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Coming Soon: India Visas on Arrival?

April 12th, 2014

Heading to India? Indian visa regulations are changing.  Here’s what you need to know to plan your trip:

New Indian Visa Rules

Last month, the Indian government announced that they plan to expand the country’s visa-on-arrival program. Currently, only citizens of 11 lucky countries are eligible for visas on arrival. Those countries are: Japan, Singapore, Finland, Luxembourg, New Zealand , Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar and Indonesia.

One country missing from that list: The United States.  US citizens are required to apply in advance for an Indian visa, even for short tourist stays. However, times are changing and the Indian government is trying to make it easier for tourists to visit.

Indian Visa On Arrival Details

Once the new rules are in effect, US citizens planning to visit India as tourists will be able to obtain a visa on arrival when they fly into one of the following nine airports:

  • Delhi
  • Mumbai
  • Kolkata
  • Chennai
  • Cochin
  • Hyderabad
  • Goa
  • Trivandrum

To save time at the airport, tourists will also have the option of filling out the paperwork and paying the fee online before their trip, and then picking up the visa when they arrive in India.

According to the Times of India, Indian visas on arrival will be single-entry and valid for 30 days.

But don’t pack your bags without a visa in hand yet…this change won’t happen overnight. Planning minister Rajiv Shukla told the Times of India:

“We have decided to extend visa-on-arrival to tourists from 180 nations. It will take 5-6 months to put the infrastructure in place. We hope to implement this from the next tourist session beginning October.”

Who Still Needs to Apply in Advance?

Not everyone traveling to India will be able to take advantage of visas on arrival. If you’re going for reasons other than simply tourism or you plan to stay for extended amounts of time, you may still need to apply in advance.   A visa expediter can review your itinerary and make sure you have all the documents you need before you depart.

The details of India’s visa on arrival program may change as we get closer to October, so be sure to check back for updates and the most current information!

Where to Apply for a Russian Visa

March 14th, 2014

Planning to visit Russia in the near future? You’ll need a visa. But where do you get one?

Russian Embassies and Consulates

Getting a Russian visa is an infamously bureaucratic process. If you’re applying by yourself instead of using a visa expeditor, you must apply in person at the appropriate Russian embassy or consulate.

There are five Russian consulate offices in the United States. Each has its own service area, or jurisdiction, based on your home address.  To figure out which office services your area, see the list below:

  • Washington, DC

Address: 2641 Tunlaw Road, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20007

Phone number for visa questions: 202-939-8913202-939-8913

Jurisdiction: Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, Puerto Rico.

  • New York City

Address: 9 East 91 Street, New York, NY 10128

Phone number for visa questions: (212) 348-0926(212) 348-0926

Jurisdiction: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

  • San Francisco, CA 

Address: 2790 Green Street San Francisco, CA 94123

Phone number for visa questions: (415) 928-6878(415) 928-6878 , (415) 202-9800(415) 202-9800

Jurisdiction: Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah.

  • Seattle, Washington

Address: 600 University Street, Suite 2510 Seattle, WA 98101

Phone number for visa questions: (206) 728-1910(206) 728-1910

Jurisdiction: Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

  • Houston, TX

Address: 1333 West Loop South, Ste. 1300  Houston, TX 77027

Phone number for visa questions: (713) 337-3300(713) 337-3300

Jurisdiction: Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas.

Russian Visa by Mail

What if you aren’t lucky enough to live in or near one of the five cities listed above? Can you apply by mail? Unfortunately, not any more. According to the Russian Embassy website,

“In order to expedite and improve visa obtaining process as well as for security concerns the Consular Division is no more processing visa applications by mail, starting from June 1, 2010.”

Russian Visa Online

You can fill out and print the Russian visa application form online here, but you cannot apply online.

If you need a Russian visa and don’t want to travel or to deal with the Russian Embassy on your own, use a visa expediting company. In fact, even if you live near an Embassy, you’ll have an easier time navigating the red tape if you go through an expediter.  A visa expediting company walks you through the application process and deals with the Embassy or consulate on your behalf, helping you avoid common errors that slow processing time.

