HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 04.11.2019

Nov 04,2019





  1.  “Malawi Gets Easier To Visit: E-Visas Launching 1 November”, Lonely Planet, October 28, 2019
  • The government of Malawi has just announced that acquiring visas to the country will get easier from 1 November this year. Instead of having to fill out paperwork and apply upon arrival or prior to travel at an embassy, visitors will soon be able to apply and receive confirmation of their visa online.
  • Visitors will need to register at, before starting their e-Visa application.






  1. Alexandra Rocha, “Brazil And Qatar Reach Visa Waiver Agreement”, Brazil-Arab News Agency, October 28, 2019
  • President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil spent this Monday (28) in Doha, Qatar, the second stop in his first tour of the Arab world, which began in the UAE and will end in Saudi Arabia. Documents signed during the visit include a mutual visa waiver agreement for business travelers, tourists and passengers in transit.
  • Qatar hasn’t required visas from Brazilians since August 2017. Now, the waiver has been reciprocated.


  1. Talita Fernandes & Ricardo Della Coletta, “Visa Exemption For Chinese And Indians Surprises Diplomats Who Fear For Security”, Folha De S.Paulo, October 29, 2019
  • President Jair Bolsonaro's announcement to exempt visas for Chinese and Indian tourists concerns some members of the Foreign Ministry.
  • Diplomats involved in the preparations for Bolsonaro's trip to Japan, China, and Arab countries reported to Folha that they were surprised by the move, which was not expected.
  • They were studying the relaxation of the visa requirement and not a complete exemption, they said.


United States


  1. Daniel Shoer Roth, “Time Is Running Out For Foreigners To Enter The Visa Lottery For Free U.S. Green Cards”, Miami Herald, October 31, 2019
  • Foreigners only have a few days left to try their luck to get a coveted green card without a sponsor. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, one of the most popular and easiest immigration programs, makes 55,000 immigrant visas available for Fiscal Year 2021.
  • The electronic enrollment period for the program, which is better known as the American Visa Lottery and is free, ends on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, at noon, but applicants are advised to not wait until the last minute to register.






  1. Iylia Adreena, “Good News Wanderlusters, India’s E-Visa Now Costs Only RM42 For Malaysians!”, Rojak Daily, October 30, 2019
  • Malaysians can now obtain their e-visas for as low as USD10 (RM42)! This e-visa is only valid for 30 days for travel journeys between April and June.
  • For journeys from July to March, the e-visa will cost USD25 (RM105), while the one-year and five-year e-visa will now only cost USD40 (RM167.34) and USD80 (RM334.68) respectively.




  1. Bai Yunyi, “Manila Resumes Use Of Visa Sticker, Stamp On Chinese Passports”, Global Times, November 1, 2019
  • The Philippines resumed placing a visa sticker and stamp on Chinese passports on Friday, giving up its seven-year practice of refusing to stamp China's passports printed with a nine-dash line in the South China Sea.
  • The travel visa to the Philippines have been changed to visa stickers. "After seven years, the Philippine government said they will resume placing stickers on and stamp Chinese passports, which shows bilateral relations have further improved," according to an article on The same report said the visa sticker will only be used in the new Chinese electronic passports with a chip. The old passports starting with G will not be accepted by the Philippine Embassy and Consulate in China.  




  1.  Greeley Pulitzer, “Visa Fee Waiver Extended”, The Thaiger, October 30, 2019
  • Thailand’s Cabinet has approved a 6 month extension of the Visa on Arrival fee waiver for visitors, designed to generate more tourism spending in Thailand.
  • A deputy government spokesperson said yesterday (October 28) that the Cabinet has in principle approved the draft fee waiver extension for six months beyond the initial expiry date to April 30 2020.
  • Under the campaign, the 2,000 baht Visa on Arrival fee is waived for eligible visitors. The campaign has been shown to increase tourist numbers in Thailand.




