- “Global Schengen Visa Application Centre Launched In Rwanda”, Taarifa, January 14, 2019
- On January 15, 2019, VFS Global launches a Schengen Visa Application Centre in Rwanda.
- The new centre offers visa-processing services to people looking to travel from Rwanda to Belgium and 19 other Schengen destinations.
- Owain Johnston-Barnes, “Cabinet to consider immigration reform plan”, The Royal Gazette, January 17, 2019
- Bermuda’s the Minister of National Security Wayne Caines announced that Bermuda is considering to reform its immigration laws.
- The reform is based on the latest report submitted by the bipartisan Immigration Reform Group.
- Key elements of the reform may be debated and passed in the House of Assembly by the end of July 2019.
- “Brazil plans to drop visas for Americans to boost tourism – minister”, Channel NewsAsia, January 17, 2019
- On January 16, 2019, Brazil’s tourism minister Marcelo Alvaro Antonio announced that the country plans to eliminate visitor visas for Americans.
- Brazil is also planning to eliminate the need for Canadians, Japanese and Australians to apply for visit visas in the future.
- “Canada planning to welcome more than 1 million new immigrants by end of 2021”, Daily Hive, January 14, 2019
- Canada’s federal government recently released a multi-year immigration plan to boost foreign immigration into Canada.
- The plan aims to welcome over 1 million new permanent residents into the country by 2021.
- The Canadian government believed that the new plan may foster the growth of Canada’s economy.
- Chris Morris, “Trump Vows Changes to H1-B Visa Program For Skilled Immigrants”, Fortune, January 11, 2019
- President Donald Trump recently stated on Twitter that there would soon be changes to United States’ H1-B visa program.
- The changes shall simplify the H1-B visa program and provided skilled workers with more certainty to their stays in the United States, including their potential paths to citizenship.
- “New WeChat app to help China's travellers apply for visas”, China.org.cn, 16 January 2019
- The Global Joint Visa Application Centre and Tencent’s WeChat will soon release a mobile application named “Weifeng Visa” to allow travellers from China apply for visas online,
- Visa applicants may submit their visa applications with the Weifeng Visa app and pay the associated visa fees using their WeChat digital wallets.
- An Hong, “Hong Kong exempts visa for Vietnamese diplomatic passport holders”, VNExpress January 17, 2019
- Starting January 17, 2019, people with diplomatic and official Vietnamese passports may visit Hong Kong for fourteen (14) days without a visa.
- The decision aims to facilitate diplomatic exchanges between Vietnam and Hong Kong.
- “Cabinet Go-Ahead For Facilitation Of Visa Arrangements With Maldives”, NDTV, January 16, 2019
- On January 16, 2019, the Union Cabinet in India approved a Visa Facilitation Agreement that grants Maldivians and India nationals travelling between the two countries a 90-day visa-free period for tourism, medical and limited business purposes.
- The agreement was signed in December 2018 with the goal of facilitating the exchange of people between the Maldives and India.
- “Visit to Kartapur Gurudwara in Pakistan will be visa-free: PM Narendra Modi”, Zee News, January 13, 2019
- On January 13, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented that pilgrims would soon be able to acquire visa-free entry at Darbar Sahib in Narowal, Pakistan.
- The new change permits Indians and Sikhs to go to Narowal, Pakistan without visas.
- “Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas”, Arab News, January 15, 2019
- On January 15, 2019, Saudi Arabia’s minister of media Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah announced that Saudi Arabia reached an agreement with the Republic of Korea on the grant of visit visas.
- While the details of the agreement have not yet been disclosed, Al-Shabanah commented that the agreement was reached after reviewing proposals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a decision from the Shoura Council.
- “Exemption of visa on arrival fees to boost Chinese New Year”, The Thaiger, January 17, 2019
- The National News Bureau of Thailand recently announced that people looking to visit Thailand between now and the end of April this year may have their visa-on-arrival fees waived if they come from one of the following countries: Andora, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Taiwan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
- The waiver may help boost tourism in Thailand during Chinese New Year in February and Songkran in April.
United Arab Emirates
- “UAE grants first batch of new long-term visas”, Arabian Business, January 16, 2019
- The UAE government recently announced that long-term visas are granted to the winners and finalists of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Distinction.