Also, you can ship your application materials to the expediter (generally using a carrier like FedEx), possibly saving you money on gas, flight, hotels and time off work.

Need a Russian visa? We can help!

New Chinese Visa Rules for 2014

February 6th, 2014

If you’re planning a trip to China, you should be aware that Chinese visa regulations have changed over the past year. Here’s a summary of the changes, all of which became effective on September 1st, 2013:

New Visa Types

  • M Visa- Previously, business trips to China required an F visa.  Now, under the new Chinese visa rules, you would apply for an M visa for most business trips.
  • Q Visa- The Q visa is a new category specifically for reuniting family members, which used to be covered by the L visa. There are two types of Q visas: the Q1 visa is for long-term stays of 180 days or more. The Q2 visa is for short-term stays. To be covered under a Q visa, the family members in question must be Chinese citizens or permanent residents.
  • S Visa- The S Visa is for spouses, parents, minor children, and parents-in-law who are visiting or staying with foreigners who reside in China for work, study, or other purposes. Here again, the S1 visa is for long-term stays and the S2 visa is for short visits. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Apply for a Chinese Business Visa

January 25th, 2014

If a business trip to China is on your calendar, getting a Chinese visa should be your top priority. Here’s what you need to know before you apply.

As of September 2013, most business travelers to China will need to apply for an “M” visa. (This is a change from previous years, as business trips used to be covered under an “F” visa.) However, you may need to apply for a different category depending on the type of work you do and the details of your trip, so do consult with the appropriate Chinese consulate or with a visa specialist.

For an M visa, you will need the following documents:

  • Your passport. The expiration date must be at least six months away, and you depending on which consulate you’re applying at, you’ll need one to two blank visa pages in the back.
  • A photocopy of the biographical data page of your passport and your passport photo.
  • One completed Chinese visa application form. All questions on the form must be answered. Enter “not applicable” for questions which don’t apply to you, but do not leave them blank.
  • One passport-sized photo of yourself.
  • Copies of all previous Chinese visas along with copies of the data page of the passport which contain them.
  • Photocopies of previous Chinese passports, if you are a former Chinese citizen.
  • An invitation letter or trade fair invitation.

Unless you use an expediting service, you must apply in person at the appropriate embassy or consulate for your home address. There is an embassy in Washington, DC and there are consulates in New York, NY; Chicago, IL; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Houston, TX. This map will show you where to apply.

You cannot submit a Chinese visa application directly to the embassy/consulate by mail. However, if you can’t or don’t wish to apply in person, you can apply by mail using a visa expediting service who will go over your itinerary to make sure you’re applying for the right visas, help you gather documents, and double check all of your paperwork to avoid common mistakes that can result in the delay or denial of your Chinese business visa.

Planning a trip to China? Contact us today!

Travel Visa Service: 4 Countries Worth The Money

December 17th, 2013

Applying for a travel visa for one of the countries on this list? You’ll probably want to seek professional help with the application process from an experienced group of experts.

India

Currently, India’s visa system is complex and can be confusing, even if you’re just going as a tourist. In fact, the US Department of State notes that “Indian visa regulations change frequently, often with little advance notice, and changes may be poorly advertised and inconsistently enforced.”

With 16 different types of Indian visas to choose from with varying requirements, and a sometimes nit-picky application process, it helps to have a professional visa expediter to guide you through the process and act as your advocate.

China

With an alphabet soup of different visa types, you need to make sure you apply for the right one and that you have the appropriate supporting documents and invitation letter when necessary.

if you don’t use a third-party visa courier, China requires you to apply for a Chinese visa in person. Unless you live in or near one of the 5 Chinese Consulates General locations, you’ll save travel and work time using an expediting service.

Russia

According to the State Department, “Russian visa requirements are complex, and U.S. citizens must take care they do not unintentionally violate entry and exit regulations.”

Need we say more? Visa experts can help you navigate this maze of red tape!

