Tag Archives: Visa

How strong is your passport!

Two thousand four hundred and sixty-odd years ago in Persia, King Artaxerxes granted one of his officials, Nehemiah, leave of absence to travel to Judea. With him, the King sent a letter to the “governors beyond the river” requesting safe passage for his servant as he crossed the Euphrates on his way to Jerusalem.

Thus began the story of the passport. Two and a half millennia later, one in three Americans, nine in ten Norwegians and 5% of Chinese have one. The UK prints five million of them a year, or one every 2.5 seconds, at a secret location in the north of England. Three million of them are flying 30,000 feet above you as we speak.

Of course, passports have taken on additional functions and evolved in both style and content since the days of Nehemiah, but they still serve the same essential purpose: granting its bearer freedom of movement across borders.

Also read: Sweden has the strongest passport in the world

A passport’s source of value is the extent to which it is acknowledged as an entry permit to jurisdictions around the world and while some passports are hardly worth the paper on which they are printed, others are worth their weight in gold (and sometimes a lot more, actually: weighing in at about 25 grams, a Cypriot passport, if you’re buying one, is worth 100 times its weight in gold).

American passports, for example, are in high demand, and for good reason: they afford access to 174 countries and territories around the world, including most of Europe. Of course, holding a passport from a superpower can also have its disadvantages; nobody ever hijacked a plane threatening to kill all the Estonians.

Afghan passport-holders, conversely, have visa-free access to only 25 countries (the land beyond the Euphrates not being one of them) and have no choice but to endure byzantine and bureaucratic ordeals to obtain one even to travel their neighbours in Central Asia.
And if you are interested in knowing in how your Indian passport fares in the world, than Indian passport takes you visa-free or with visa on arrival to 59 countries. So long way to go for Indian passport to become stronger.

The 25 Most Powerful Passports Around The World

The 25 Most Powerful Passwords

Infographic by Extra Passport

 

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Thailand makes Visa on Arrival costlier

Thailand Visa

Indians love Thailand and one of the reason has been Visa on Arrival facility. Hence they can just buy the tickets, pick their passport and head to airport for one of their favourite destinations. Its still the same, but it is going to hurt more to your pocket now as Thailand has just doubled the Visa on Arrival fees. The new fees gets effective from 27 September 2016. So, all those who had planned to visit Thailand during this autumn break or puja holidays, will have to shell out some extra money.

Ministry of Interior of Thailand vide a order No. 30 B.E. 2559 (2016) dated 1 July B.E. 2559 (2016), has said that it is going to increase its VoA fee from 1,000 to 2,000 THB. The new fees is just about 3850 Indian Rupees (as on today’s exchange rate). Tourists from Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan are entitled to apply for VoA at 42 designated immigration checkpoints, which will allow tourists to stay in the country up to 15 days.

42 designated immigration checkpoints in Thailand to apply for the VoA are as follows:

1. Suvarnabhumi Airport, Samut Prakarn

2. Don Muang International Airport, Bangkok

3. Chiangmai International Airport, Chiangmai

4. Phuket International Airport, Phuket

5. Hatyai International Airport, Songkhla

6. U Tapao Airport, Rayong

7. Mae Sai Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai

8. Chiang Saen Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai

9. Chiang Khong Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai

10. Betong Immigration Checkpoint, Yala

11. Sadao Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla

12. Samui Airport, Surat Thani

13. Sukhothai International Airport, Tak Immigration Checkpoint

14. Bangkok Harbour Immigration Checkpoint, Bangkok

15. Sri Racha Immigration Checkpoint, Chonburi

16. Mabtaput Immigration Checkpoint, Rayong

17. Nong Khai Immigration Checkpoint, Nong Khai

18. Samui Immigration Checkpoint, Surat Thani

19. Phuket Immigration Checkpoint, Phuket

20. Satun Immigration Checkpoint, Satun

21. Krabi Immigration Checkpoint, Krabi

22. Songkhla Harbour Immigraion Checkpoint, Songkhla

23. Chiangrai Airport Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai

24. Surat Thani Airport Immigration Checkpoint, Surat Thani

25. Sattahip Harbour Immigration Checkpoint, Chonburi

26. Khlong Yai Immigration Checkpoint, Trat

27. Pong Nam Ron Immigration Checkpoint, Chanthaburi

28. Aranyaprathet Immigration Checkpoint, Sakaeo

29. Mukdahan Immigration Checkpoint, Mukdahan

30. Tak Immigration Checkpoint, Tak

31. Padang Besar Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla

32. Su-ngai Kolok Immigration Checkpoint, Narathiwat

33. Nong Khai Immigration Checkpoint, Nong Khai

34. Bueng Kan Immigration Checkpoint, Bueng Kan

35. Phibun Mangsahan Immigration Checkpoint, Ubon Ratchathani

36. Tha Li Immigration Checkpoint, Loei

37. Nakhon Phanom Immigration Checkpoint, Nakhon Phanom

38. Nan Immigration Checkpoint, Nan

39. Ban Prakob Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla

40. Khuan Don Immigration Checkpoint, Satun

41. Tak Bai Immigration Checkpoint, Narathiwat

42. Bukit Tal Immigration Checkpoint, Narathiwat

 