- The announcement was made following the second annual meeting of the Mohammed bin Rashid Academy of Scientists (MBRAS).
- This decision is in line with the UAE Cabinet’s goal to enhance UAE’s status as a talent and innovation hub.
- “Plans to unite visa-free zones of Grodno Oblast, Brest Oblast”, BelTA, January15, 2019
- The Sports and Tourism Ministry of Belarus is planning to unite visa-free tourist and recreation zones of Grodno Oblast and Brest Oblast in Belarus.
- To boost tourism, additional attraction sites would be incorporated into the newly united visa-free zone.
- “European Parliament backs proposals to help those who lose their passports when travelling outside the EU”, Irish Examiner, January 19, 2019
- The European Parliament has backed new proposals that will help Irish people who lose their passports when travelling outside the EU.
- MEPs this week voted on rules to improve emergency help for those who have lost their passports and who may find themselves in a place that doesn't have any embassy from their own country. They'll now be able to get temporary travel documents at another member state consulate.
- “Portuguese parliament widens residency scheme with 'green visas'”, The Economic Times, January 11, 2019
- On January 11, 2019, the Portugal parliament extended a residency programme for high net-worth investors who make a minimum of EUR $500,000 investments on organic agriculture, ecotourism, renewable energy projects and other environmental projects that contribute to cut carbon emissions.
- These “green visas” are expected to promote foreign investments of an ecological nature in Portugal
- Alice Cuddy, “Portugal airports to introduce separate passport lanes for Britons after Brexit”, Euro News, January 18, 2019
- Portugal has announced plans to open separate customs lanes for British tourists at its airports after the UK leaves the European Union, as it seeks to prevent a post-Brexit slump in its tourism industry.
- Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the new lanes would be opened at Faro airport in the Algarve and Funchal airport on the island of Madeira — both popular destinations for British holidaymakers. The lanes for UK nationals will be similar to those provided to tourists from the EU, he said.
- “Portugal promises no visas for Britons in any no-deal Brexit”, Channel NewAsia, January 18, 2019
- Portugal’s Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira Britons announced that Britons living in Portugal could maintain their residency rights and their abilities to visit Portugal under visa-free conditions even without a Brexit deal.
- The minister further affirmed that, even in the event that a Brexit deal cannot be reached, British citizens living in Portugal would retain their rights to access the Portuguese healthcare system.
- “No obstructions exist to cancelling visas in Russia-Japan relations, says Lavrov”, TASS Russia News Agency, January 14, 2019
- Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, announced that Russia and Japan may potentially cancel the need for visa applications for residents travelling between the two countries
- Lavrov announced the potential visa-free relationship with Japan after the first round of Russian-Japanese negotiations on a peace treaty.
- “Russia Hopes Group Visa Waiver With Iran To Come Into Force Soon - Russian Deputy Minister”, Urdu Point, January 14, 2019
- Russia is in negotiations with Iran to introduce 15-day visa waivers for tourist groups
- Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Yevgeny Ivanov commented on Monday that they are in the final stage of the negotiation with Iran.
- “Ukraine border guards ready for possible introduction of biometric visas with Russia”, UNIAN Information Agency, January 14, 2019
- Oleh Slobodyan, the spokesperson for the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine recently announced that they are ready for the possible introduction of a biometric visa regime for Russian citizens.
- Slobodyan mentioned that the border guards have already been collecting fingerprints from foreign nationals that are on the migration risk list since the beginning of 2018.
- “Fijians seek EU help on visas”, Radio New Zealand, 15 January 2019
- The Fiji government urged the European Union open up a visa office in Fiji.
- Currently, the Fijians looking to visit Europe have to travel to Wellington or Vanuatu to apply for a visa.
- A European Union visa office in Fiji may make it easier for Fijians to travel to Europe.
- Jason Walls, “The Govt will soon decide if it will reopen the parent visa, which has been closed since 2016”, New Zealand Herald, January 17, 2019
- The New Zealand government is considering to reopen the parent visa category after its temporary closure in late 2016.
- The visa category, if reopens, would permit adult New Zealand residents or citizens to reunite with their parents.