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ANGOLA: DELAYS IN ISSUING VISAS18-10-2018
The Angola Embassy are currently having delays in visa’s being issued due to the Angola immigration service computer system not working.

 

BAHRAIN / SAUDI: FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDAT16-10-2018
The FCO have updated the travel advice for the following countries: Saudi Arabia /Bahrain
 
Saudi Arabia
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Saudi Arabia with an update to the Entry requirements section (Visas) – if you’re planning to travel to Saudi Arabia via the causeway from Bahrain you should check the terms of your Saudi visa before travelling; if you’re planning to apply for a visa, you should seek advice (eg from your visa agent, the Saudi Embassy or your employer) about the visa options available to you; Saudi visas may only allow for entry into the country by air and may prevent you from entering across a land border including via the causeway from Bahrain.  The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Entry Requirements
If you’re planning to travel to Saudi Arabia via the causeway from Bahrain you should check the terms of your Saudi visa before travelling. If you’re planning to apply for a visa, you should seek advice (eg from your visa agent, the Saudi Embassy or your employer) about the visa options available to you. Saudi visas may only allow for entry into the country by air and may prevent you from entering across a land border including via the causeway from Bahrain.
 
The overall level of the advice has not changed. There are restrictions within the advice.
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel to within 10km of the border with Yemen and against all but essential travel between 10km and 80km of this border. If you’re currently in an area to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel, you should consider whether you have an essential reason to remain. If you don’t, you should leave the area.
 
View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/saudi-arabia
 
 
Bahrain
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Bahrain with an update to the Entry requirements section (Visas); if you’re planning to travel to Saudi Arabia via the causeway from Bahrain you should check the terms of your Saudi visa before travelling; if you’re planning to apply for a visa, you should seek advice (eg from your visa agent, the Saudi Embassy or your employer) about the visa options available to you; Saudi visas may only allow for entry into the country by air and may prevent you from entering across a land border including via the causeway from Bahrain.  The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Entry Requirements
If you’re planning to travel to Saudi Arabia via the causeway from Bahrain you should check the terms of your Saudi visa before travelling. If you’re planning to apply for a visa, you should seek advice (eg from your visa agent, the Saudi Embassy or your employer) about the visa options available to you. Saudi visas may only allow for entry into the country by air and may prevent you from entering across a land border including via the causeway from Bahrain.
 
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/bahrain

ZIMBABWE: FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATE15-10-2018
Zimbabwe
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Zimbabwe with an update to the Summary and Health section: Zimbabwe continues to experience a shortage of cash; some basic commodities are not available in supermarkets and some businesses have closed; an increasing number of businesses will only accept US dollars in cash, rather than credit or debit cards; this includes some medical providers; there have been growing queues for fuel in Harare; you’re advised to ensure you have sufficient fuel for any journey.  The relevant extracts of the advice are below for your reference:
 
Summary
Almost all transactions are conducted in US dollars. Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a shortage of cash. It is currently not possible to make cash withdrawals using an international bank card. Make sure you have enough money in US dollar notes for your visit, or check with your tour operator that card payments will be accepted. In November 2016, Zimbabwe introduced “bond notes” as legal tender. Officially these are at 1:1 parity with the US dollar and are only legal tender within Zimbabwe. Some basic commodities are not available in supermarkets and some businesses have closed. An increasing number of businesses will only accept US dollars in cash, rather than credit or debit cards. This includes some medical providers. See Money.
 
Health
The provision and quality of health care is variable and can be especially poor outside of the major cities. There’s a shortage of drugs and trained medical staff in hospitals, making it difficult for hospitals to treat certain illnesses including accidents and trauma cases. The shortage of fuel has reduced emergency response capabilities. Private clinics will not treat patients until they pay and often require large amounts of cash before they will admit even emergency cases. An increasing number of businesses in Zimbabwe will only accept US dollars in cash, rather than credit or debit cards. This includes some medical providers. Even if payment is available some of the best hospitals are often too full to admit patients. Medical costs, particularly for evacuation, can be high. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
 
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/zimbabwe

MONGOLIA: FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATE12-10-2018

Good Afternoon
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Mongolia with an update to the Entry requirements section (Border crossings) – revised information; there now 8 border points open to British passport holders; Health section – revised guidance on sources of health information before travel. The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Border crossings
There are currently 8 border points open to British passport holders. They are at Chinggis Khaan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, the road/train crossing to China at Zamin Uud, the road crossing to China at Bulgan in the west, the road crossing to China at Bichigt in the south east, the road crossing to Russia at Tsagaannuur in the far west, the train crossing to Russia at Sukhbaatar and the road crossings to Russia at Altanbulag and Ereen-Tsav. You may not cross into China or Russia at any of the other border points as they are either seasonal or are open only to Mongolians, Chinese or Russians.
 