  1. Greeley Pulitzer, “Tourism Sector Urges Revision Of Visa Regulations”, Vietnam Plus, October 28, 2019
  • The 14th National Assembly will debate this week some draft laws, including the law amending and supplementing some articles of the law on entry, exit, transit and residence of foreigners in Vietnam, as part of the ongoing eighth session.
  • Hoang Nhan Chinh, head of the Secretariat of the Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board, said the law on entry, exit, transit and residence of foreigners in Vietnam should be more open. He cited as an example the stipulation that requires a gap of at least 30 days between two visa-free visits. Chinh further said that many international visitors, especially those from Western Europe, Northern Europe and Russia, want to stay in Vietnam longer than the maximum visa-free 15 days.
  • Experts in the tourism sector are concerned about the fact that the visa exemption policy for tourists from major markets like Russia, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) will end on December 31, 2019. They said the number of visitors from those markets would drop 30-50 percent if the policy is not extended. Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, deputy head of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, proposed expanding the list of countries and border gates eligible for e-visas.






  1.  “Italy To Make It Easier For Algerians To Get A Schengen Visa”, Schengen Visa Info, October 29, 2019
  • The Italian Embassy in Algeria is planning to make it easier for Algerians to apply for a Schengen visa and get one.The decision has been announced to the media by a communication officer of the Italian Embassy in Algiers while speaking on the sidelines of the embassy’s Monday activities.
  • According to this officer, the decision has been taken due to the excellent economic trade and relations between the two countries.




  1.  “New Rules For Schengen Visa Application For Netherlands as of February 2020 – Including Increased Visa Fees”, Schengen Visa Info, November 1, 2019
  • Travelers applying for a Schengen visa at one of the Schengen embassies or consulates abroad as of February 1, 2020, will be subject to the new Schengen visa application rules conform the new updated Schengen visa code.
  • The Netherlands becomes the second Schengen Area member country to have moved on to announce the appliance of the new visa application rules. “As of February 1, 2020, new rules are in force if you apply for a Schengen visa. This is a consequence of new regulations adopted by the European Union,” a notice posted on the website of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.




  1.  “Armenians Can Visit Serbia Visa-Free Starting From November 3”, Panarmenian.Net, October 29, 2019
  • Armenian citizens will be able to visit Serbia visa-free starting from November 3, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Naghdalyan told PanARMENIAN.Net on Tuesday, October 29.
  • Naghdalyan said the Armenian Foreign Ministry has received the Serbian side’s verbal confirmation of the decision to abolish visas, but has yet to get an official letter signaling Belgrade’s intention to open an Embassy in Yerevan.
  • Holders of ordinary Armenian passports can thus enter, transit and stay in the territory of Serbia for a maximum of 90 days within a period of 180 days, the government's decision says.








  1.  Rasana Gasimova, “Azerbaijan, UK Mull Visa Simplification, Tourism Cooperation”, Azernews, October 29, 2019
  • Azerbaijan and the UK have discussed simplification of visa regime and tourism cooperation between the two countries.
  • Head of the State Tourism Agency Fuad Nagiyev met with UK Trade Envoy to Azerbaijan Baroness Emma Nicholson as well as UK ambassador to Azerbaijan James Sharp on October 28 to discuss these issues. The simplification of the visa regime between Azerbaijan and Great Britain was the main issue at the meeting. The parties also discussed cooperation in tourism and Azerbaijan’s winter tourism potential. It was noted that Azerbaijan is one of the safest places for travel and entertainment.




  1.  “Visitors Advised To Obtain Entry Visas Online”, GDN Online, November 1, 2019
  • Foreigners planning to visit Oman have been urged to obtain their pre-entry visas online. The Royal Oman Police (ROP) said that e-visas facilitate measures and ensure easy and efficient processing at the border posts.
  • “Visa on arrival is now an exception to the rule and eVisas should be used wherever possible,” the ROP said in a statement.
  • Expatriates living in the GCC and relatives accompanying them can avail tourist visas without a sponsor for four weeks, and extendable for another week. The expatriate should come directly from one of the GCC countries if they wish to take advantage of this facility.


  1. Tehran, Muscat In Talks To Waive Visas For Visitors From Iran”, Tehran Times, November 1, 2019
  • Iran has officially lifted the visa requirement for Omani nationals and now the two countries are in talks to do the same for Iranian travelers.
  • “Talks with Oman are underway to implement visa-free program for Iranian tourists visiting the country,” Mehr quoted Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan as saying on Wednesday.
  • “Oman is to cooperate with Iran in this regard and if a no-visa policy is not possible, visa-receiving fees was asked to be reduced,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting. “In this regard, we have signed an agreement with Oman to boost tourism ties,” he added, referring to his visit to the country made upon the invitation of his Omani counterpart, the report said.




