Free Entry to This North American Country”, Khaleej Times, June 1, 2018
  • The UAE passport is currently ranked first in the Arab and Middle East and the 14th in the world, according to indicators from the Passport Index. This follows the announcement made earlier regarding UAE citizens exemption allowing them to visit Canada without an entry visa starting from June 5, 2018. The announcement was made during a meeting between Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, in Ottawa.
  • Emirati citizens will no longer need a visa as of 5:30am ET (1:30pm Gulf Standard Time) on June 5, 2018, to travel to Canada for short stays (normally for up to six months) for business, to visit family and friends or for tourism. However, Emirati citizens, similar to other visaexempt travellers, will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to, or transit through a Canadian airport. The eTA allows Canadian officials to screen travellers for admissibility before they board their flight to Canada. Emiratis will be able to apply online for an eTA after 5:30am ET (1:30pm Gulf Standard Time) on June 5.


  1. Gareth Browne, “Emiratis Get Visa-Free Travel to Brazil”, The National, June 2, 2018
  • Emiratis are to be allowed to enjoy visafree travel to Brazil, after the two countries signed a visa exemption agreement. The changes, effective from June 2, will allow UAE nationals to visit the South American country for up to days without prior visa arrangement. It will also allow Brazilians to visit the UAE on the same circumstances.
  • "Holders of all types of UAE passports may travel, effective June 2nd, 2018, to Brazil without prior visa arrangements and stay for a maximum of 90 days each year," Ambassador Ahmed Elham Al Dhaheri, Assistant Undersecretary for Consular Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.






  1. Mladen Lakic, “Bosnia Hopes Visa-Free Deal Attracts Chinese Tourists”, Balkan Insight, May 30, 2018
  • China and Bosnia’s agreement to waive visas for ordinary passport holders became effective on Tuesday and could enable Bosnia to profit more from Chinese tourism, officials believe.
  • With the agreement, Bosnia becomes the second European country to waive visa requirements for Chinese citizens; Serbia was the first last year, Chinese stateowned TV station CCTV reported. According to the agreement, holders of valid ordinary passports of both countries will be exempted from entry or transit visas for a period of stay up to 90 days in any 180 days.




  1. Rebecca Finnegan, “Cyprus Developments Offer a Passport to the Sun”, Financial Times, May 31, 2018
  • According to Alexandros Moulas, director of Savills’ international development consultancy team, the Cypriot government “has both attracted foreign investment and also allowed domestic developers to seize a completely new set of opportunities”.
  • On the waterfront, cranes rise over the construction of ONE, a 37storey tower by developers Pafilia. The three-storey penthouse is not due to complete until next year but has already sold for €19m, according to the developers. When it’s finished, the owners can legitimately say they have the highest home in the tallest building in Cyprus, at least until the Trilogy towers are built down the street.
  • A major draw has been Cyprus’s golden visa scheme, introduced after the financial crisis of 201213: permanent residency is offered for anyone ready to invest €300,000 in property; for €2m, buyers can obtain full Cypriot citizenship.
  • The citizenship schemes are undoubtedly popular, bringing €4bn into the economy up to last year, according to government data. In March, some 51 per cent of all property sales in Cyprus were bought by nonCypriots.




  1. Georgian Parliament to Discuss Amendments to Law on Citizenship”,, May 28, 2018
  • A draft Law on Citizenship prepared by the parliamentary committee of legal issues envisages several changes to the existing procedures of issuing Georgian citizenship.
  • Those who would like to receive the citizenship of Georgia may need to reside longer in the country, perhaps up to ten years for the regular procedure. Earlier, the term was five.
  • Moreover, if a person wants to receive dual citizenship as an exception, which so far has been at the discretion of the president, he or she will not be obliged to appeal to the President of Georgia anymore. Instead the application for dual citizenship through the exceptional rule will be presented to the Public Service Development Agency, related embassy or consulate.