If you’re planning to bring a vehicle into Mongolia at any of the border crossings you should inform the tax authorities and border troops in advance.
 
If you’re travelling by train across the China/Mongolia border expect a delay of a few hours as the railways use different gauges.
 
You may encounter problems when entering Mongolia by train from Russia, particularly with Russian border or customs officials who scrutinise documentation (in particular customs declarations) very carefully. If you are crossing overland to or from Russia pay scrupulous attention when completing all the necessary paperwork.
 
Health
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
 
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
 
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. You’re only allowed to bring medicines for personal use into Mongolia. These include medicines for urgent aid for up to 7 days or for the treatment of diabetes, cancer, mental illness or HIV/AIDS for which you have a doctor’s prescription. If you’re arriving by plane, you should carry all medicines in your checked baggage. Guidance is available from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
 
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 103 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company as soon as possible to inform them of what has happened.
 
The standard of healthcare is variable, especially outside Ulaanbaatar. Even in Ulaanbaatar only basic health care is available. Doctors and hospitals may ask for cash payment in advance of treatment. The quality of local medical supplies is low and some medicines are counterfeit. Take basic supplies of over-the-counter medicines and any regular prescription drugs you may need with you.
 
Medical bills, especially when medical evacuation is required, can be very substantial. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
 
The high levels of air pollution in Ulaanbaatar, especially in winter, may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions.
 
 
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/mongolia

 

 

EMBASSY CLOSURES: OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 201808-10-2018
Korea Embassy will be closed on the 9th of October.

Thailand Embassy will be closed on the 23rd of October.

 Russia Embassy will be closed on the 5th of November.

Algeria Embassy will be closed on the 1st of November.

India Embassy will be closed on the 19th October and the 7th November.


 

FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATES : Central Asia, South East Asia, East Asia28-09-2018
The FCO have updated the travel advice for the following countries: Bangladesh
 
Bangladesh
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Bangladesh with an update to the Entry Requirements section – revised information; your passport should be valid for at least 6 months when applying for a visa to visit Bangladesh; Property disputes section – revised contact information on the expatriate help cell.  The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Entry Requirements
Passport validity
Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months when applying for a visa to visit Bangladesh.
 
The overall level of the advice has not changed. There are restrictions within the advice.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to the Chittagong Hill Tracts. This does not include the city of Chittagong or other parts of Chittagong Division. See Chittagong Hill Tracts.
 
View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/bangladesh

FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATES : Angola28-09-2018

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Angola with an update to the Safety and security section (Local travel) and summary – change to advice against travel; the FCO no longer advise against all but essential travel to most of Lunda Norte province.
 
Local travel
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to Cabinda province (but not including Cabinda city). There are regular violent incidents including rape, murder and kidnappings involving foreigners and Angolans in the province of Cabinda. Groups claiming responsibility for these attacks have declared their intention to continue attacks against foreigners.
 
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to within 1km of the border between Angola’s Lunda Norte province and the Democratic Republic of Congo, except at official border crossings and their access roads. The Angolan authorities are extremely sensitive to the presence of foreigners in this area and there is a risk of detention by the security forces.
 
The Angolan authorities are sensitive to the presence of foreigners in diamond-producing areas, including the provinces of Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul. You may be subject to movements restrictions or detention by the security forces. Follow the instructions of local authorities. The presence of diamonds also increases the threat of crime and banditry, particularly on roads leading to and from these areas. Armed hold-ups occur from time to time.
 
If you travel outside Luanda and the provincial capitals, do so in the company of persons or organisations experienced in local conditions, as conditions can be difficult. You may be There is widespread poverty, social exclusion and disease, a shattered infrastructure and mines and items of unexploded ordnance throughout many parts of the country. Transport and accommodation are extremely limited outside Luanda, so make arrangements in advance.
 
