Several countries have relaxed or tightened visa rules for certain visitors recently, including the following:

Ireland. Venezuelan nationals are now required to obtain a visa before traveling to Ireland, and if planning to work in Ireland they must obtain an employment permit before applying for a visa. Ireland does not have a mission in Venezuela. The Irish Embassy in Mexico City has jurisdiction over applicants who live in Venezuela.

Ireland/UK. The two governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom have announced the “British Irish Visa Scheme,” which will allow nationals of China and India to travel for business or tourism to the two European countries on a single visa. The program is planned to begin this fall.

Italy. Restrictions have been eased for Chinese nationals seeking Italian business and tourist visas. Starting July 1, the Italian Embassy in Beijing and its consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou are issuing visas to Chinese visitors within 36 hours. In addition, Chinese nationals may now apply for Italian visas at the consulates that are closest to their places of residence instead of at the consulates that are closest to their household registration, which is often farther away. (This does not apply to foreign citizens, Chinese nationals living abroad or applicants for family reunion or work visas.)

Kazakhstan. As reported earlier, Kazakhstan announced plans to launch a one-year pilot project July 15 to provide visa-free travel for citizens of 10 countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Kenya. The Department of Immigration Services has issued a directive that all South African nationals obtain visas prior to visiting Kenya for tourism or business. All South African nationals wishing to travel to Kenya are advised to obtain a visa from the Kenyan High Commission in their country of residence.

Saudi Arabia. A new visa center for eight Schengen Area countries plus Canada opened in Jeddah on May 27. The center is operated jointly by VFS Global and al-Etimad Business Solutions Co. and provides visa processing services for Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network providers. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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