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After last-minute changes to Assembly Bill 60 (AB-60), the California Senate and Assembly voted to pass the bill.

This bill will enable millions of people to get to work safely and legally,” Governor Brown said in a statement issued after midnight following the passage of AB-60. “Hopefully it will send a message to Washington that immigration reform is long past due.”
Under AB-60, the licenses would have the initials DP (driver’s privilege), rather than DL (driver’s license), and would state that the document “does not establish eligibility for employment or public benefit.” California’s Department of Motor Vehicles will determine what type of documentation will be required to obtain a driver’s license.

It will become effective most likely in late 2014.

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Many immigrants are not well-informed on how to prepare themselves for the possibility of Immigration Reform and of an earned pathway to citizenship passing into law due to language and barriers and other challenges. Too often, desperate people seek information and help from unauthorized legal practitioners (aka notarios), and sometimes unscrupulous, immigration practitioners who may take advantage of immigrants for monetary gain.

We hope this video will help you get ready.

We suggest –
Undocumented immigrants must know English
Start collecting documents to prove U.S. presence
Wait until immigration reform passes to apply
Talk to a licensed Immigration Lawyer. if you or your relative have deportation orders, or have been deported, meet with an experienced immigration attorney, get your immigration files, and plan for reform now.

Visit our Immigration reform resource page:
https://www.visalawyerblog.com/2013/04/new_immigration_reform_summary.html

St. Kitts and Nevis begins issuing new E (Biometric) passports from January 5th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Labour and Social Security has announced.

The Ministry said in a news release that the new passports, with several improved security features, are being introduced as part of government’s ongoing efforts to prevent fraud and identity theft consistent with its regional and international commitments.

The Passport Office will issue the new E – (Biometric) Passports to citizens and residents, who are applying for the documents for the first time, or to those requesting replacements.

Citizens and residents currently using the machine readable passports will continue doing so, once these are not expired, lost and or damaged.

They will not, at this time, be required to change to the new E – (biometric) Passports; until the old document has expired.

Information on the various fees to be applied through the purchase of stamps for the issuance of the new E Passport can be obtained from the Passport Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Labour & Social Security, Government Headquarters, Church Street, Basseterre.

The Ministry said that introduction of the new passport has become necessary given the regional and global efforts to improve security.

“The new document to be issued by the Government of St Kitts and Nevis is more secured and designed with specific imbedded features intended to enhance the integrity of the new E Passport and will facilitate more seamless travel by citizens and residents of the Federation.

Fees associated with the new Biometric passports are as follows:
Issue of a 32-page epassport for applicants under 16 years or over 65 years – EC$150.00
Issue of a 32-page e-passport for applicants 16 years or under 65 years – EC$250.00
Replacement of a lost, stolen and or damaged e-passport (except for citizenship by investment) – EC$500.00. Replacement of a lost, stolen and or damaged e-passport with a copy of a report from the Police, Fire & Rescue Services Department, other relevant authority, or such credible information supporting the applicant’s statement – EC$250.00. Processing and issuing of a passport in four days or less (except for citizenship by investment) – EC$350.00.

President Ma Ying-jeou said Saturday that Burkina Faso will become the 124th nation or region to grant visa-free entry or landing visas to Republic of China (Taiwan) passport holders.

The decision was made earlier in the day by the government of the African ally, the president said at the opening of an exhibition held to mark the Republic of China’s 100th year.

“It is normal to apply for a visa when traveling internationally,” he said. “Visa-free treatment is a privilege.”
Traveling has become easier for Taiwanese because of the many visa waivers the country had obtained, Ma said, as he shared a story of how a friend benefited from the program when taking a trip to Europe.

Taiwan gained visa-free access to 35 nations or regions in the European Union on Jan. 11, 2011. During Ma’s presidency, the number of countries or regions granting visa waivers to Taiwan has risen from 54 to 124.

Ukraine hopes for the liberalization of the visa regime with Greece, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has said.

“We hope that at the level of bilateral relations, Greece will continue constructively changing its visa policy for Ukrainian citizens,” Yanukovych said in Athens on Thursday, during a meeting with President of Greece Karolos Papoulias.

The Ukrainian head of state added that Ukraine highly appreciates the position of Greece on the liberalization of the visa regime between the two states, and its support for Ukraine’s movement towards European integration, especially before the signing of the association agreement with the EU.

Yanukovych added that during talks with his counterpart he expressed Ukraine’s support for Greece “in difficult times.”
The Ukrainian president invited the president of Greece to make a state visit to Ukraine and continue the dialogue.

The Ukrainian president’s press service said that during the meeting, Yanukovych said that the Ukrainian and Greek peoples have been united by mutual respect and support for a long time.

“The traditions and relations between the Ukrainian and Greek peoples do not depend on any political situations,” he said.

“Greece and its people are facing a difficult period. Ukraine [is facing difficult times] too, but we are making a visit today, because we realize that it is high time to take a very active position, and we have to find a way to support and help each other. This will support the long, traditional good relations between Ukraine and Greece,” Yanukovych said during a meeting with Papoulias in Athens.

The president of Greece, in turn, welcomed his Ukrainian counterpart on behalf of the Greek people and said that his state visit was an important step in development of bilateral relations between the states.

The Netherlands has agreed to grant ROC passport holders the right to enter all its territories visa-free, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Oct. 4.

At present, Holland is the only country within the Netherlands that ROC nationals are allowed to enter without having to apply for a visa in advance. In the future, this privilege will be extended to include Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, as well as the three Carribean special municipalities of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, the MOFA said.