Brazil

Brazil has what is called a “jurisdictional” visa system, which means you must apply at the correct consulate based on your home address. Their rather long list of required documents, include formal invitations for conferences or family, proof of yellow fever vaccination, requirements for children and more. In addition, each consulate can have its own set of requirements.

For example, if you apply in Houston or you live in Connecticut or Rhode Island, they not only require you to submit a copy of your driver’s license, you also have to get it notarized. If you’re applying in Washington, DC and you need proof of yellow fever vaccination, you’ll need your original vaccine certificate as opposed to a copy.

These are just some examples, wouldn’t you rather be planning your trip to the rainforest or deciding which beaches to sunbathe on? Let us help you get your Brazilian visa, and you’ll have more time to spend planning the perfect trip.

If you’re traveling to one of these countries (or anywhere else that requires a visa), we’re here to help. Contact us today!

Russian Visa Checklist

November 20th, 2013

Russia’s complex visa system may seem like it’s out to get you, but this checklist will help you navigate it successfully.

Here’s what you’ll need:

√ Travel Arrangements

Russian visa requirements have eased up just a bit in recent years. If you’re going on a tourist visa, you no longer need an “invitation.” However, you do have to provide official confirmation of your travel dates from your hotel (or wherever you’re staying.) So, make your travel plans first, and then apply for a visa.

Also, keep in mind that if you’re applying for certain types of visas, you will need an invitation from a sponsor. RushMyTravelVisa can help you determine the visa requirements for your trip, and obtain an invitation if necessary.

√ Check Your Passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months past the date you plan to leave Russia. Russia likes to make a statement with its visa, so you’ll also need no less than two blank pages in the back. If your passport expiration date is looming or you need more pages, take care of that prior to applying for your Russian visa. If you’re in a hurry, RushMyPassport can help!

√ Get Insured

Russia requires you to be covered by a medical insurance plan during your stay there. Think you’re already covered? You might not be- most US medical plans won’t cover you overseas.  Find a medical plan that does- you may need proof to get your visa.

√ Say Cheese

You’ll need one passport-style photo to go with your visa application. If you wear glasses, check your passport photo to see if you’re wearing glasses in it. If you are, keep the glasses on for this photo shoot, too.  If not, take them off.

√ Get Connected

Fill out your Russian visa application online
here, then print it and sign it before submitting to the appropriate Russian consulate.
Please note that the Russian Consulate may request additional documents as well, including but not limited to bank statements, a statement from your employer about how much money you make, documents related to property ownership, and a certificate that gives information about everyone in your family.

√ Consider Getting Help

On that note, unless you’re already intimately familiar with the Russian visa process (and perhaps even if you are), using a visa expediting company like RushMyTravelVisa saves you time and stress.  Our visa experts can review your itinerary, determine what types of visas you’ll need for your trip, help you gather the required documents and submit the application to the Russian consulate on your behalf.  Using RushMyTravelVisa, you can avoid common errors that could compromise your Russian visa application.

Need a Russian visa? Don’t get lost in a maze of red tape. Apply with us today!

Photo Credit: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Ed Yourdon

5 Facts About Indian Visa Services

November 4th, 2013

Planning a trip to India? You’ll need an Indian visa. Here are 5 things you need to know before you apply:

1) Apply ahead of time.

Some countries offer visas on arrival to US citizens. For example, if you visit Mexico, you simply go through immigration and get a visa stamped in to your passport- no need to apply ahead of time. However, India does not offer visas on arrival. You must apply in advance, or you will be denied entry.

2) Check your passport.

As long as your passport is valid for the length of time you plan to be in India, you’re good, right? Wrong. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your arrival in India, and it must have at least 2 blank pages in the back. You won’t get your visa if your passport doesn’t meet these qualifications.

3) Sign on the dotted line…and then sign again.

Indian visa applications require not one, but two signatures : on page one, in the box underneath the photo section, and on the dotted line at the bottom of page two. Children who are two young to sign their names must “sign” with their thumbprint.

