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On April 27, 2022, the European Commission – the executive arm of the European Union – proposed the digitalization of the Schengen visa process. If implemented, the proposal would enable an online visa application platform and replace visa stickers in passports with a secure electronic status. Applicants may still need to visit consular posts to submit biometric data, such as fingerprints. Under the Commission’s proposal, Schengen Area member countries would have five years from the date of implementation to switch to the digitalized visa platform.

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On April 22, 2022, the Irish government announced an expansion of the eligibility criteria for the country’s multiple entry short stay visas. The changes mean that foreign nationals from all visa-required countries will now be eligible to apply for a five-year, multiple entry short stay visa.  The government’s announcement is intended to ease administrative burdens and facilitate multiple short-stay trips by visa-required nationals as the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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On March 28, 2022, the Italian parliament approved a law creating a new “Digital Nomad” visa for remote workers from outside the European Union (EU). The government has thirty days to implement the law and to provide the operational details, including the required documents and application procedures. Once implemented, the new visa is expected to provide flexibility for non-EU nationals seeking to live and work in Italy without first obtaining sponsorship from an Italian employer. Italy’s adoption of a Digital Nomad visa follows the introduction of similar immigration pathways in Romania, Iceland, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries.

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On March 15, 2022, the Indian government announced a significant relaxation in COVID-19 travel restrictions. Under the terms of the announcement, tourists will be able to enter the country on either paper or e-Tourist visas for the first time since March 2020. All international flights to and from India will also resume as of March 27, 2022. The Indian government’s move comes as several countries throughout the world, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland, have relaxed or eliminated their pandemic-related restrictions on international travel.

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Effective January 17, 2022, the Romanian government has begun implementing a new “Digital Nomad” visa designed to allow foreign nationals to enter the country for work purposes without first being sponsored by a local employer. The new visa is expected to provide increased flexibility to remote workers while also helping to attract human and financial capital during a time of critical labor shortages. Romania’s introduction of the Digital Nomad visa follows the launch of remote work visas in countries such as Iceland and the United Arab Emirates.

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On January 21, 2022, the Indian government announced an extension of the filing deadline for reissuance of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards. Applicants may now file for reissuance of OCI cards through December 31, 2022. The government’s move to extend the deadline is a response to the ongoing disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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On January 9, 2022, Israel loosened several pandemic-related restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals. The country had previously relaxed its entry restrictions in November 2021 but re-imposed them only weeks later following the identification of the omicron variant. Under the new reopening guidelines, fully vaccinated foreign nationals, as well as some unvaccinated but recovered individuals, will be allowed to enter Israel.
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Effective January 1, 2022, Switzerland will grant complete freedom of movement to Croatian nationals. The government’s announcement means that Croatians will soon be able to live and work in Switzerland subject to the same immigration and work authorization rules as other EU nationals.

Continue Reading Switzerland Announces Freedom of Movement for Croatians, Visa-Exempt Status for Australians

The Israeli Ministry of Interior released a new set of regulations for the Short-Term Employment Authorization (SEA) B-1 Work Visa. The new regulations include shortened visa processing times, increased duration of stay, and overall simpler application processes for candidates wishing to obtain a work visa for short stays.

Continue Reading Israel Releases Updates to the Short-Term Employment Authorization (SEA) B-1 Work Visas