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JAPAN : EMBASSY CLOSURES 19-07-2019

Japan Embassy will be closed on the 12th of August.

PAKISTAN : FCO-UPDATE18-07-2019

Change made
Summary – there are reports of a heightened threat against religious sites in Lahore at this time; if you’re in Lahore, you should avoid such locations until further notice.

BANGLADESH : EMBASSY CLOSURES 12-07-2019

The Bangladesh Embassy will be closed on the following days,12th to13th August,15th August, 23rd August,26th August,10th September.

EID : EMBASSY ADVICE 12-07-2019

Please be aware that Muslim countries will have closures for Eid starting approximately the 12th  August with confirmation times as and when related by the Embassies.

 

The opening and closing times of the Muslim Related Embassies may change and this can cause a delay in visas being issued.

KOSOVO : FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATE 09-07-2019

Kosovo travel advice

Change made:
Entry requirements (Registration) – if you’re coming to Kosovo for a short stay (90 days or less), and will be staying in a hotel, hostel or other registered landlord, that business will notify the police of your presence on your behalf; if you plan to stay in a private house then you must notify the nearest police station of where you’re staying; if you plan to stay in Kosovo for longer than 90 days, you will need to register with the Ministry of Internal Affairs for a Residence Permit

IRAN: ENTRY REQUIREMENTS03-07-2019
Iran Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

British nationals need a visa to travel to Iran. You should make your visa application well in advance of your date of travel. The application process for an Iranian visa can be long and unpredictable.

The Iranian Embassy has told the FCO that to get a visa you must either apply as part of an organised tour, or have a sponsor in Iran. Check with the Iranian embassy for more information and advice.

Check the expiry date of your visa before travelling. If you overstay your visa, you may have to remain in Iran until the situation is resolved. Some British nationals have experienced considerable difficulties trying to get visas from private online visa agencies.

If you’re transiting through Tehran airport, you should check visa requirements with your airline and the Iranian Embassy.

Women, and girls over the age of nine, should wear a headscarf in their visa application photos.

British citizens may enter and stay on Kish Island for 14 days or less by obtaining a visa on arrival. However, you must meet the following conditions, or you may be refused entry:

·         you must arrange for a certified escort/guide, through an Iranian travel agent. The Travel Agent must inform the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about your visit at least 2 weeks in advance of travel, and receive confirmation that a visa will be issued on arrival. Advice and a list of registered travel agents can be obtained from the nearest Iranian Embassy or Consulate.

·         you must have a hotel reservation prior to travelling. Your guide must pass a copy of the hotel reservation confirmation to the Immigration Office at Kish Airport at least 48 hours before your arrival, and meet you at the airport upon your arrival.

Some travellers have occasionally been denied entry to Kish without explanation. If you’re denied entry, you should follow the advice of your airline or travel agent.

Passport validity

Your passport must be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date a visa application for Iran is submitted.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) aren’t valid for entry into Iran but are accepted by the local authorities for exit from Iran. If you’ve entered Iran on a British passport which has been lost, stolen or damaged the British Embassy may be able to issue an ETD. Before leaving Iran using an ETD you’ll need to get an exit visa from the Iranian Bureau of Alien and Foreign Immigrants Affairs.

Previous travel to Israel

If your passport contains an Israeli stamp or stamps from other countries’ border crossing points with Israel, you may be refused entry to Iran.

Dual nationality

The FCO advise British-Iranian dual nationals against all but essential travel to Iran (except for areas where the FCO advise British nationals against all travel, as set out on the Summary page of this advice).

Under Iranian law, all Iranian nationals must travel to and from Iran using an Iranian passport. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be Iranian, you may be regarded as an Iranian national by the Iranian authorities – eg, if your father is Iranian, or if you’re married to an Iranian man.

In order to return to the UK you’ll need to demonstrate to the Iranian authorities that you have a right to return. At present the Iranian authorities are accepting the presentation of a British passport on departure if you don’t have a UK visa in your Iranian passport. However, the Iranian authorities could change their position on this and it’s officially illegal in Iran to hold two nationalities.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

BRAZIL: VISA APPLICATIONS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY - CHANGE TO OPENING HOURS03-07-2019
From  8th July 2019,  there will be a change at the Consulate opening hours to lodge a visa application or to collect an already issued visa

Lodging a visa application

It is mandatory to book an appointment to lodge a visa application.  From  8th July 2019,  visa applications can be lodged from Monday to Friday (except bank holidays),  from 9.45 am to 10.45 am .

