HLG - Weekly Newsletter – 17.12.2018

Dec 17,2018





  1. Wanga Gwede, “Dual citizenship adopted in Malawi: Parliament nods to amendment of Act”, Nyasa Times, December 12, 2018
  • The House approved changes to the Citizenship Act that will allow Malawians to hold dual citizenship, a move that brings Malawi in line with much of the world.
  • Before the amendment, the Malawi Constitution did not allow Malawian citizens and foreign nations of Malawian descent above the age of 18 to hold dual citizenship, as read in the Malawi Citizenship and Immigration Act of 1966.




  1. Ninsiima Julian, “Uganda asks Israel for restrictions-free visas”, PML Daily, December 14, 2018
  • After works and transport ministry announced that direct flights between Tel Aviv and Entebbe are expected to commence early next year, deputy speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has called on the Embassy of Israel based in Kenya, to ease visa restrictions for Ugandans.
  • Deputy Speaker Oulanyah wants the Middle East controversial country to ease restrictions for Ugandans seeking to travel for study and tourism purposes saying that many Ugandans are eager to go to Israel and thus making it easy for them to access the Holy Land would additionally promote Israel’s tourism potential.
  • “Our visa conditions sometimes are difficult because one has to keep getting a visa before they go to Israel,” he said adding that “we need a move from the embassy in Kenya for a reciprocal arrangement for Ugandans to make it to Israel.”







  1. Saurabh Sinha, “Now, Myanmar to offer visa on arrival to Indians”, The Times of India, December 14, 2018
  • In a bid to woo Indian travellers, Myanmar has decided to grant them visaon-arrival (VoA). Indian passport holders will get VoA at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw International Airports for a fee of $50. This relaxation will allow Indians to go there without applying for Myanmar visa at embassies in India or applying for the country’s e-visa beforehand.
  • In the past few months, several countries – especially in the Gulf – have gone all out to woo Indian tourists. United Arab Emirates (UAE) now grants VoA arrival to Indian Nationals with a US Visa. Oman also do the same to Indians who reside in or hold an entry visa to US, Canada, Australia, UK, Japan and Schengen States. Qatar allows Indians and nationals of 46 other countries to stay for up to 60 days there without a prior visa.




  1. E-Passports for Vietnamese citizens expected by 2020”, December 16, 2018
  • The new system is detailed in the draft law on the entry and exit of Vietnamese citizens that the public security ministry completed earlier this week. The ministry is seeking public feedback. Article 7 of the draft law says new biometric passports (or epassports) – including official, diplomatic and ordinary passports – will be embedded with a microchip that stores the holder’s personal information, fingerprint scans, ID photo and a digital signature from the issuing agency.
  • Applicants will just need to fill out forms to get a new epassport, either online or at the police’s municipal and provincial immigration offices.
  • The draft law also seeks to replace the current travel document (giay thong hanh) with temporary passports, which would expire after one year and serve the same purpose as ordinary passports. They would be used when a Vietnamese citizen wants to travel to a foreign country while their passport is lost or expired, or else leaves a foreign country (either voluntarily or forcibly) when the host country does not allow residency.




European Union


  1. EU Court of Justice Rules Against Passport Checks for Bus Passengers to Germany”, Sputnik News, December 13, 2018
  • The EU Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on 13 December against German requirements stating that crossborder services must check the passports and residence permits of all passengers travelling on coach buses before they enter or leave Germany.
  • “Since the checks at issue are carried out when the travellers board the coach at the start of the crossborder journey, they constitute checks within the territory of a Member State, which are prohibited where they have an effect equivalent to border checks. According to the Court, the checks at issue have such an effect and are therefore prohibited," the ECJ said in a statement.
  • The ECJ pointed out that Germany must not impose restrictions on the travel agencies. "Since the obligation to carry out checks as such is contrary to the Schengen Borders Code, that code also precludes sanctions for infringement of that obligation through the issuing of orders prohibiting transport, together with a threat to impose a recurring fine," the ECJ noted.