The overall level of the advice has changed. There are restrictions within the advice.
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to:

  • the provinces of Cabinda (but not including Cabinda city)
  • within 1km of the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in Lunda Norte province, except at official border crossings and their access roads. See Local travel  
    View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/angola
FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATES : VARIOUS COUNTRIES - Europe - UK Passport technical notice21-09-2018

Further to the FCO Travel Advice information relating to guidance from HM Passport Office on passport validity requirements for travel to most countries in Europe if the UK leaves the European Union with no deal, we have the following additional information.
 
Passport technical notice
 
The notices are part of the government’s preparation for the possibility of the UK leaving the EU in March next year without a deal. We firmly believe it is in the interests of both the EU and the UK to strike a deal. That remains the goal on both sides and we are confident that this will be achieved. However, it is the job of a responsible government to prepare for all scenarios, including the unlikely event that we reach March 2019 without a deal. We’re publishing the notices now so that businesses and citizens have time to prepare.
 
The notice on UK passports published today explains how validity rules for UK passports would change for people travelling to the Schengen area. In this situation, UK passport holders will be considered ‘third country’ nationals by Schengen area countries. To be valid for entry to the Schengen area, UK passports will need to meet two particular rules:
 

  • They will need to have at least 6 months validity remaining on the day of arrival – this is currently already the case for some other destinations around the world, but not Schengen
  • They should not be older than 10 years. Any extra validity on the passport beyond 10 years will not count towards the 6 months that must be remaining – some adult UK passports have up to 9 months extra validity, beyond the standard 10 years
 
We are recommending that people who are planning to travel after 29 March next year check their passport and renew it if they will be affected.
 
The technical notice itself is available here. We have also added information on GOV.UK to explain the new rules, which includes a ‘calculator’ tool into which people can enter their passport details and planned date of travel to find out if they are affected. I have also attached a short factsheet about this issue and the answers to some anticipated questions.
 
END—
 
Click here to view the accompanying passport Q&A, and here for the fact sheet.

FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATE : KENYA 19-09-2018

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Kenya with an update to the Entry requirements section – updated information on carrying a certified copy of your passport if applying for a work permit while in Kenya; Health section – addition of information on health screening measures at some airports and border crossings due to the most recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo
 
The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Entry requirements
 
Work permits
If you’re coming to live and work in Kenya, you must have a work permit before starting employment. It’s illegal to work without one. This needs to be applied for before coming to Kenya to work. This also applies to voluntary work and the self-employed. You can apply for a work permit at the Department of Immigration Services website. The government of Kenya has recently reiterated the need for all foreign workers in Kenya to have (and carry with them) the necessary work permits and documentation, and has promised swift action against those who do not comply; this includes deportation. Work permits are not always granted; the government of Kenya is prioritising the availability of high quality jobs for Kenyan nationals, and may not grant a work permit to a British national if the job in question could be done by a Kenyan national.
 
If you’re already in Kenya, and your application for a work permit is successful, you will be required to hand in your passport to immigration for a permit stamp to be inserted. During this period, you should always carry a certified copy of your passport for identification purposes. A local lawyer can provide this. On 20 April 2018, the government of Kenya announced a shift to e-permits replacing all existing and future work permits. Anyone holding or needing a work permit was required to register for an e-permit at Nyayo House before 21 July 2018. If you’ve missed this deadline, you should seek advice from Nyayo House.
 
Health
 
On 1 August 2018, an outbreak of Ebola was declared in Béni territory, North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kenyan authorities have put in place additional screening measures at some airports and border crossings in Kenya for those arriving from affected areas. The latest updates can be found on the WHO website.
 
The overall level of the advice has not changed. There are restrictions within the advice.
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to

  • areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border
  • Garissa County
  • Lamu County (excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island)
  • areas of Tana River County north of the Tana river itself
  • within 15km of the coast from the Tana river down to the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) river
 
View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kenya

EMBASSY CLOSURES: OCTOBER 201819-09-2018
India closed – 2nd & 19th October

Thailand closed – 15th October

China closed – 1st & 2nd October

Bangladesh closed – 19th October.

INDONESIA : FCO Travel Advice Update14-09-2018
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Indonesia with an update to the Entry requirements section (Visas) – update to existing information; the visa waiver scheme and visas on arrival aren’t available if you’re travelling on a British Overseas Citizen, British Subject, British National (Overseas) or British Overseas Territory citizen passport; instead, you must apply for a visa before you travel. The relevant extract of the advice is below for your reference:
 
Visas
If you’re travelling on a British Citizen passport, you don’t need a visa to enter Indonesia for visits of up to 30 days, calculated to include your date of arrival and date of departure. Visa-free visits can’t be extended or transferred to another type of visa. For a list of airports, seaports and land border crossings for entering/exiting Indonesia under this visa waiver scheme, and more information about entry requirements, visit the website of the Indonesian Embassy in London or your nearest Indonesian embassy.
 
