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EMBASSY CLOSURES: DECEMBER 2018 / JANUARY 2019 (UPDATED 11TH DECEMBER).11-12-2018
Kenya will be closed on the 12th December.

Turkmenistan will be closed n the 12th December.

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.

SOUTH AFRICA : Travelling with Children: Initial Advice06-12-2018
The ABTA Destinations team have been advised that the South Africa Department of Home Affairs have announced the relaxation of some international travel requirements for children travelling to South Africa.
 
South Africa has amended its Immigration Act so families travelling to South Africa from the UK and other visa-free countries don't need to carry birth certificates for children.  Children who are not accompanied by both parents will still need to comply with special documentary requirements.
 
Please see below for the official media statement from South African Tourism and the Department of Home Affairs:
 
OFFICIAL MEDIA STATEMENT
 
THE DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS EASES REQUIREMENTS FOR CHILDREN TRAVELLING THROUGH SA PORTS OF ENTRY
 
05 December 2018
 
The Department of Home Affairs is pleased to announce the relaxation of some international travel requirements for children going through South African ports of entry. The revised conditions are contained in the Government Gazette titled “Draft First Amendment of the Immigration Regulations, 2014 made under the Immigration Act”. From the beginning of December 2018, certain categories of child travellers will be exempt from presenting supporting documents at ports of entry. However, travellers are urged to carry these documents because they may be requested in certain instances.
 
Travel requirements for children have been changed in ways which include the following;
 
For travellers coming to South Africa:
 
●       Children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are required will no longer have to carry supporting documents. This is because they would have been required to provide these during the visa application process.
●       Children who are foreign nationals from countries where visas are not required may be asked to produce supporting documents upon entry. Even though producing supporting documents is no longer compulsory, travelers are strongly advised  to carry the supporting documents.
●       In the case of countries that endorse the particulars of parents in children’s passports, or other official identification documents, these documents shall be sufficient to establish the identity of the parents of the travelling minor.
 
For South Africans leaving the country:
 
●       South African children travelling abroad may be requested to produce supporting documents at ports of entry.
●       Children with passports detailing parents’ names will not be required to carry birth certificates when travelling. In addition, a parental affidavit may be required.
●       These requirements are meant to give effect to the Children’s Act, 2005 which stipulates that minors travelling in or out of the country must do so with the consent of both parents.
 
The Department has trained immigration officials to implement these changes. These amendments were made in terms of section 7 of the Immigration Act, 2002 after consultation with the Immigration Advisory Board. The amendments took effect on 01 December 2018, ahead of the festive season when many parents and families will be going on holiday with children. These amendments reflect some of the Cabinet approved reforms to the visa regime and are in line with economic recovery plan and stimulus announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in September 2018. The Advisory is available on the DHA Website; www.dha.gov.za or travellers can call the contact centre on 0800 60 11 90.
 
Enquiries:
 
Siya Qoba, 082 898 1657 (spokesperson for the Minister of Home Affairs)
David Hlabane, 071 342 4284 (media manager for the Department of Home Affairs)
Issued by the Department of Home Affairs, on 05 December 2018

CHINA: NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR VISAS FROM 17TH DECEMBER06-12-2018
As from the 17th December 2018 there will be NEW visa requirements for visa applications.

Please email our visa team ( visa@rossconsular.com ) for more information.
CHINA: IMPORTANT UPDATE REGARDIN VISA APPLICATIONS26-11-2018
Important Notice

Following a meeting with the Chinese Visa Application Centre on the 30th October we have to inform you that as from the 12th November every applicant over the age of 14 has to attend the application centres in either London, Manchester or Edinburgh so their fingerprints can be taken and this will be by appointment only and there will be a new online application form at a later date.

As  an agent we are able to still lodge the application on your behalf without an appointment (London only) but you have to be present at the time for your fingerprints to be taken.  We have been given an allocated time slot and must have all your paperwork including your passport at least 24 hours before the lodging date as we have to present this to this embassy on the day of submission for scanning before your arrival on the same day.  If you are not there at the time specified your application will be refused and you will have to come back the following day.  Our submission time is 10.20  and you must be there at this time or before.  You may have to wait to see the embassy official and our courier will meet you at the embassy.  Please advise when you are there and we will give you the telephone number of the courier for that day who will come  outside to meet you and bring you into the hall.  After your fingerprints are taken you are then free to leave and we will carry on with the lodging of the application and collection when ready.

If you have a visa that is valid in an old passport that is either cancelled or full  you can travel on this as long as you take both passport with you until the visa expires as long as  your name has not changed in the new passport

Update Regarding Chinese Visas: Form and Appointment System21-11-2018
In accordance with the notification issued by the Chinese Embassy and Consulates in the UK, starting from 3rd December 2018, the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre in London, Manchester and Edinburgh (hereinafter referred to as 'Visa Application Centres') will use a new version of the Chinese visa application form, and from the 17th December 2018 the Visa Application Centres will implement an online application form and appointment system.

Further updates will be advised on Monday 26th November 2018

INDIA: FROM 5TH NOVEMBER ALL EXPRESS APPLICATIONS WILL BE BIO-METRIC01-11-2018
As from Monday 5th November Indian same-day express visas will be bio-metric only.  Therefore applicants must attend the embassy to have their fingerprints taken.

We can accompany them to make the initial application and arrange the collection of the visa on their behalf.  All paperwork for the applications must be in our office by 3pm the day before.

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