  1.  “Pakistan To Issue Tourist Visas To Non-Indian Sikhs For Kartarpur Visit”, News 18, October 28, 2019
  • The Pakistan government will issue tourist visas to non-Indian Sikhs visiting the Kartarpur corridor and other 'gurdwaras' in the country during the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
  • Under the Kartarpur Corridor agreement between India and Pakistan, pilgrims coming from India for one day would not require visa but they can only visit Gurudwara Baba Guru Nanak. However, those coming from other countries will need a visa and be free to visit other religious places.


Saudi Arabia


  1.  “Nearly 50,000 Tourist Visas To Saudi Arabia Were Issued In The First Month”, Step Feed, October 29, 2019
  • In a recent meeting with G20 tourism ministers in Japan, Ahmad Al-Khateeb, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, announced that more than 47,000 visas have been issued within the first month of the launch.
  • Saudi Arabia aims to grow tourism from 3 percent to 10 percent of Saudi Arabia's GDP, according to Al-Khateeb. The kingdom also seeks to increase visitors from 18 million a year to 100 million a year by 2030. In turn, the sector will bring about a total of 1.5 million job opportunities.


  1.  “77,069 Tourist Visas Issued In 33 Days; 28,190 Tourists Land In Kingdom”, Saudi Gazette, October 31, 2019
  • As many as 77,069 tourist visas have been issued during the past 33 days since the Kingdom opened its doors to tourists from all over the world. A total of 28,190 tourists have arrived in the Kingdom via its air and seaports and land entry points during the period between Sept. 27 and Oct. 30 after the government announced the launching of a tourist visa regime for 49 countries.
  • According to a report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chinese tourists were in the forefront of international tourists who obtained online visas to enter the Kingdom. A total of 17,988 Chinese tourists secured visas while British tourists come next to them with 17,777. Tourists from the United States of America came up third with 8,926 tourists and they were followed by Malaysia (7,158), Canada (5,413), France (3,097), Kazakhstan and Australia (1,685 each), Germany (1,674), and other nationalities 11,693.


United Arab Emirates


  1. Faizan Hashmi, “UAE, Saudi Arabia May Start Issuing Joint Tourist Visas - Economy Minister”, UrduPoint, October 31, 2019
  • The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are mulling plans to begin issuing joint visas for tourism purposes, UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Mansouri said.
  • "The UAE and Saudi Arabia are coordinating efforts at the moment to benefit from the opportunities brought about by measures that Saudi Arabia adopted to facilitate the entry of tourists to the kingdom.
  • Among the initiatives under consideration is a joint tourist visa for both countries that is expected to stimulate the tourism sector, airports, and hospitality sector," Mansouri said, as quoted by Al Eqtisadiah newspaper. According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, such visas might be introduced throughout 2020.






  1. Katie Burgess, “$80 Million Spent So Far On New Visa System: Home Affairs”, The Canberra Times, November 1, 2019
  • Home Affairs' deputy secretary Malisa Golightly told a Senate inquiry on Friday more than $80 million had been spent so far on the design and procurement for the new visa processing system.
  • She said it would assist the department to process visa applications more efficiently and provide a "seamless digital experience".


New Zealand


  1. Greg Ninness, “Almost 35,000 Residence Visas And 246,705 Work Visas Approved In Year To September”,, October 29, 2019
  • The number of residence visas being approved hit a 10 year low in the 12 months to September while the number of work visas hit a 10 year high.
  • Figures compiled by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (Immigration NZ is part of MBIE) show that 34,992 residence visas were approved in the 12 months ended September this year, the lowest number for that period since MBIE began compiling the figures in 2009.
  • The largest number of residence approvals by nationality were people from India at 4776, followed closely by China 4767, South Africa 3957,the UK 3378, Philippines 3039, Samoa 2145, the USA 1263 and Fiji 1083 (all 12 months to September).



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