  1. Raphael Ahren, “Vienna says still wants to give citizenship to descendants of Holocaust victims”, The Times of Israel, December 14, 2018
  • The government in Vienna remains fully committed to advancing legislation granting citizenship to the descendants of Austrian Holocaust victims, Austrian officials insisted Thursday, rebuffing a report claiming that parts of the ruling coalition were stalling on the promised reform.
  • “Amending the Austrian Citizenship Law in order to extend the Austrian citizenship to Shoah victims’ descendants enjoys wide support by all political parties represented in the Austrian Parliament,” Martin Weiss, the country’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, told The Times of Israel.
  • Besides the descendants of Holocaust victims, the planned citizenship law reform would also include granting Austrian passports to German speakers in South Tyrol and UK citizens with Austrian roots.




  1. Plans to expand Belarusian visa-free travel program onto regional airports, Russia”, Belarusian Telegraph Agency, December 11, 2018
  • Foreigners may be allowed to enter Belarus without visas via airports in Brest and Grodno as well as airports in Russia. The relevant amendments may be introduced to the Belarus president decree on visafree travel procedures for foreign citizens, BelTA learned from Alexander Ganevich, Deputy Head of the Central Consular Office, Head of the Analysis, Visa and Tariff Policy Planning Office of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs […].
  • The official said: “We intend to enable visafree arrivals in the airports in Brest and Grodno just like in the Minsk National Airport. We are going to discuss this matter when next amendments to the presidential decree are introduced.” In his words, the regional administrations are interested in it. The possibility will be evaluated this year or the next one.




  1. Steps taken on making Croatian citizenship easier for Croats abroad to acquire”, Croatia Week, December 13, 2018
  • Acquiring Croatian citizenship should be easier for Croats abroad and Croatian emigrants, the government proposes in amendments to the Citizenship Act which it sent to parliament on Thursday.
  • The amendments raise the age limit for registering in the register of Croatian citizens to 21 for persons born abroad whose parent was a Croatian citizen when they were born. The amendments leave out the generational restriction for acquiring Croatian citizen for descendants of emigrants and they and their spouses will no longer have the obligation to know the Croatian language, the Latin script and Croatia’s culture and social order.
  • A spouse whose naturalisation would represent an interest for the state must have legally lived in Croatia for one year. Minors, one of whose parents acquired Croatian citizenship as an emigrant or a descendant of emigrants, can also be naturalised. A person who renounced Croatian citizenship as an adult can no longer be granted citizenship. Citizenship can be lost if it was acquired based on marriage for gain or false presentation or fraud.




  1. Elias Hazou, “Almost 2,500 applications filed for ‘golden visas’”, Cyprus Mail, December 11, 2018
  • From May 2013 until August of this year, 2,390 applications were filed by law firms and accounting firms on behalf of foreign nationals seeking Cypriot naturalisation via the citizenshipby-investment scheme, official documents show.
  • The list features only the applications filed, not the citizenships granted. In the letter providing the data, Interior Minister Constandinos Petrides promises to provide “additional information” to parliament in the near future. The interior ministry has, however, released generic information on the number of citizenships granted to foreign nationals via the scheme. It shows that from 2014 to 2017, a total of 2,996 citizenships were granted to foreign investors and family members.
  • According to the ministry, the applicants hail mainly from Asia, eastern Europe, European countries and Arab countries.




  1. Cormac McQuinn, “'300,000 new Irish passport requests from UK if no deal'”, The Independent, December 17, 2018
  • A massive 40pc hike in passport applications is expected next year under the Government's contingency plans for a nodeal Brexit. Officials are predicting a flood of 300,000 extra applications from Britain and Northern Ireland in 2019 if the UK crashes out of Europe without a withdrawal agreement.
  • There has already been a surge in demand for Irish passports from UKbased applicants since the 2016 Brexit vote. Last year saw more than 150,000 passports granted to Irish citizens in Northern Ireland and Britain out of the overall total of 779,000 documents issued in 2017.