4) Mistakes will cost you.

Double-check and triple-check your visa application before you send it in, or it will be rejected and you could end up paying extra fees (not to mention having your vacation ruined.) As this notice from Indian visa processor BLS International states:

“All Visa applicants are herewith instructed to exercise due care while filling up the application form and Order Form online for Indian Visas, select correct duration of Visa, Type of Visa and send the requisite fees only. Any discrepancy in these details may result in the rejection of Visa Application; any excess fees will not be refunded and no claims entertained further.”

What’s more, these “mistakes” can include tiny details that you wouldn’t think would matter. For example, your name and signature must match what’s on your passport exactly, or the application will be rejected. Likewise, if your signature spills out of the box provided for it on the application, you’ll need to start from scratch with a new copy. When it comes time to sign, remember: stay within the lines. The lines are your friends.

5) An expediting company will make your life easier.

Using an expediting company like RushMyTravelVisa makes the process of getting an Indian visa significantly less headache-inducing. Our trained visa experts guide you through the process, help you gather the documents you need and help catch common errors before your application goes out. Then, we make sure your paperwork gets to the correct visa processing office for your state of residency, and deal with the processing agency for you.

Need an Indian visa? Contact us today!

Photo Credit: Attribution Some rights reserved by mckaysavage

Preparing for a Trip To China

October 24th, 2013

Some rights reserved by Dainis Matisons

So you’re planning a trip to China? Be prepared- you won’t make it there if you overlook these three steps!

Step 1- Passport, Please

To travel to China, you need:

  •  A US passport, valid for at least 6 months after you plan to travel. If you applying for a one year multiple entry visa, you need to have at least a year left on your passport.
  • Enough blank visa pages in the back to accommodate all of the visas and stamps you’ll receive on your journey.
  • The appropriate Chinese visa.

If you need a new passport or more pages, this must be taken care of before you apply for your Chinese visa. You can do it by yourself, but if you’re on a deadline, an expediting company like RushMyPassport cuts through the red tape and makes the process simple and quick.

Step 2- Getting a Chinese Visa

Once you have your passport, you can apply for a Chinese visa.  Do not skip this step, and don’t leave it until the last minute, either!  China doesn’t offer visas on arrival, so if you don’t have one you will be fined, denied entry and shipped back home at your own expense.

China offers a veritable alphabet soup of different visa types. Each type of visa has its own application requirements, and applying for the wrong type of visa or submitting the wrong documents with your application puts your trip in jeopardy. The process can be confusing; review all the required paperwork carefully before you submit your application to the  appropriate Chinese embassy or consulate office. For a simpler experience and faster processing, a visa expediting company like RushMyTravelVisa can offer invaluable assistance.

Stay Healthy 

Getting sick can really ruin your vacation. The CDC recommends that you get current on all  your shots before you travel to China. This may mean getting boosters to protect against childhood favorites like polio, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria and even chickenpox!

Depending on where in China you’re traveling and what you’re doing, you may need additional vaccines for diseases like Hepatitis A and typhoid fever.  Check the CDC website or contact a local travel medicine clinic for more details.

Then, there’s the matter of yellow fever. If you will be traveling directly from the US to China, you don’t need to worry about it. However, if you’ll be arriving from another country where yellow fever is a problem, you’ll need a yellow fever shot to get into China.

Cut Through the Red Tape

Once you have a passport, getting a visa is the single most important part of the trip preparation process.  Forget to pack deodorant? You can always buy more. Forget your visa? No amount of money or tears will get you past immigration.

With so much riding on this one piece of paper, it pays to have expert help with your Chinese visa application. RushMyTravelVisa helps you navigate the required paperwork and deals with the Chinese Embassy on your behalf, so you can focus on planning your trip, packing your bags and remembering other important items (like that deodorant.)

Need a Chinese visa? Cut through the red tape- contact us today!

