The Indian embassy in Thailand will start using biometrics for applicants from October in a bid to streamline visa services to foreigners. Visa and passport application processing has been outsourced to private companies by Indian missions in several countries though the decision to grant visa and passport but lies with the embassy. India's Ambassador to Thailand Anil Wadhwa just inaugurated a new visa and passport application centre that will be managed by India-based company IVS Global Services Pvt Ltd.
According to Wadhwa, the Indian embassy had issued more than 88,000 visas in 2012 which is a steep increase compare to previous years. He continued that the main tourist destination for Thais was Bodh Gaya. He said efforts were on to encourage Thai tourists to visit areas of Buddhism in other states like Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Maharashtra . The embassy issues gratis visa to Thai monks visiting India. Currently there are around 150 flights operating between India and Thailand every week that will increase traveling between two countries.
Trip preparation is important to have a trouble free traveling to India. It is possible to reduce the prospect of anything going wrong by doing your groundwork prior to traveling for India. A vast number of travelers often regret for not doing these basic pre-travel steps just before heading to India. Visa preparation is also another point not to be missed.
Bye bye June, and hello July! What else comes along with July, you wonder. Well it’s the new law implementation of China and there are changes under that law that we have to be aware of.
Prior to date, China lived by two exit – entry laws, one for the foreigners and one for Chinese nationals. Those laws were taken into effect in more than 20 years ago. However, those laws have not consider the growth of illegal foreigners’ employment and so a new law is essential, acting as a control agent. This newly introduced law was implied on Monday. Besides dealing with unauthorized work/illegal employment of foreigners, several aspects are highlighted and they are of overstays, enhanced enforcement powers as well as changes to work permits and visa categories.
The one thing travellers have to take note of is that DO NOT overstay. Yes,it is not a good idea for travellers to overstay in China as you will be fined from 500RMB/day – as much as 10,000RMB/day depending on the severity of respective case. Other than fines, overstayed travellers might be detained for 5 – 15 days as well. Pretty sure you don’t want to have ‘locked up in China’ in your itinerary hey! However, warning will be given before any of the punishments take place, but still, better safe than sorry so keep track of the validity of your visa. The benefits China offers have not come to an end as Yang Huanning, the vice minister of Public Security China, stated “We will increase the eligibility quota for green cards and consider extending the applicable scope for duty-free entry and multiple-entry visas in order to make China more competitive in soliciting foreign investment and talent.”
The new law both benefits the country and us travellers. Now what are you waiting for, start applying for your Chinese Visa and let the exploration begin!
Following the external policy of visa-on-arrival (VOA) launched in January 2010 by the Indian Government, the number of foreign tourists to India has been recorded a significant growth. Riding on the successful implementation of the VOA scheme, the Tourism Ministry of India recently proposed that 30 countries more including China, Germany, France, Korea and Russia will be granted the same service at the international airports in India.
Under the VOA scheme, the major sources of tourists were from Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore in 2010. However, a long procedure for evaluating of the scheme hindered the progress of the VOA implementation over the designated international airports. Until January 2011, the India VOA scheme started further extension to the citizens of Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos and the Philippines. After the years of accumulated efforts from the Tourism Ministry and Home Ministry, the growth of inbound tourists to India between May 2012 and May 2013 has been recorded 37.2 percent.
The India Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi emphasized that offering the VOA to Chinese tourists is in high hopes that the huge sum of the national income will be received from the spending of Chinese travelers. It will be a good potential to have more Chinese travelers to India by easing the visa regime. In the long run, the number of countries participated in the VOA scheme held by Indian Government will be up to 41. The progressive implementation of VOA in India aims to reach the one percent share in the international tourist arrivals and to score more than 94,487 ten million India Dollars.
With an increase in the flow of inbound tourists to India, there is a big room for the improvement of facilities and operations of the international airports including Delhi airport, Mumbai airport, Chennai airport and Kolkata airport. All these will further make travellers have happy journeys!
The Philippines are set to welcome more visitors from India, as the local government has recently announced plans to implement a new policy for group visas. Underneath the scheme, group visas will be given to Indian citizens attending MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), or who are travelling as a family or group, provided they use the services of an accredited tour operator.
