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Take note: India imposes stricter visa requirements for SA travellers
From Monday July 17, all South African travellers will be required to submit biometrics when applying for an Indian visa.
Biometric data, comprising fingerprints and facial image, needs to be submitted in person along with visa applications at any of VFS Global’s three Visa Application Centres in South Africa, located in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
Travellers opting for e-visas can submit their biometrics upon arrival in India. However, VFS has warned that this process could be time-consuming and could potentially lead to long queues at immigration.
“As this process may be time-consuming‚ e-visa applicants can instead enrol biometrics in South Africa itself at the India Visa Application Centres‚ which will ease out the travel process‚” VFS Global said in a statement.
Process to enrol biometrics
- Once the online application form is filled, applicants can schedule an appointment at the India Visa Application Centre to enrol biometrics and submit applications.
- Applicants can visit the centre at the allotted time and provide their biometrics.
- Biometrics data will remain valid for 59 months from the date of enrolment. Once an applicant has enrolled biometrics, he/she will be exempted from enrolling biometrics for the subsequent 59-month period.
The diplomatic mission, however, reserves the right to demand repeat enrolment on a case-to-case basis as part of their process.
OR Tambo boosts security
South Africa’s Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, has announced a number of new policing and security measures in response to the recent incidents of crime in and around Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.
The new security measures include the increased vetting of airport employees, the permanent deployment of a senior ranking police officer at the airport, and the deployment of additional metro police officials, as well as members of crime intelligence, the detective service and the Hawks (the police unit responsible for combating, investigating and preventing national priority crimes such as serious organised crime).
“This team will operate out of an operations room where crime will be monitored on a daily basis at the airport and a report will be sent to me on a weekly basis, on the progress being made in this regard,” Minister Mbalula said.
He said that on 21 July 2017, he would meet with all the South African government agencies within the security cluster to flesh out a master plan to enhance the airport’s security.
Austrian Airlines reintroduces Cape Town service
Austrian Airlines has confirmed it will reintroduce services to Cape Town, starting 28 October, 2018, almost 20 years after the airline last flew the route.
Flight service from Vienna to Cape Town will only be offered in the winter flight schedule on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The flight time from Vienna to Cape Town is about 11 hours 25 minutes, with flights departing Vienna on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10h15, arriving in Cape Town at 22h40. The return service will depart Cape Town on Wednesdays and Sundays at 00h20, arriving in Vienna at 10h50. Flight bookings are due to open on 27 October, 2017.
Another airline calls it quits at King Shaka
Following short on Ethiopian Airlines’ announcement that it will suspend services to Durban from August 1, Air Seychelles has also confirmed it will cease services to and from the coastal town, effective 27 July.
The airline said that Durban will continue to be served in conjunction with its codeshare partner South African Airways.
Guests booked on flights to and from Durban’s King Shaka International Airport beyond 27 July, 2017 will be re-scheduled on Air Seychelles’ Johannesburg flights, which are operating as per normal schedule.
Advise clients to ‘run, hide and tell’ in the event of a terror attack
A new video encouraging holidaymakers to ‘run, hide, tell’ when faced with a terror attack has been released by the UK government.
The four-minute film centres on how a tour operator rep, hotel staff and guests react during an attack on a typical hotel. The central message is ’run, hide, tell’; with running away being the central advice and hiding the option only if you cannot flee.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said the launch of the film is part of a general campaign to raise awareness among the public.
The key messages are:
Run – to a place of safety. This is better than trying to surrender or negotiate.
Hide – it is better to hide than confront. Barricade yourself in, turn your phone to silent and only when it is safe to do so.
Tell – the authorities by calling the emergency number – 112 for the EU.
Watch the video here…
Laptop ban lifted for most countries
Jordan and Kuwait are the latest countries to be removed the dwindling list of nations subject to the U.S. laptop ban. This follows the removal of the ban for the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey.
Only Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco remain subject to the laptop ban, which the US Department of Homeland Security put in place in late March.
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