The 2014 Winter Olympics: What You Need to Know

October 15th, 2013

Want to see the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia? Here are 5 things you need to know:

How to Get Tickets

Before you can begin planning your trip, you need tickets. Cosport.com is the only official ticket reseller for US residents. If you buy tickets anywhere else, you are likely to get scammed.  On the Cosport website, you can purchase individual tickets or get a package that includes hotel booking and/or access to the Cosport Hospitality Center. When buying tickets for individual events, allow two to three hours in between events- it may take that long to get from one venue to the next.

Spectator Passes

You cannot gain entrance to the 2014 Winter Olympics with just a ticket alone. You must also obtain a “spectator pass” involving a background check by the Russian government. Everyone over the age of 2 needs a spectator pass. Fortunately,  once you have your ticket, you can apply for the spectator pass onlinefree of charge.

Hotels

Don’t wait to book your hotel room. According to the US Embassy in Moscow,hotel room shortages are to be expected during the Olympic period. Also, rooms may be expensive. In theory, the Russian government has capped room rates during the 2014 Winter Olympics, but according the Embassy many hotels are not abiding by the caps.

Transportation

A shuttle will be available to take Olympic guests between the Olympic sports venues and the city of Sochi. The shuttle is free to guests with valid tickets for an Olympic event taking place the same day. Otherwise, your best bet is to use public transportation. Driving in Russia is a bit of an adventure at the best of times for most Americans, and traffic is guaranteed to be horrendous.  Go here for a brief description of the different transportation options available in the city of Sochi.

Getting a Russian Visa

According to the US Embassy in Moscow, “There is no indication that ticket holders for Olympic events will be exempt from the visa regime currently in place between Russia and the United States.” You will need a Russian visa. The State Department calls Russia’s visa system “restrictive and complicated.”  Applying can be a headache; mistakes are easy to make and extremely costly. Plus, you can’t legally resell your Olympic tickets, so good luck recouping the money you’ve already spent if you don’t get the visa you need. Why take chances with your Olympic dream? Get help from someone who knows the system! At RushMyTravelVisa, we can walk you through the paperwork, help you collect the necessary documents,  and deal with the Russian consulate on your behalf. Don’t get caught up in red tape. Apply for your Russian visa with us today! Photo Credit: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by caseyyee

Ethiopian Visa Requirements to Visit the Konso Cultural Landscape

July 17th, 2011

This month’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the newest additions to the list. Ethiopia’s Konso Cultural Landscape was just designated as a World Heritage Site this year. The Konso Cultural Landscape is the ancestral homeland of the Konso people, a group of farmers and herders living in South Central Ethiopia.

According to UNESCO, the site “constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to its dry hostile environment. The landscape demonstrates the shared values, social cohesion and engineering knowledge of its communities.”

In addition to showcasing the Konso people’s traditional lifestyle, the Cultural Landscape also contains funeral monuments called wagas. These wooden statues are carved in the likeness of the deceased as well as his family and the person or animal he died fighting. UNESCO says that this funeral tradition is “on the verge of disappearing,” so see them while you can.

To visit Ethiopia, you will need a visa. US citizens flying in to Bole International Airport may apply for an Ethiopian visa on arrival, but be aware that this may complicate your entry into the country. In fact, the Department of State says that tourists arriving without visas may be “significantly delayed.”

If the prospect of being “significantly delayed” in a foreign country after a long flight makes you want to tear your hair out, stop and take a breath. There is another way: you can apply for your Ethiopian visa in advance before you leave the country.

Also, please note that if you’re entering Ethiopia by land, you have to apply for a visa ahead of time.

To get an Ethiopian visa, you need the following documents:

  • 1 completed Ethiopian visa application form
  • 1 passport-sized photo of yourself
  • A copy of your round-trip itinerary
  • Your US passport

RushMyTravelVisa makes getting an Ethiopian visa before your trip easy and quick. We know you have more important things to do, like packing, so we walk you through the application process to reduce the chance of errors. Then, we deliver your paperwork to the appropriate Ethiopian Embassy or Consulate for the fastest possible service.

Apply for your Ethiopian visa today!