What's new in global

With global immigration rules and guidance changing by the day, it is important for businesses and individuals to keep on top of the latest developments to identify any changes that may impact your immigration goals.

With this in mind, Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following key updates in global immigration.

Oman: Ten day visa-free entry for 103 countries

In an attempt to boost the tourism industry in Oman, the government have announced that they will exempt nationals of 103 countries from needing an entry visa for a stay of up to ten days.

Among the territories that have been given exemption are the United States, the United Kingdom, the EU, Australia and New Zealand. A full list of exempt countries has been shared by the Royal Oman police.

Prior to this landmark decision, all tourists entering Oman had to apply for a visa online in advance of their visit. Previously, their visa would be valid for either ten days at a cost of about 13 USD, or 30 days for 52 USD.

A key requirement for visitors is that they have a confirmed hotel reservation, health insurance and a return ticket. There are also other mandatory requirements, such as holding a passport which is valid for no less than six months, and having sufficient funds to cover expenses while in Oman.

Finland: Immigration service fees to increase from January

The Finnish authorities have increased prices for several immigration services, including the processing of resident permits, citizenship applications and applications for entrepreneurs and employees. The new fee schedule comes into effect from 1 January 2021.

The announcement was made by the Finnish Ministry of the Interior in their annual decree of immigration service fees. A brief summary of the newly implemented fees is as follows:

  • New fees for citizenship applications
    • Paper citizenship application €590 (previously €520)
    • Electronic citizenship application €460 (previously €420)
  • New fees for first time residence permit applications:
    • €520 per paper application
    • €470 for an electronic application

All updated fees can be found on the Finnish embassy website.

Iceland: Travellers’ biometric data to be registered from 2022

Iceland’s government will launch border surveillance technology created by the French company IDEMIA from 2022.

The new surveillance technology will record entry and exit information of every person visiting from outside the Schengen Zone. Upon arrival, visitors will have their fingerprints recorded as well as a facial portrait taken. This biometric data will then be stored on an EU database and held there for a period of three years.

The primary purpose of this measure is to detect if travellers are staying within the Schengen area for a longer period than they are permitted to. This will enable authorities to keep more accurate records relating to travel and immigration history.

The new system will manage approximately ten million passengers per year in a bid to improve border security and traveller experience.

Need help to reach your global immigration goals?

If you have questions about global immigration issues, or if you need support in reaching your global mobility 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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