According to Glen Agustin, Head of Market Development, of the Department of Tourism, his department is working closely with the office of consular affairs of the Department of Foreign Affairs, to develop the policy. Agustin also explained that his department’s aim is to reduce barriers of entry for tourists, while exerting all efforts to encourage partner government agencies to ease the granting of visas to legitimate tourists.
If implemented, Indian tourists travelling in groups will no longer need individual visas to the Phillipines, nor will they be required to show money up front. So far, there has been no word if a similar group visa will be extended to other nationalities. Therefore, if you’re planning to visit the Philippines in the near future, be sure to check the Philippines visa requirements for your citizenship requirement.
In your next trip to The Land of Smiles whether it is shopping in Bangkok, partying in Phuket or island-hopping in Krabi, you might have to get yourself insured. This is because Thailand’s Public Health Ministry recently proposed to have all foreign tourists to purchase travel insurance before arrival.
The reason of the implementation of mandatory travel insurance is due to complaints from numerous hospitals which alleged that visitors seek medical treatment but fail to foot the bill. For instance, Phuket Hospital was unable to recover a relatively huge sum of about 3 million baht spent on tourists for free medical services last year.
According to the Bangkok Post, various state agencies agreed with the Public Health Ministry’s proposal, which was made with representatives from the Royal Thai Police, Airports of Thailand and other relevant government agencies. Public Health Minister, Pradit Sinthawanarong, stated that the cost of health insurance coverage might be incorporated into the visa fees. For those who enjoy visa exemption, the health insurance coverage will be paid at immigration checkpoints or added to the air fare.
Currently, the Thailand tourist visa is priced at 1,000 baht for a length of stay of 15 days and can be obtained at a handful of ports of entry. The visa acquisition is rather straight forward: Just hand in your passport, a recent passport-size photograph, a visa application form and visa fees at the visa booth.
Let’s see how we are going to pay for the health insurance coverage next.
Some 8.37 million foreign tourists visited Japan in 2012, 9.3 percent, or 780,000, of whom were from Southeast Asia, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. The Japanese government has set a goal to increase the number of visitors from this region to 2 million by 2016 by relaxing visa requirements.
Japan government to ease off entry visa requirements for some ASEAN countries where Malaysia and Thailand nationals are exempted for visa while nationals from Indonesia gets extension of period of stays for those holding multiple entry visa, the official said. For Indonesia nationals, the length of stay for holders of multiple entry visas - ordinary passport holders who reside in their home country - for short-term stay will be extended from 15 days to a maximum of 30 days. The further development of Japan-Indonesia exchange is expected as a result of the extension of period of stay for multiple entry visas, including increases in the number of tourist from Indonesia who visit Japan and the enhancement of the ease of business transactions between the two countries. Japan`s Embassy in Jakarta Takayuki Kawai said that the visa-related policy will be implemented starting July 1.
To increase tourism and celebrate the 40th year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, starting July 1, Japan will allow Vietnamese and Filipinos citizens to apply for short-term multiple entry visas (valid for 3 years). The further development of Japan-Vietnam exchange is expected as a result of the issuance of multiple entry visas, including increases in the number of tourists from Vietnam who visit Japan and the enhancement of the ease of business transactions between the two countries.
This means Vietnamese travellers are allowed to visit Japan several times within a period of three years, with the maximum stay per visit no longer than 15 days. Vietnamese can look for more information on Japan visa requirement here. An ordinary Machine-Readable Passport (MRP) that meets International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards or an ordinary IC passport is also required to facilitate the application. Applying for Japan visa can be as easy as rudiments at your finger tips.
What do you think about having a single visa that allows you to travel around the Mekong region? Awesome init? This one visa policy enables travellers to visit up to five countries namely Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Hold your horses though fellow travellers, as Vietnam does not seem to be too keen about the idea. “The only country that really has reason to dawdle is Vietnam, because it would require a change in mindset and policies,” Kenneth Atkinson, chairman of the Vietnam Business Forum Working Group for Hospitality and Tourism, told Vietweek. However, urges have been made by the neighbouring countries as well as Ho Chi Minh City to Vietnam government. The city is pressing for a campaign and hoping to gain supports towards the common visa policy. Also, to attract more tourists, the government is being urged to consider a visa-free policy with individual countries in the region. Recently, the government reviewed on its visa exemption policy and the feedback obtained is satisfying.
