Ross Consular logo

News

Please click on a news item below to view the entire news article.

North, Central & South America: FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATE18-01-2019
The FCO have updated the travel advice for the following countries: Ecuador.
 
Ecuador: FCO Travel Advice Update
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Ecuador with an update to the Entry requirements section (Visas) – addition of information; from 28 January 2019 permanent and temporary resident visas will be issued electronically; the online visa will be sent by email to be printed out; immigration authorities will have access to online visa records; all visitors to the Galapagos Islands should provide a copy of their hotel booking; visitors staying with local residents should have an invitation letter from their host.
 
The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Entry requirements
 
Visas
You can visit Ecuador without a visa, but you may be asked about your reason for travel and to provide evidence of a return or onward flight/bus ticket when you arrive. On arrival in the country, you’ll normally be allowed to remain in Ecuador for up to 90 days per year. If you’re planning to stay for longer, you should apply for a visa from the Ecuadorean Embassy in London (or from another Ecuadorean embassy overseas) before you travel. You can extend your 90 days for a further 90 days (before the first period expires) only once and by paying a fee. If you want to change your immigration status, by applying for another type of visa, you can do so at the Ecuadorean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility before the 90 or 180 days expires.
 
Within the new Organic Law for Human Mobility, since February 2018 overstaying involves a fine. As with other immigration offences, if the fine is not paid, you will not be able to return to Ecuador for 2 years and your name will remain on immigration records. If the fine is paid you can return with an official visa issued by an Ecuadorean Embassy overseas. The relevant deportation local regulation is still under consideration.
 
If you wish to work or study in Ecuador, check visa requirements with the Ecuadorean Embassy in London before travelling.
 
As of 28 January 2019, permanent and temporary resident visas will be issued electronically. Ecuadorean visas will no longer be stickers in the passport. The online visa will be sent by email to be printed out. The immigration authorities will have access to online visa records.
 
The overall level of the advice has not changed. There are restrictions within the advice.
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel within the 20km exclusion zone along the border with Colombia, except for the official border crossing town of Tulcan in Carchi province. See Local travel.
 
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to: *the areas of Tarapoa and the Cuyabeno reserve outside the 20km zone in Sucumbios *the areas of El Angel Ecological Reserve inside the 20 km exclusion zone in the province of Carchi *all other areas of Esmeraldas province outside the 20km exclusion zone. See Local travel
 
View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ecuador
EMBASSY CLOSURES : UPCOMING CLOSURES 18-01-2019

China Embassy will be closed on the 04/02/19 and 05/02/2019

Taiwan Embassy will be closed on the 04/02/19 and 05/02/2019

Bangladesh Embassy will be closed on the 21/02/2019

 

Pakistan Embassy will be closed on the 05/02/2019

 

Russia Embassy will be closed on the 08/03/2019

 

Ghana Embassy will be closed on the 06/03/2019

 

India Embassy will be closed on the 21/03/2019

 

TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATE: VARIOUS COUNTRIES16-01-2019
The FCO have updated the travel advice for a number of countries with an update to the Summary section – update to / addition of information about the availability of consular support.
 
Please see each individual country’s travel advice in full by clicking on the below links:
 
Central African Republic - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/central-african-republic
Congo - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/democratic-republic-of-the-congo
Gabon - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/gabon
Libya - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/libya
Mozambique - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mozambique
Somalia - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/somalia
South Sudan - https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-sudan
BREXIT: IMPORT INFORMATION10-01-2019
This week the Government has increased its communications activities about the possible implications of leaving the EU, with information and advice available for businesses and consumers at gov.uk/EUexit.
 
Given that the political situation is still uncertain, and there will changes to passport validity requirements in the event of a no-deal, ABTA Members should contact customers who are due to travel immediately after 29 March 2019 encouraging them to check that their passport is valid, so that they have time to renew if necessary. You should also advise on any other actions they may need to take, such as pet passports or driving licences.
 
The UK government recommends that travellers going to the EU after 29 March 2019 have six months left on their passport, and is also advising that any extra months which have been added to a 10 year passport will not be valid.

The Passport Office has released a toolkit and customer Q&A to help travel companies make staff and customers aware about passport validity changes in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019, and the availability of the passport checker tool. There are also marketing materials are available to businesses to use across your own channels. More information can be found in the MemberZone.
 
The Government is also running marketing campaigns to help make travellers aware about particular issues, including driving licences and pet passports.

CHINA : EMBASSY CLOSURE 08-01-2019

The China Embassy will be closed for the Chinese Spring Festival from the 4th to 5th February 2019.

MALAYSIA : EMBASSY CLOSURE 08-01-2019
The Malaysia Embassy will be closed on Tuesday 5th February 2019 for the celebration Of Chinese New Year and we will be opened again on Wednesday 6th February 2019
RUSSIA : FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATE03-01-2019

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Russia with an update to the Entry requirements section (Visas). The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Entry Requirements
Visas
You’ll need to get a visa before you travel. The Russian Embassy advised in March 2018 that it takes around 20 business days (4 weeks) to process most visa applications.
 