Applications can be lodged in person or through a third party (e.g. trusted representative, visa courier agents etc.) for all visas, except the following, who must lodge their applications in person:

  • USA nationals applying for all visas, on a reciprocity basis;
  • Bangladeshi nationals applying for a visitor visa (VIVIS);
  • Those applying for temporary visa - residence on the ground of family reunion (VITEM XI); and
  • Those applying for student and internship visas (VITEM IV)
Visa collection

No appointment is required, but the presentation of the visa receipt is mandatory. From  8th July 2019, the already issued visas can be collected, by the applicant or an authorized third party (e.g. trusted representative, visa courier agents etc.), from Monday to Friday, (except bank holidays), from 9am to 9.45am

FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATE : CONGO 02-07-2019
Change made
Summary – The Foreign and Commonwealth Officer (FCO) advise against all travel to within 50km of the border with the Central African Republic in Likouala region; the FCO advise against all but essential travel to the Boko, Kindamba, Kinkala, Mayama, and Mindouli districts of the Pool region and the Mouyondzi district of Bouenza region with the exception of the region and city of Brazzaville.
Embassy Closures : Upcoming Embassy Closures 01-07-2019

Australia Embassy will be closed on the 22/07/2019

Venezuela Embassy will be closed on the 05/07/2019.

RUSSIA: CHANGES TO RUSSIAN INVITE PROCEDURE01-07-2019
Changes to Russia invite procedure.

1. no electronic e-invitations from July 1st 

From July 1st, electronic e-invitations will no longer be issued. This change should be temporary, but at the moment it is not clear how long it will last.

2. orders made from June 21st will be issued on paper

Due to changes in the migration office, all FMS orders which were made from June 21st, will be issued on watermarked paper even if they were ordered as e-invites.

There may be delays of 2-4 days extra due to the need to ship the original invitations

SAUDI ARABIA: FCO Change to the Level of Advice28-06-2019

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated the travel advice for Saudi Arabia with an update to the Summary and Pilgrimage section. Summary – the FCO advise against all but essential travel to Abha International Airport and its grounds, located in Asir province; updated information on recent drone attacks; Pilgrimage section – updated information following announcement of annual Hajj restrictions imposed by the Directorate of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia.  The relevant extracts of the advice are below for your reference.
 
The overall level of advice has changed.
 
Summary
On 12 June 2019, Abha International Airport (Asir province) was hit by a missile which resulted in 26 civilians being injured. There were further drone attacks on the same airport on 14 June and 23 June 2019, the latter of which resulted in the death of one civilian and injured 21 others. Critical national infrastructure in the provinces of Najran, Jazan and Asir (including Abha International Airport) are likely to continue to be targeted.
 
 
Pilgrimage
The Directorate of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia has announced its annual restriction on Muslim visitors flying to Jeddah, Madinah and Taif for reasons other than the Hajj pilgrimage. From 3 July to 16 August 2019, Muslim visitors will only be allowed to board flights to Jeddah, Madinah and Taif if they have a valid Hajj visa. Muslim visitors with business or visit visas will still be able to enter Saudi Arabia through other entry points. This regulation does not apply to Muslim travellers with valid Saudi residency permits.
 
 
The overall level of the advice has changed. There are restrictions within the advice.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10km of the border with Yemen.
The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • areas between 10km and 80km from the border with Yemen
  • Abha International Airport and its grounds, located in Asir province
 
View the travel advice in full here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/saudi-arabia
 
Please click here for ABTA legal guidance on change in FCO advice for a resort or area.

IRAN: Delays getting Iranian Visas27-06-2019
Iran

British nationals need a visa to travel to Iran. You should make your visa application well in advance of your date of travel. The application process for an Iranian visa can be long and unpredictable.

The Iranian Embassy has told the FCO that to get a visa you must either apply as part of an organised tour, or have a sponsor in Iran. Check with the Iranian embassy for more information and advice.

Check the expiry date of your visa before travelling. If you overstay your visa, you may have to remain in Iran until the situation is resolved. Some British nationals have experienced considerable difficulties trying to get visas from private online visa agencies.

If you’re transiting through Tehran airport, you should check visa requirements with your airline and the Iranian Embassy.

Previous travel to Israel

If your passport contains an Israeli stamp or stamps from other countries’ border crossing points with Israel, you may be refused entry to Iran.