If you’re travelling to Indonesia for more than 30 days, you should apply for a visa before you travel, or get a visa on arrival at a cost of US$35, or the equivalent in Indonesian rupiah. This type of visa is valid for 30 days, and can be extended once (for a maximum of 30 days) by applying to an immigration office within Indonesia.
 
The Indonesian embassy has introduced a new e-visa system. You should submit your visa application online. The embassy will no longer accept a handwritten visa application form unless you’re a British Overseas Territories citizen or if you’re applying for a diplomatic visa. If you fall into this category you should send a written request to obtain the visa form at: consular@indonesianembassy.org.
 
The visa waiver scheme and visas on arrival aren’t available if you’re travelling on a British Overseas Citizen, British Subject, British National (Overseas) or British Overseas Territory citizen passport. Instead, you must apply for a visa before you travel.
 
These options are also not available if you’re travelling to Indonesia for journalistic purposes. Instead, you must apply for a visa before you travel, and should make sure that you have the correct permits for local travel within Indonesia as some areas may require special permits in addition to your visa. You should with your nearest Indonesian Embassy.
 
The overall level of the advice has not changed. There are restrictions within the advice.
 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to areas of Lombok north of the main east-west route from Pamenang, which passes north of the capital Mataram across to Lombok town (Jalan H. Mansur - Jalan Jendral Sudirman - Jalan Raya Mataram-Sikur - Jalan Raya Masbagik - Jalan Raya Anjani - Jalan Kooperasi - Jalan Raya Labuhan Lombok). This area includes the Gili Islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air) and the Mount Rinjani National Park, but excludes Senggigi on the west coast and Kayangan port on the east coast.

View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/indonesia

FCO Travel Advice Updates : North, Central & South America12-09-2018
The FCO have updated the travel advice for the following countries: Ecuador / Peru

Ecuador
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Ecuador with updates to the Entry Requirements and Health sections. Entry Requirements – addition of information on Yellow Fever certificate requirements and travelling with children; Health – from 12 September 2018, all tourists travelling to the Galapagos Islands will be required to have a valid health insurance policy.  The relevant extracts of the advice are below for your reference:

Entry Requirements
Yellow Fever Certificate Requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website. Please check if you will be required to present a yellow fever certificate to travel to your next destination from Ecuador. See Health

Health
There are limited facilities on the Galapagos Islands. If you travel to the Galapagos make sure your insurance includes evacuation by air ambulance. In December 2014, a new public hospital opened in San Cristobal island. If you travel to the Galapagos Islands by boat you may be asked to state your blood group in the medical and emergency contact information collected when you board the ship. From 12 September 2018, all tourists travelling to the Galapagos Islands will be required to have a valid health insurance policy.

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/ecuador



Peru
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Peru with updates to the Safety & Security (Local travel) section – revised information on state of emergency; addition of section on Migration from the North.  The relevant extracts of the advice are below for your reference:

Safety & Security
Local travel
A state of emergency for security reasons is in force in some districts of Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Junin and Cusco regions (Cusco city and Machu Picchu are not affected) and in the Apurimac-Cusco-Arequipa transportation corridor. For further information you should contact Iperu. A state of emergency gives the armed forces responsibility for law and order alongside the police. Some civil rights are suspended. If you do decide to visit any area under a state of emergency you should follow instructions given to you by military, police or other officials.
Migration from the North
There has been an increase of migration from the North entering Peru through the land border with Ecuador. A state of emergency has been declared in the Aguas Verdes and Zarumilla districts (Zarumilla province) and in Tumbes district (Tumbes province) in the Region of Tumbes due to pressure on health and sanitation services following the increased international migration from the North.

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/peru

BANGLADESH : EMBASSY CLOSURES 11-09-2018
THE EMBASSY WILL BE CLOSED ON 20TH SEPTEMBER  AND 19TH OCTOBER 2018
EMBASSY CLOSURES : UPCOMING EMBASSY CLOSURES 03-09-2018

China Embassy will be closed on the 1st and 2nd of October.

India Embassy will be closed on the 2nd of October.
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