With regard to the 5 in one visa scheme, it was started with the cooperation of both Thailand and Cambodia. Since then, it received a recorded year-on-year growth in visitor arrivals of over 20 percent! Unfortunately, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam isn’t looking too good this year. Foreign tourists visiting the country in the first four months totalled 2.4 million is equivalent to a three per cent decline. Thus, it is pretty obvious that an expansion on the joint visa policy is definitely a great move in attracting tourists from every corner of the world. Let’s just hope that the 5 in 1 visa policy will be implemented soon.
From June 28th to July 1st, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's (DIAC) eLodgement systems are scheduled to be offline. This is to update the IT systems before the pricing changes come into effect. The price changes will reflect Australia's effort to encourage Australian visa applicants to apply for their visa online. The new pricing arrangement that will come into force in July will also be more user-friendly as it is easier to be navigated. DIAC hopes that their effort in imposing new pricing arrangements will bring Australia in line with comparable countries. Per-person charging system will be introduced in the new pricing arrangements where members of the same family will pay for their application. The expansion of online visitor visa applications will allow visitors from a growing list of countries to apply for their visa online.
To encourage online application, an additional charge of AU$80 will be imposed for certain visas when visa applicants choose to lodge a paper application. This can actually push people into applying for their visa online through the department's eVisa service. Other than that, there will be an extra charge of AU$700 for visa applicants who seek to stay in Australia for extended periods on successive temporary visas. According to DIAC, these initiatives will put Australian visa services on sustainable financial footing in the long term. At the same time, Australia will remain at its global position as a destination of choice to visit, live, work or study. The majority of the visitors will not detect any changes, including those arriving on an Electronic Travel Authority and other visitors arriving in Australia who already pay on a per person basis. Those unaffected by the changes are refugee and humanitarian visa applicants.
According to the latest departmental visitor visa program quarterly report for the period ending 31 March 2013, Australia never stopped drawing high levels of interest from international visitors. At the end of March, the report shows more than 247,000 visitor visa holder in Australia. This is a 12% increase from the end of March previous year. A 6% increase in visitor visas - almost three million - is granted by the department as well. In fact, interest from Asia continues to rise. Tourism visa applications from China, Malaysia and Singapore increased 19%, 14% and 29% respectively.
Hao Yuenan, an official with the Sichuan provincial government information office, said that Chengdu will be the fourth mainland city after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to adopt the policy that offers 72-hour transit visa to passengers holding a third country passport. Visitors from some 45 countries will be able to make 72-hour visa-free transits in Chengdu, as long as they have a third country visa and valid air ticket. Visitors during the visa-free period can carry out activities in the administrative area of Chengdu City (no need to stay within the airport).
The Sichuan province capital did not release a specific date for the program's introduction. "The policy approved by the State Council is expected to promote tourism in Chengdu," said Hao Kangli, an official with the Sichuan Provincial Tourism Bureau. Please feel free to check out the visa requirements if you’re interested to visit Chengdu.
The second-largest airport in Myanmar, Yangon International Airport (YIA) is well prepared for the estimated 20% annual growth as it opens its wide-open arms for more visitors and international airlines. Besides, the country is ready to garner more foreign investment and to host a significant sports event – the 27th South East Asian Games – in November this year.
U Win Ko, General Manager, Yangon International Airport, said: “Since 2008, passenger numbers at Yangon Airport have nearly doubled to three million, and by 2015, we expect to handle more than five million passengers annually.” In 2012, the number of airport tenants grew from 14 to 22 airlines, he stated, adding: “Which means we need to increase our capacity immediately, while also planning the future.”
As an effective measure to upgrade the existing infrastructure, the airport has partnered with air transport specialist SITA to bring in its Airport Connect Open system. The system ensures airlines from all over the world to easily use the check-in counters and gate resources as well as introducing the first self-service check-in kiosks in Myanmar. As the name of the facility suggests, it helps passengers to check in effortlessly and quickly.
To make one’s journey to Yangon truly silky smooth, getting the Myanmar Tourist Visa is a great option. With a reasonable fee of USD100, you will be granted a 28-day visa in two weeks processing time. An approval letter, which is applied online, will be issued to you once approved. Hence, a trip to the embassy is spared! Of course, this is just one of the many benefits in getting a visa in advance. For more information, feel free to drop a visit to our page.