As part of the visa application process, all applicants based in the UK aged 12 or over will need to visit a visa application centre to submit biometric data (scanned fingerprints). These are located in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. The Russian government has also announced plans to introduce biometric fingerprinting for all foreign nationals, including British nationals, when entering Russia. No dates have been confirmed for this.
 
On receiving your visa you should check the details carefully including the validity dates and passport number to make sure they are correct. Make sure you’re aware of the terms and conditions attached to your visa before you travel. You should adhere to the validity and conditions of your visa while you’re in Russia, as the authorities strictly enforce all visa and immigration laws.
 
If you intend to stay longer, you should arrange an extension of your visa before it expires. Overstaying your visa without authorisation can result in a delay to your departure, as well as the possibility of fines, court hearings, deportation and a ban from re-entry.
 
The overall level of the advice has not changed. There are restrictions within the advice.
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

  • within 10km of the border with the Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts
  • Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan and the districts of Budyonnovsky, Levokumsky, Neftekumsky, Stepnovsky and Kursky in Stavropol Krai 
    The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:
KUWAIT : FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATE03-01-2019
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Kuwait with an update to the Safety and security section (Road travel) – addition of link to Living in Kuwait guide for information on driving licences for residents in Kuwait; addition of information on what to do if involved in a road traffic accident. The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Safety and Security
Road travel
If you have a visit visa, you can drive in Kuwait using an international driving permit or a valid UK licence. Before driving you must obtain third party insurance in Kuwait. If you’re hiring a car, you can usually get insurance through your car hire company. If you’re planning to drive a car belonging to a relative or friend then you’re responsible for obtaining insurance. The insurance document must be kept with you at all times while driving.
 
If you’re applying to live in Kuwait, see our Living in Kuwait guide for information on driving licences.
 
Driving is hazardous. Many drivers pay little attention to other road users; drive in excess of speed limits, switch lanes without warning, ignore traffic lights and use mobile phones while driving.
 
If you have an accident you must stay with the vehicle. Call the police on 112 and don’t attempt to move the vehicle before they arrive. If you have a major accident, where there are serious injuries or the car is not drivable, you must stay with the vehicle if it is safe to do so, call the police on 112, and do not attempt to move the vehicle before they arrive. If you have a minor accident, where there are no serious injuries and the car is drivable, try to take pictures of any damage to the vehicles involved in the accident if it is safe to do so. Record the licence plate numbers of any vehicles involved, and move the vehicle from the road to avoid blocking traffic (you can be fined if you fail to do so). Call the police and follow their instructions on what to do next.
 
The overall level of the advice has not changed. There are no restrictions within the advice.
 
View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kuwait

CHINA: Changes to Visa Applications: Update 220-12-2018
Good Afternoon
 
The ABTA Destinations team continue to monitor the changes to China visa applications.
 
China: FCO Travel Advice Update
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for China with an update to the Entry requirements section (Visas) – revised information on biometric data collection; visitors transiting through Shanghai can apply online for a 144 hour visa exemption via the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection; in other visa waiver transit locations, applications must be made in person on arrival. The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Visas
British nationals normally need a visa to enter mainland China, including Hainan Island, but not Hong Kong or Macao.
 
With effect from 1 November 2018, all visa applicants aged between 14 and 70 inclusive will need to make their visa application in person at a Visa Application Centre. As part of the application process, biometric data (scanned fingerprints) will now have to be provided.
 
Biometric data may be checked/collected by the Immigration Authorities when entering China to register your entry to the country.
 
If you’re transiting China, visa waivers are available in certain places. Visitors transiting through Shanghai can apply online for a 144 hour visa exemption via the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection. In other visa waiver transit locations, applications must be made in person on arrival. Contact the Chinese Embassy or the China Visa Application Service Centre before your proposed trip for further information. You can also consult your airline/tour operator about visa requirements.
 
If you visit Hong Kong from the mainland of China and wish to return to the mainland, you’ll need a visa that allows you to make a second entry into China.
 
It is your responsibility to check your visa details carefully. Don’t overstay your visa or work illegally. The authorities conduct regular checks and you may be fined, detained or deported (or all three).
 
If you remain in China longer than 6 months, you may need to get a Residence Permit.
 
The overall level of the advice has not changed. There are no restrictions within the advice.
 
View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china
 
We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as appropriate.

Central Asia, South East Asia,: FCO Travel Advice Updates19-12-2018
The FCO have updated the travel advice for the following countries: Taiwan
 
Taiwan
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Taiwan with an update to the Summary and Health section – update to Medical Advice (Cannabis Derived Products), African Swine Fever Virus (ASF) and Animal Product Restrictions.  The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Summary
You should not enter Taiwan with animal products without prior authorisation as those caught smuggling products may face heavy fines. Due to recent reports of African Swine Fever Virus (ASF) in pork products, particularly from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), local authorities have increased quarantine checks and inspections.
 