 

Sweden has the strongest passport in the world

Top10As any avid traveller knows, passports are the key to adventures. Passports are the ultimate “don’t leave home without it” item, but the nationality of your passport can have a major effect on your travel plans and time abroad. To clue you in on the effects your passport can have, GoEuro has undertaken the task of analysing passports from 50 countries around the world to discover which nationalities’ passports are the most useful in making your way around the globe.

IndiaThe US passport has long been considered the most powerful passport in the world – until now. GoEuro ranks the US passport at number five. Taking the top spot in GoEuro’s poll is the Swedish passport which allows its holders access to 174 countries and costs $43 to renew, only one hour’s work on minimum wage. The US passport in comparison costs $135 to renew, a total of 19 hours of work at minimum wage. Passport rankings were based on visa free access as well as various other factors. The ability of a citizen to obtain a passport is a key point when considering the passport value, which is why we also factored in data such as pricing, length of validity, and the amount of hours a citizen must work to obtain their passport. All factors were weighted and scored to produce the ultimate passport ranking. India ranks 48th in the list, just a notch below China.

Passports in numbers

PowerIt costs how much? While the US does have one of the most expensive passports globally, it is peanuts compared to Turkey’s passport that costs $251 to renew. At the other end of the scale, UAE’s passport is the cheapest at just $14.

SwedenHow many hours? While working for 19 hours to save for a passport does seem a bit extreme, spare a thought for citizens of Liberia who have to work a whopping 278 hours at minimum wage to save the $50 needed to renew their passport.

AustriaWhere can you go? Holders of Sweden, Finland, Germany, USA and United Kingdom passports have the greatest freedom of movement with visa free access to 174 countries. However at the bottom of the list is the Afghanistan passport which only allows access to just 28 countries.

CanadaTo determine which factors would be use in ranking these passports GoEuro commissioned a poll to find out what contributes to a passport’s power. The company ranked the passports based on visa free access as well as cost of renewing the passport, length of validity and the amount of hours a one must work to obtain their passport. All factors were weighted and scored to produce the ultimate passport ranking.FinlandMalaysia

Canada shifts to multiple entry visa

Canada1Canada has announced that multiple-entry visas (MEVs) will be available to qualified travellers allowing visitors to come and go from the country for six months at a time for up to 10 years without having to reapply each time. There will be a single fee of $100 CAD for the processing of either an application for a single- or multiple-entry visa. The fee for the temporary resident visa (TRV) program is reduced from $150 to $100 for the processing of either a single- or multiple-entry visa. By harmonizing the single- and multiple-entry visa fees, the visa application process will become simpler for applicants and promote tourism and trade by increasing the number of eligible travellers who are able to make multiple visits to Canada.

Canada2It is good news for travellers. The introduction of multiple-entry visas for Indian travellers will moderate their visa hassles and make their visit to Canada easier. The shift will certainly help India generate more outbound figures to Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has increased other fees in the temporary resident program, effective February 6, 2014. These changes will reduce the burden on Canadian taxpayers and ensure that fees closely reflect the real cost of processing applications.

CanadaThis is an important step in modernizing Canada’s processes for travellers, and makes the country more competitive as a preferred destination for visitors and business travellers alike. The multiple Entry Visas are a fast, flexible and convenient option for frequent visitors to Canada that will incent return travel by those issued Canadian visas, and facilitate travel by removing the need for repeat applications and processing fees. Every year more than 35 million people visit Canada. In 2012, Canada issued a record number of visitor visas with almost one million visas approved, representing an increase of almost 40 percent since 2004. The multiple-entry visa is particularly popular with visitors from India, China and Mexico who hold 10-year passports and have been eligible to apply for a 10-year visa.

Canada3CTC-India recently launched the Canadian Signature Experiences (CSE) collection in India to attract increasing number of visitors from the country, considering its potential as one of the top global outbound tourism source markets. The collection promises visitors an exclusive made-in-Canada visitor experience that engages them in a series of memorable travel activities revealed over time that are inherently personal, engage the senses, and make connections on an emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and social level.