RUSSIA: LATEST TRAVEL ADVICE FROM FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE26-06-2019
Russia travel advice

9:57am, 26 June 2019: Latest update: Entry requirements section (Visas) – updated information on visa processing times and biometrics; (Cruise ships) – updated information if your passport is lost/stolen while ashore

FCO TRAVEL ADVICE UPDATES : BANGLADESH, ETHIOPIA, THAILAND, KUWAIT25-06-2019

Bangladesh

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

Although British nationals are eligible for visa on arrival for a period of 1 month for the purpose of official duty, business, investment and tourism, we recommend obtaining a visa before travelling. We have received some reports that British nationals have been issued shorter visas or refused entry into Bangladesh when applying for a visa on arrival. Contact the Bangladesh High Commission London for information on visas. You should also be aware that overstaying your visa could risk the imposition of penalty fines for overstaying.  

Ethiopia

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to:

·         the four woredas (districts) (Akobo, Wantawo, Jikawo and Lare) of the Nuer zone and the Jore woreda of the Agnuak zone of the Gambella region

·         the Nogob (previously Fik), Jarar (previously Degehabur), Shabelle (previously Gode), Korahe and Dollo (previously Warder) zones of the Ethiopian Somali Region

·         within 10 km of the border with South Sudan

·         within 100 km of the Ethiopian border with Somalia and Kenya in the Afder and Liben zones of Ethiopia’s Somali region

·         within 10 km of the border with Sudan and the other parts of the Kenyan border, with the exception or principal roads/towns

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

·         within 10 km of the border with Eritrea, with the exception of: the main road through Axum and Adigrat; tourist sites close to the main roads (eg Debre Damo and Yeha); and open border crossings with Eritrea and the main roads to these border crossings. You should take local advice and not walk away from roads or towns unaccompanied

·         all other areas of the Ethiopian Somali Region, including Siti zone, Fafan zone (with the exception of the main road and railway line to Djibouti), and the areas of Liben and Afder zones more than 100km from the Somalia and Kenya borders

·         the woredas (districts) of Tsegede, Mirab Armacho and Tach Armacho in North Gonder zone

·         the two woredas (districts) of the Agnuak zone of the Gambella region that border on South Sudan (Dima and, Goge), Etang Special Woreda, and the Gambella wildlife reserve.  


Thailand

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to areas within the provinces on the Thai-Malaysia border, including:

·         Pattani

·         Yala

·         Narathiwat

·         Southern Songkhla province. Our advice against all but essential travel does not include areas north of and including the A43 road between Hat Yai and Sakom, and areas north-west of and including the train line which runs between Hat Yai and Pedang Besar.

Consular support is not available in the parts of Thailand where we advise against all but essential travel.

Kuwait

British nationals travelling by air can get a free tourist/visit visa issued at the airport upon arrival, which allows the holder to reside in Kuwait for 3 months. For further information contact the Kuwait Embassy in London:

Embassy of Kuwait 2 Albert Gate London SW1X 7JU Telephone: 020 7590 3400

You can now apply for an e-visa before arrival. https://evisa.moi.gov.kw/evisa/home_e.do

On arrival in Kuwait, the immigration authorities may ask to see evidence of return or onward travel, a sponsor’s letter and hotel confirmation.

If you are arriving by land or sea, you should obtain visas in advance from the Kuwaiti Embassy in London.

Passport validity

For visit visas, obtained on arrival or in advance, your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Kuwait.

For residency visas, your passport should be valid for a minimum of 2 years.

Brexit update: Important information for customers and businesses Update 812-04-2019

Following the latest European Council summit on Brexit, a further delay has been agreed to the UK’s departure from the European Union to Thursday 31 October 2019, at the latest.

 

This removes the threat of no-deal in the short-term, provided that the European Parliamentary elections take place as laid out in the Statutory Instrument that has been approved by Parliament, and covers the entire Summer season.

 

The Brexit extension provides certainty that people will be able to continue to travel to the European Union exactly as they do today, at least until the end of October 2019.

 

Advice for Members

 

We are also recommending that Members continue with contingency planning, as the no-deal scenario remains a possibility later in the year. We will continue to update our advice to Members in the coming weeks.

 

There is comprehensive advice and information for Members regarding Brexit available within the Member zone on ABTA.com https://www.abta.com/member-zone

 

Advice for Customers 
 

ABTA has updated its Brexit advice for travellers to reflect today’s developments – abta.com/Brexit https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/brexit-advice-for-travellers
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