What’s new in the world of visas and formalities?


As always, the “universe” of formalities and visas is changing. All the more so now that the Covid crisis is, we can say, behind us and that many destinations are seeking to find their visitors in order to relaunch a tourism sector which, for some, has been almost at a standstill for months. .

Therefore, one of the solutions envisaged is to play on the visa policy with in particular freebies, exemptions, the establishment of e-Visa, extensions of authorized stay or other advantages for tourists.

Take a look at the latest news

21 countries still apply Covid restrictions
There are still a few countries around the world that still apply certain travel restrictions related to the Covid pandemic as a screening test to enter their territory. Concretely, if no European country is concerned, we still find this obligation in seven African countries, three American (including Cuba and Bolivia), eight Asian (including China, India or the Philippines) as well as three small islands or archipelagos of the Pacific.

Esta for the United States now available via an app
Great novelty for the quarantine of nationalities, including the French, exempt from visa for the United States but who must nevertheless apply for an Esta (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) to enter the territory. This can now be obtained directly via a mobile app in French launched on June 1, 2023 on iOS (to be downloaded via the App Store) and Android (via Google Play).

Schengen visas soon to be digitized
The EU plans to offer a digital visa in the near future to nationals of the hundred or so countries around the world who must have a visa to enter the European area. As such, it has just announced that it has reached an agreement on the digitization of the visa procedure for all countries in the Schengen area. It just now needs to be officially endorsed for the measure to be effective.

Soon a world health pass for travelers
The World Health Organization wants to introduce a digital certificate for travelers from 2023-24. The goal being to “put in place a system that will facilitate mobility on a global scale and protect citizens around the world against current and future health threats, including pandemics”. It will be in the form of a QR Code to scan available in paper or electronic format.

A new e-Visa for Saudi Arabia
Valid for a maximum trip of 90 days on the spot, allowing several entries, this new online visa costs 142 € and can in principle be obtained within 24 hours. It must be used within one year after its issue.

China is issuing visas again
Suspended with the Covid, the issuance of tourist and other visas by the Chinese authorities resumed in mid-March 2023.

No need for electronic travel authorization for Korea anymore
This is a temporary measure but which will still end on December 31, 2024. Until this date, French people and nationals of around twenty other countries no longer need an electronic travel authorization (K- ETA) to enter South Korea. A passport is therefore simply sufficient for any stay of less than 90 days on site.

A tax of 10 US$ for tourists traveling to Bali
At the level of the soap opera “Bali and the tourists”, the latest decision of the local authorities was to implement a tax of 10 US$ for all foreign tourists wishing to go there.

Changes to be expected for visas in Vietnam
In order to revive the tourist machine and increase the number of its visitors, Vietnam could opt for new measures in terms of visa policy. Thus the validity of the e-Visa should be extended for everyone to 90 days on site (currently 30 days) and at the same time allow several round trips to the country. As for the duration of stay authorized in the country without a visa today possible for the French and 12 other nationalities, this could increase to 45 days instead of the current 15. All this could be effective by the summer.

End of unsupervised treks in Nepal
The Nepalese authorities have decided to put in place new procedures for hikers and trekkers. From March 31, 2023, they will now have to use an approved guide (allow around 30 US $ minimum per day) and obtain a TIMS permit (“Trekking Information Management System”) from government-recognized agencies. before being able to set off on the trails of the country. Clearly, we will no longer be able to venture alone on a trek in Nepal as 40 to 50,000 people per year did until now. Still a plus in terms of safety.

Tunisia extends passport-free on-site access for tourist groups
This is a recurring theme for those who think they can go to Tunisia without a passport. But the fact is that the Tunisian authorities have just extended the possibility for Europeans to enter their country with just a valid identity card from the moment they are on a tour or an organized stay of at least 5 people . And this until October 31, 2023.

Return of the e-Visa to Madagascar
Abolished for three years during the Covid, the tourist e-Visa for French and other EU nationals is back in Madagascar with validity choices of 15, 30 or 60 days.

Seychelles introduces environmental tax for tourists
Based on the principle that the natural beauty of the archipelago is their first asset, including financially, the Seychelles have implemented a new tax called “Tourism Environmental Sustainability”. This will be invoiced in local currency and will be collected directly by the hosts at the time of departure for an amount between 1.7 and 6.8 €/day and person depending on the type of accommodation.

An e-Visa for Equatorial Guinea
Not very big, not very well known, not really touristic, the fact is nevertheless that this former Spanish colony in the Gulf of Guinea, independent since 1968, is also adopting the e-Visa. This concerns both the French and other Europeans wishing to visit the country and can be obtained via the approved website equatorialguinea-evisa.com. Its cost is 75 US for a maximum stay of 90 days on site and a single entry.

An e-Visa for Sierra Leone
One more. Since March 2023, Sierra Leone has been offering an electronic visa to tourists, especially French and Europeans, who plan to visit the country. This is obtained on the government-approved website (www.evisa.sl) for a maximum stay of one month at a cost of 80 or 160 US$ depending on whether you want a single entry or a multiple-entry visa. .

No more need for a visa for Gabon
Like other countries wishing to bring tourists (back), Gabon has just decided to abolish the visa requirement for the French and 42 other nationalities for stays of less than 30 days on site.

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