December Global Immigration Update

Dec 13, 2023 | Global

WR Immigration’s December global immigration updates include the latest developments in China’s visa waiver program, Brazil’s new visa requirements, positive changes to Germany’s EU Blue Card, and much more!

WReview: Holiday Travel Tips

Before heading off on holiday travel, it is important to verify that all of your immigration plans and documents are in order. A misplaced document or error in a visa stamp can cause significant heartache if not caught in advance. We recommend that those who are traveling internationally this holiday season take a moment now to check the following:

  • Passport – Is your passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your planned return trip to your country of residence? Does it have at least two blank visa (not addendum) pages? If not and you need to renew or replace it, it is critical to use expedited processing that will get it back to you before your anticipated travel.
  • Recent changes – Have any of the countries you are traveling to implemented any recent changes to their visa rules? For example, on January 10, 2024, Brazil will begin requiring visas for Australian, Canadian and US citizens visiting for business or tourism.
  • Visa stamps – Is your visa for your country of residence and any countries you are visiting over the holidays valid both in terms of the dates of travel AND the number of entries allowed? Some countries issue visas valid only for one or two entries; if you have already entered that country in the past the visa may no longer be valid even if the date on it is current.
  • Days of stay – Have you already traveled to your holiday destination country in the past year? If so, be sure to add up the number of days you’ve stayed to ensure you don’t run afoul of any annual maximum days of stay rules. One of the most common trouble areas for this is the Schengen area, which includes most countries in continental Europe. Most foreign nationals are only allowed 90 days total in any 180-day period and if you have visited ANY of the member countries in the last 180 days that time counts against your 90-day allotment. Exiting and re-entering does not re-set the 90day allotment.

The WR Immigration Team wishes you safe and pleasant holiday travels free of any immigration hassles!


China has announced a visa waiver program for citizens of France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Spain. Effective immediately, they will be able to travel to China for tourism or business purposes for up to 15 days without having to obtain a visa. In addition, China has extended its visa free transit policy to citizens of 54 additional countries and has announced temporary lowering of some visa fees for those still requiring visas. These temporary changes are part of China’s push to boost tourism to the country now that they have fully reopened to foreign travel following pandemic closures.


Brazil is moving forward with the implementation of visa requirements for US, Canadian and Australian citizens. As of January 10, citizens of these countries will require a visa for travel to Brazil for tourism or business. The government has established a new e-visa portal in cooperation with VFS Global. We encourage travelers to apply for their visas as early as possible as we anticipate significant demand on the new system.


Germany is implementing a number of positive changes to its EU Blue Card, including reduction of salary required to qualify to EUR 43,800 and eliminating the requirement to notify the government of changes to employer after 12 months. As well, permanent residence will be possible for Blue Card holders after just 21 months of temporary residence and B1 (intermediate) level German language proficiency or 27 months of temporary residence and A1 (beginner) level German language proficiency.


Following temporary suspension of visa services due to the visa bribery scandal; Poland has announced that it has resumed visa processing in India via VFS Global visa centers. While we anticipate heavy demand for visa appointments and processing, it should again be possible to apply for Polish visas from India.


The European Council has adopted rules to pave the way for electronic Schengen Visa Applications. Under the new system, applications would be submitted online, and physical visa stamps would be replaced with cryptographically signed barcodes. However, first-time applicants and those whose previously provided biometrics have expired would still need to appear in person at a consulate or other designated location to give biometrics. The timeline for implementation of the new system is not yet known.


The Irish government has implemented a new process for applicants for Stamp 4 immigration permission as of November 30, 2023. Applicants will no longer be required to obtain a letter of support from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Instead Stamp 4 application checks will be handled entirely by the Department of Justice. This new process will not impact applications pending prior to the effective date.


Australia has expanded access to its pathway to permanent residency for holders of temporary skills shortage (Subclass 482) visas. Such workers will now be eligible for permanent residence after working in Australia for a period of two years.


Following suspension over a diplomatic fall out, India has now resumed issuing all types of visas to Canadian nationals.

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