  1. Colin Gleeson & Sorcha Pollak, “Brexit Aids Surge in Irish Passport Applications”, The Irish Times, May 29, 2018
  • The UK’s exit from the European Union next year has “undoubtedly” contributed to a 25 per cent spike in applications for Irish passports, the Department of Foreign Affairs has said. The number of applications in the first four months of this year has increased by 25 per cent when compared with the figures for the same period in 2016.
  • “The increase in the volume of applications is undoubtedly in part influenced by Brexitrelated demand, with around 10 per cent of all applications this year from applicants living in Great Britain,” the department said in response to queries.
  • As of the end of April, more than 276,000 passports had been issued since the turn of the year. In the same period, 39,000 passport applications were received from applicants residing in Northern Ireland, and more than 41,000 were received from applicants residing in Britain.




  1. Hugo Gutiérrez, “Spain Blames Computer Glitch for Huge Citizenship Application Backlog”, El País, May 30, 2018
  • In 2012, the government launched the Intensive Nationality Plan, which can now only be accessed online in order to speed up citizenship application processing times. Yet in 2017 there were 78% fewer processed requests than in 2016, while applications only declined 19% over the same period.
  • Sources at the Justice Ministry are blaming a computer glitch for the dramatic decline in processed applications. “The reduction is due to a migration of the computer application, which has taken longer than expected and pushed everything back,” said a ministry source.
  • “We need to rethink the current model because there is a very big backlog,” says a spokesperson at the Ombudsman’s Office, whose 2017 situation report reads: “This backlog not only affects applicants but also their families, whose members could lose their legal status despite long residence periods in Spain.”




  1. Russia, Belarus Sign Visa Recognition Agreement for 2018 FIFA World Cup”, TASS, May 29, 2018
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Belarusian counterpart Vladimir Makei have signed an agreement on mutual visa recognition for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and the 2019 European Games in Belarus, a TASS correspondent reported.
  • Foreign football fans were earlier granted the right to enter Russia without visas provided they have tickets for the World Cup matches and FAN IDs. The new agreement implies that they will have the opportunity to travel to Russia via Belarus.
  • The Belarusian foreign minister announced that foreign nationals holding FAN IDs would be allowed to travel to Russia via Belarus from June 4 to July 25. He added that "Russia, in turn, will grant visafree entry to foreign nationals travelling to Minsk to attend the Second European Games."


  1. Crimean Authorities Propose Visa-Free Entry for Patients of Russian Clinics”, RT, May 29, 2018
  • Crimean officials propose granting visafree entry to foreigners seeking treatment in Russian medical institutions, including famous Crimean resorts, suggesting that the measure would help to “break the sanctions regime.”
  • Strelbitsky told forum participants that Crimean government considered it reasonable to grant 30day visa free stay for people who arrive in Russia for medical treatment in local clinics and resorts. Foreigners who want to spend more time in Russian medical institutions could get a special 6-month visa through a sped up and simplified procedure.
  • “Six months will be enough for any medical procedure, including rehabilitation. Such visa options exist in Japan and in many other developed countries and it is time to introduce them in our country,” the official said in comments with Kommersant daily.




  1. Rashid Shirinov, “Azerbaijan, Serbia Abolishing Visa Regime”, Azer News, May 31, 2018
  • The visa regime between Azerbaijan and Serbia will be abolished from June 2, 2018, the Serbian Foreign Ministry informed on May 30. The decision was made at a meeting of the Serbian government on May 24.
  • Under the decision, the visafree regime will be valid for Azerbaijani citizens holding ordinary passports who will be in Serbia for up to 90 days.




  1. Turkish, EU Officials Discuss Visa-Free Travel Regime”, Daily Sabah, June 1, 2018
  • Turkish and European Union officials discussed a visa waiver for Turkish nationals in a meeting in Ankara on Thursday and Friday where they decided to continue technical talks, a diplomatic source said on Friday.
  • The EU has said that Turkey has so far completed 69 of the listed criteria, but needs to change its terrorism laws. Changes to Turkey's antiterror law remain the most contentious criteria for visa liberalization. The EU demands that Turkey, which is fighting against multiple terrorist organizations, soften its definition of terrorism.
  • Meanwhile, an EU official previously told Daily Sabah, "There are seven outstanding topics left, and some of them are easier to resolve such as the introduction of biometric passports. However, there are two difficult ones that require a change in legislation since it deals with the antiterror law and data protection."





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