  1. Jonathan Cardona, “MIIPA: Malta sets new citizenship by investment standard”, European CEO, December 12, 2018
  • At the Malta Individual Investor Programme Agency (MIIPA), we believe success stems from a combination of proactiveness, timeliness and determination.
  • MIIPA offers highnet-worth individuals (HNWIs) the chance to become part of a welcoming cosmopolitan community through investment migration. Our citizenship by investment (CBI) programme provides individuals – as well as their immediate family members – with an opportunity to pursue a better life in a more stable environment.
  • Successful applicants often commend the programme for its diligence, and they find comfort in the fact that, having qualified for the IIP, they are extremely likely to find success in their applications for alternative citizenships in other jurisdictions around the world.




  1. Monegasques Can Now Visit Hainan, China Without a Visa”, Hello Monaco, December 11, 2018
  • The Island of Hainan has obtained permission from the State Council of the People’s Republic of China to establish a visa waiver for visitors from 59 countries.
  • The Principality of Monaco was immediately integrated into this new system which, since 1 May 2018, allows nationals from these 59 countries to enter Hainan without a visa and stay in the Province of Hainan for a maximum duration 30 days. Requirements for this visa waiver are: presentation of a valid passport and to have booked your stay with a travel agency.



  1. Ukraine's government approves agreement on visa-free travel with Georgia”,  Ukrinform, December 12, 2018
  • Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers has approved an agreement between the governments of Ukraine and Georgia on the mutual abolition of visa requirements. The decision was approved at a government meeting on Wednesday without discussion, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.
  • On October 5, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze signed an agreement on the mutual abolition of visa requirements between the two countries. According to the agreement, citizens of Ukraine and Georgia may stay in the territory of the state of the other party without visas for a period of 90 days (annually) on the basis of electronic ID cards.


United Kingdom


  1. Miguel Gonzalez, “Brexit pushes more Britons to apply for Spanish citizenship”, El Pais, December 11, 2018
  • According to data from Spain’s General Department for Registries and Notaries, 166 Britons requested Spanish citizenship in the first 10 months of 2018. While the number is low compared to the 10,067 requests from Moroccans and 2,001 from Venezuelans, it is more than triple the 50 requests made by British nationals in 2015, the year before the Brexit referendum.
  • This puts Britons in fourth place on the list of EU members who want Spanish citizenship, coming in after Romanians, Italians and Bulgarians.
  • The Justice Ministry admits there is a huge backlog of citizenship applications (more than 400,000 are still pending) and has put together an action plan to tackle the problem.


  1. Britons to pay for visa-free travel to EU after Brexit”, Al Jazeera, December 15, 2018
  • British travellers will have to pay 7 euros ($7.91) for a threeyear pre-travel authorisation to visit the European Union after Brexit. Natasha Bertaud, a spokeswoman for Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission's president, confirmed on Friday that British visitors to the EU will need to pay the fee for a visa waiver under the new European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS).
  • The waiver will apply if the two sides agree on a Brexit deal before the United Kingdom leaves the bloc on March 29, 2019. But if the UK crashes out of the bloc without an agreement to mitigate ensuing disruptions, Britons could require visas to travel to the EU in the future, Bertaud said.
  • The ETIAS system, due to come into force in 2021, is aimed at beefing up the bloc's security. Under the Brexit deal, ETIAS would start applying to the UK when its postBrexit transition period ends in 2020.




Solomon Islands


  1. Solomon Islands passes dual citizenship legislation”, Radio New Zealand, December 11, 2018
  • Earlier this year during a multicountry tour, the prime minister Rick Hou said he had met many Solomon Islanders living overseas who would benefit from the legislation. The Constitution (Amendment) (Dual Citizenship) Bill 2018 effectively removes prohibition on dual citizenship. It also sets out the guidelines for eligibility and restrictions on dual citizenship holders, including not being able to stand for parliament.
  • The bill is aimed at reintegrating people of Solomon Islands birth or ancestry who have lost their citizenship because of marriage, forced labour or naturalisation in another country, the government said. It will also allow naturalised Solomon Islands citizens to regain or retain the nationality of their birth.




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