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International Updates: the New Kingdom of eSwatini and Visa-Free Travel to Russia

Swaziland becomes The Kingdom of eSwatini

Swaziland is now officially named The Kingdom of eSwatini, or eSwatini for short, meaning “the land of the Swazis” in Swati. This became effective in April 2018, after King Mswati III announced the change during the country’s 50th anniversary of independence celebration.

King Mswati III addresses the United Nations. Source:

The monarch has used the new name in previous official events, like the opening of parliament and during the UN general assembly in 2017, as reported by the BBC.

The name issue has been discussed for many years, since Swaziland was one of the only countries to keep their English name after independence. It now follows in the footsteps of other former British colonies that reverted to their original names upon independence: Rhodesia was renamed Zimbabwe, Nyasaland became Malawi, and Bechuanaland became Botswana.

The Kingdom of eSwatini has the last remaining absolute monarchy in Africa, and King Mswati III, known as Nguenyama or “the lion”, has been on the throne since 1986, when he became the youngest ruling monarch at 18.

Argentina Reinstates Visa Requirements for Haitian Nationals

Effective 22 August 2018, nationals of Haiti with a normal passport require a tourist visa to enter Argentina.

Haitian nationals were previously exempt from a visa to enter Argentina, but the South American country has reinstated the requirement after too many tourists were exceeding the 90-day stay limit.

After the requirement came into effect in August 2018, the number of Haitian tourists that were rejected entry increased by almost 500%, as reported by the Trinidad Express.

Argentina Allows Visitors to the Youth Olympic Games to Remain for Extended Periods

Until 18 October 2018, passengers with a normal passport and a Pre-Valid Card issued by the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 are visa exempt for a maximum stay of 90 days.

Passengers with a diplomatic, official, or service passport, along with a Pre-Valid Card or a Welcome Letter issued by the Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018, are visa exempt until 31 October 2018.

Iraq Discontinues Old Passports

Iraq has stopped issuing passports with series "G", "H", "M", "N" and "S", as of 16 August.

New passports, series A, have been issued since 2009, however existing “G", "H", "M", "N" and "S" series passports remained valid until their expiration date. They will now be invalidated.

Differences in the types of passport include texts in Arabic, Kurdish, and English, as well as a barcode replacing the citizen’s signature and fingerprints. Older passport series were also not machine-scannable.

This is an effort to create a stronger and safer Iraqi passport.

Holders of a FAN ID Card can Continue Visiting Russia Visa-Free Until December

Passengers with a printed or electronic FAN ID card, issued for visitors to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, can travel to Russia again visa-free for the remainder of 2018, and remain for up to 90 days.

The cost for Russian visas starts at £108 for a single-entry visa at the standard processing time (at least 20 working days), and £187 for an “urgent visa”.

The ruling for holders of the FAN ID card is expected to bring an influx of tourists to Russia the next holiday season.

Tourists Can Now get an E-Visa to Visit Uzbekistan

Effective 16 July 2018, passengers from more than 50 countries (including the UK, USA, Schengen countries and the People’s Republic of China) can obtain an e-visa before traveling to Uzbekistan.

The process takes a few minutes and costs $15 USD

Moreover, the country has implemented a 5-day visa-free transit opportunity to citizens of more than 100 countries. This allows them to visit Uzbekistan with a valid departure ticket within five days.

E-visas and more information are available here.

The UK Waives Visa Requirements for UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman Nationals

Nationals of Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Kuwait with normal passports now fall under the Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) scheme, which allows for visa-free access to the UK, effective 6 July 2018.

Nationals of the United Arab Emirates with an emergency or a temporary passport will also be allowed to enter the United Kingdom with an electronic or printed EVW.

With this change, nationals from those countries can visit the UK for up to 6 months for tourism, business, and medical treatment reasons.

They must apply for the EVW programme between 3 months and 48 hours before intended travel, and it costs £15.

Both Qatar and UAE offer free visas-on-arrival for UK nationals, however Oman and Kuwait require incoming UK tourists to apply for a visa before traveling.

Author: Ana Hernandez

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