Health
If you’re bringing any prescribed medicine into Taiwan, you should bring the prescription issued by your doctor, hospital or clinic that shows the medicine is for your personal use. The amount of medication you bring must be consistent with the amount stated on the prescription. Cannabis oil and cannabis derived medication, even if legally prescribed elsewhere, cannot be brought into Taiwan.
 
The overall level of the advice has not changed. There are no restrictions within the advice.
 
View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/taiwan

Africa : FCO travel Advice Updates 18-12-2018
The FCO have updated the travel advice for the following countries: Djibouti / Madagascar
 
Djibouti
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Djibouti with an update to the Entry requirements section (Visas) – addition of link to Djibouti e-visa website; you should get a visa before travelling; Entry requirements section (ETDs) – addition of information on acceptance of UK Emergency Travel Documents; Summary – updated information on availability of consular support. The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Summary
Consular support is limited in Djibouti as there is no British Embassy. The British Honorary Consul in Djibouti can only offer limited help. However, the British Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia can provide consular support to British nationals. If you need consular assistance you should contact the British Embassy in Addis Ababa. If you’re in the UK and worried about a British national in Djibouti, call +44 (0) 20 7008 1500.
 
Visas
British nationals need a visa to enter Djibouti. You should get a visa before travelling. Applications may take several weeks to process and should be made well in advance of travel. Visas on arrival are issued at the discretion of the Djibouti immigration authorities. You must also have evidence of your onward journey.
 
British nationals applying for a Djibouti visa in Ethiopia generally require a letter from the British Embassy in Addis Ababa for presentation at the Djibouti Embassy. There is a fee for this service payable in local currency.
 
Passport validity
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Djibouti.
 
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, transit and exit from Djibouti.
 
The overall level of the advice has not changed. There are restrictions within the advice.
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the border with Eritrea. See Local travel
 
View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/djibouti
 
 
 
Madagascar
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Madagascar with an update to the Safety and security section (Political situation) and summary – update on the potential for further unrest in the run-up to the second round of the Presidential elections on 19 December 2018, with protests taking place often without warning; you should avoid all protests and demonstrations; Summary – addition of information about availability of consular assistance. The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Summary
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. Consular support may be limited in parts of Madagascar.
 
Madagascar has experienced political instability since the 2009 coup d’état. There is potential for further unrest in the run-up to the second round of the presidential elections on 19 December 2018, with protests taking place often without warning. You should avoid all protests and demonstrations. See Political situation
 
Political Situation
The second round of voting for the 2018 presidential elections is scheduled to take place on 19 December. Due to the possibility of violence, you should avoid large gatherings and political demonstrations, including those taking place in the area around Independence Square (“La Place du 13 mai”) and the Town Hall. You should monitor local news and follow the advice of local authorities.
 
The overall level of the advice has not changed. There are no restrictions within the advice.
 
View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/madagascar

EMBASSY CLOSURES: DECEMBER / JANUARY 2019 UPDATED 14TH DECEMBER.14-12-2018
Kazakhstan will be closed on the 17th and 18th December and from the 31st December to 2nd January 2019 and on the 7th January 2019.

Afghanistan will be closed 24th December to 4th January 2019.

Republic of Congo will be closed from 24th December to the 7th January

Indonesia will e closed from 24th December to 1st January

Liberia will be closed on the 29th and 30th December.

Azerbaijan will be closed on the 31st December.

Brazil will be closed on the 31st December.

Japan will be closed on the 31st December.

Russia visa office will be closed from the 31st December to the 8th January 2019.

Saudi will be closed from the 24th December to the 2nd January. 

The last day for lodging will be the 20th December. The last day for collecting will be the 21st December.

Angola will be closed from the 21st December 2018 to 04/01/2019. The service will reopen on 07/01/2019.

Last Day for Submission:

Ordinary Visa – Normal 6th December, Express 7th December, Urgent 7th December

Short Term Visa – Normal 10th December, Express 17th December, Urgent 20th December

Tourism Visa – 10th December

Legalisation:

(Agencies only):Normal: 27th November, Urgent 10th December.

Other Documents: Normal: 6th December, Express/Urgent 14th December.

LAST DAY FOR COLLECTON: 20th December 2018.

PASSPORT FEES: Home Office proposes changes to passport application fees07-02-2018
The ABTA Destinations team have been advised of proposed changes to UK passport application fees.
 
The relevant extract of the information is below for your reference:
 
Home Office proposes changes to passport application fees
 
The Home Office has outlined plans to introduce different passport fees for online and postal applications as part of its push to increase the use of online services.  
 
Under the plans, online applications, which are available to all UK-based applicants, will increase in line with inflation, taking the total from £72.50 to £75.50 for adults and £49 for children. Postal applications will increase by £12.50 to £85 for adults and £58.50 for children, reflecting the increased costs of processing postal applications compared to online applications.
 
The proposals, once approved by Parliament, are planned to come into force on 27 March 2018.
 
For more details see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-office-proposes-changes-to-passport-application-fees