India extends visa-on-arrival to 180 countries

Foreign TouristsIt will soon be an easy and open season for international tourists headed for India. Tourists intending to travel to India from up to 180 countries will not be required to personally visit their local consulates to get visas but will be able to avail of Visa on Arrival facility at a number of international airports in India.  Last October, the facility was extended to travellers from about 40 countries but in its bid to make India an attractive and more tourist-friendly place to visit, the government decided to push the initiative further to include more countries.

In a significant step towards liberalization of the visa regime, the government of India on Wednesday cleared two initiatives: visa on arrival and electronic travel authorization (ETA) for all countries barring eight “prior reference” countries including Pakistan, Iran, Sri Lanka and China. ETA will allow foreign travelers to apply for a visa from home and receive an online confirmation in five working days. It will take 5-6 months to put the infrastructure in place. Hopefully this will be implemented from the next tourist session beginning October.

Visa-on-arrival at 9 airports initially

The extension of visa-on-arrival and electronic travel authorization to citizens of 180 countries ndiwill be implemented initially at nine airports including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Cochin, Hyderabad, Goa and Trivandrum. Both facilities are likely to be implemented by the end of the year.  India currently offers visa-on-arrival to tourists from 11 countries like Finland, the Philippines, Singapore and Japan. The decision was taken in a meeting convened by the Planning Commission that included representatives from the PMO, ministries of home affairs, external affairs and tourism.  ETA will be available for a 30-day period from the date of the tourist’s arrival in India while VoA will also be for the same period for a single entry. Nationals from Pakistan, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Somalia were not included in the scheme, presumably for security reasons.

The facility will provide a major boost to the country’s tourism sector.  A separate website would be set up for extending the facility to foreigners intending to visit India as tourists. To get a visa, they would need to apply on the designated website along with the required fees. They would be granted an electronic version of the visa within three days.

Tourism industry feels that extension of the Visa-on-Arrival facility to travellers from 180 countries is an excellent step forward taken by India, and will certainly give a big fillip to inbound tourism, which is languishing far below its potential considering the diversity of experiences that India offers. It will help break down the barrier to impulse travel and open up the country to those who decide at the last minute. In addition, the proposal to allow travellers to apply for visas online and receive the electronic visa within 5  days, eases up the entire process of travelling to India. Travel industry now expects this to significantly boost demand for hotels, flights and land transport within India and act as a catalyst to economic growth as well.

Official sources said that reforms include simplifying online visa system, relaxing visa regime for conferences and senior citizen foreign tourists. Airports like Goa, Gaya and Amritsar which have good number of foreign tourist arrivals may be included in the list of international airports where Visa on Arrival to foreign tourists would be made available. At present visa facility on arrival is available at international airports of Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Kochi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. In 2012, India received 6.58 million foreign tourists, up 4.3 per cent over the previous year. India’s foreign exchange earnings in 2012 from tourists were $17.74 billion.

India to extend Visa on Arrival to all senior travelers, pensioners

Foreign tourists  performing Hindu rituals at Haridwar
Foreign tourists performing Hindu rituals at Haridwar

In a decision that could increase foreign exchange earning from tourism for the country in future, the Planning Commission of India has recommended a comprehensive overhaul in the visa facilitation process for travelers intending to visit India. In a joint meeting of the officials of the related ministries of Home Affairs, External Affairs, Tourism, etc., it was recommended to extend Visa on Arrival (VoA) facilities to citizens of 40 more countries. The Commission also recommended VoA for senior citizens and pensioners from all countries, as well as setting up online visa processing system to enhance smoother facilitation of visas for overseas travelers.

The 40 countries which would be included in the list for VoA include the USA, UK, Russia, Germany, France, China, Canada, Brazil, UAE, Italy, Sweden, Holland, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Belgium and Ireland, among others. However, these recommendations would take some time to see the light of the day. For implementation, the Home Affairs Ministry has to amend the visa manual, which would require brainstorming at different levels. The Planning Commission’s recommendation is expected to speed up the processes required to ease the existing restrictions. The joint meeting has empowered Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Home Affairs to prepare a road map for infrastructure and manpower required for these services.

Tourism industry believes that the government’s move is timely and will help inbound tourism in a big way. The other significant move to increase the number of airports that will be allowed to issue Visa on Arrival is welcome as secondary  airports such as Goa, Gaya and Chandigarh receive international flights and  tourists who want to avail Visa on Arrival can fly directly to these secondary points, without the additional burden of landing in metro airports and then travelling to these destinations.

Visa on Arrival facility to tourists from UK, USA, France and Germany, which have been traditional source markets for Indian tourism sector and which contribute close to 40 per cent of our inbound arrivals will have a very positive impact both from a point of earning more foreign exchange but also help in the development of our inbound tourism whose share is less than one per cent of the total worldwide arrivals.