What's new in global

Global immigration rules are changing by the day, both in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and as a result of legislative updates across the globe.

Smith Stone Walters is here to help businesses and individuals keep on top of these developments and identify any changes that may impact your immigration goals. With this in mind, we would like to highlight the following key updates in global immigration.

Czech Republic: New entry rules for unmarried partners of Czech citizens:

The Czech Republic is changing the rules of entry for unmarried partners of Czech citizens who have been separated due to the travel bans first introduced in March this year.

Effective from 20 July 2020, third-country nationals with proven long-lasting relationships with Czech citizens will be allowed to enter the Czech Republic. The decision was announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after following the example of both Austria and Denmark who had earlier removed their temporary restrictive measures for unmarried couples.

In order to obtain authorisation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, applicants will need to submit a Declaration of Honour of Partnership. Applications will then be considered on a case by case basis, and individuals will be expected to provide evidence of their relationship, such as joint bank accounts or children’s birth certificates.

Once the electronic entry request has been placed, the Ministry will confirm if the foreign partner has been granted entry within three days. If the request is authorised, couples will be able to reunite once again.

We expect additional details relating to this recent change to be addressed in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, we advise that clients stay informed by contacting SSW and looking out for our regular updates.

Thailand: Further visa extensions granted

In April, the Thai government announced that all stranded foreigners will be eligible for an automatic extension of their visas until 31 July 2020.

As the amnesty period is due to end this month, Thailand have once again agreed to allow foreign nationals to apply for visa extensions from 1 August until 26 September. In addition to this, the latest extension means that foreign nationals holding long-stay visas will be exempt from the 90-days reporting rule.

As a precautionary measure, Thailand’s Immigration Bureau has asked that individuals with visas due to expire should contact the Bureau as soon as possible to prepare for their next steps. This is to avoid crowding of services as the September deadline approaches.

Foreigners will need to specify their reason for submitting the necessary documents when seeking to renew their short-term visas.

The Bureau has also announced that individuals who are stuck in Thailand due to ongoing travel restrictions will have ample time to apply for visa extensions. Note that once applications have been made, visa approval is estimated to take up to 30 days.

France: Visa application centres reopen abroad

The French authorities recently announced that several visa centres abroad have now partially resumed some of their consular services.

VFS Global have confirmed that the visa application centres (VACs) in Nigeria are only accepting long stay visa applications. This may include student visas, French spouse visas (both short stay & long stay visas) and return visas. Other countries including Ghana, Russia, Singapore, Iran and Senegal have also reopened and will be accepting long-stay visa submissions.

VACs located in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are accepting a more varied range of visa applications, including short stay business and medical submissions. Individuals are also able to apply for long stay student visas as well as residence and work permit visa applications.

As travel restrictions continue to be lifted and consular services are slowly resuming, we encourage clients to prepare by regularly checking government websites or contacting an SSW advisor.

Need help to reach your global immigration goals?

Smith Stone Walters will continue to post updates on the latest global immigration news to ensure you stay informed. If you have questions about the latest changes, or need support reaching your global immigration goals, we are here to help.

At Smith Stone Walters, moving people across borders is our business. Our expert team are experienced in managing and supporting immigration moves throughout the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements – we are immigration experts.

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