“We welcome the decision by the Netherlands,” the MOFA said in a news release, adding that the date the new policy will take effect has not been determined.

The decision by the Netherlands brings the total number of countries and territories that offer visa-free entry or landing visas to ROC citizens to 123, according to the MOFA.

When ROC President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May 2008, the MOFA noted, only 54 countries gave Taiwan the same privilege. “In three years 69 additional countries have given Taiwan visa-free rights, a 128-percent increase.”
“The visa-waiver privilege will save weeks of time for ROC passport holders on visa applications, and will become a big incentive for those who are into water sports and ecotourism,” the MOFA said.

ROC citizens were allowed visa-free entry to Holland and all other European countries within the Schengen Area since Jan. 1. Since then, the number of ROC nationals travelling to Europe has increased by almost 40 percent compared to the same time last year, according to the MOFA.

Australia’s seaports are more secure than ever before, highlighted by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s grant this week of the millionth maritime crew visa (MCV).

“This is an impressive milestone given that the department first introduced the MCV on 1 January 2008,” a departmental spokesman said.

Since its introduction, all foreign shipping crew are required to apply for the visa, which involves a formal visa application process.

This process strengthens border protection at Australian ports by allowing for security checking as with other temporary entrants. Prior to the MCV’s introduction, crew accessed special purpose visa arrangements that did not involve a formal application process.

“The MCV is specifically for crew entering by sea and allows multiple entries during its three-year life. Visa holders are then permitted to continue work in relation to the usual operational requirements of the ship while they are in Australia,” the spokesman said.

The top nationalities using the visas include Filipino, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and Ukrainian. In an average month, up to 20 000 MCVs are granted.

“The MCV scheme has maintained an impressive compliance rate of 99.8 per cent since its inception. This is testament to the support the visa has had from the shipping industry, crew manning agents, shipping operators and foreign crew themselves,” the spokesman said.

More than 60 per cent of maritime crew visas are applied for and granted online, while about 40 per cent are referred to the department’s global processing centre for additional manual assessment and processing.

Major factors that have contributed to the overall success of the MCV include the streamlined application form and processing arrangements, the absence of an application fee and the timeliness of decision-making. Most electronically lodged applications are finalised within a few days, if not immediately upon receipt.

The Republic of Kenya has opened its embassy in Oman in an apparent move to strengthen its bilateral relations and for attracting leisure tourists from the Sultanate.

Kenya’s Charge d’Affairs Yabesh O Monari said that although the embassy recently started its operation at Shatti al Qurum, a formal inauguration will be held sometime next month, when cabinet ministers from Kenya visit Oman,
“Since we opened in April, we have issued about 900 visas, 700 for Omanis and 200 for expatriates,” he said, adding, “The demand for Kenyan visas is rising steadily. The embassy now issues visas instantly upon application.”
Monari said people of both countries share a unique historical relation that dates back to several centuries. Swahili is widely spoken in Oman. In Kenya, Swahili is the official language and Muscat and Mombasa share a lot in common, he added. Monari said Kenya offers a unique and unforgettable experience for tourists, especially for those who love wildlife tourism. “Kenya has a total of 54 national parks and reserves. Kenya is one of the world’s leading travel destinations thanks to its scenery, magnificent wild life, sports and pleasant year round climate.”
A spectacular annual event that has been recognised as one of the wonders of the world is the biggest migration of large mammals. In July every year, over 1.5 million wild beasts migrate from Serengeti plains in Tanzania to fresh pastures in the Masai Mara before going back in October.

A Kenyan safari is an African experience, combining animals in the plains, the beaches in Mombasa, Rift Valley and Malindi.

Referring to the procedures for getting a visit visa to Kenya, he said Omani visa applicants have to submit their application, along with a copy of identify card and passport, passport-size photographs and a fee of RO20. For expatriates, apart from these necessary documents, the embassy needs a letter from
the employer.

Turkey is enjoying a growing number of tourists visiting this year and it has seen a nearly 11 percent increase in the first seven months of this year, the Turkish government has said.

Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry data shows that Turkey received 17,624,969 tourists in the first seven months of this year — a 10.64 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

The month of July has also seen an increase in the number of tourists visiting the country by 5.49 percent. A total of 4,597,475 tourists visited Turkey in July alone. While Germany is topping the list, Russia is second and the UK third in terms of the number of tourists visiting Turkey.

Out of nearly 18 million tourists, 990,906 tourists (5.62 percent) spent only a single day in the country.

Recent statistics covering the years 2002-2010 released by the Culture and Tourism Ministry reveal the progress Turkish tourism has made over the last eight years. While in terms of the number of tourists it was ranked 17th among the most visited tourist destinations in 2002, the numbers show that Turkey clinched seventh place in 2009, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The number of tourist who visited Turkey in 2002 was 13.2 million, whereas the same number rose to 28.6 million in 2009, representing a 117 percent increase.

While 14.29 percent of tourists came from Germany, 11.79 percent came from Russia, 7.95 percent from England, 6.28 percent from Iran, 4.62 percent from Bulgaria, 4.08 percent from the Netherlands, 3.94 percent from France, 3.45 percent from Georgia, 3.11 percent from Syria and 2.28 percent from the US in the first seven months of this year.

Until August, while 2,518,202 tourists visited Turkey from Germany, 2,078,741 from Russia, 1,401,833 from England, 1,107,067 from Iran and 813,976 tourists from Bulgaria chose Turkey as a place for their vacation.

Tourists visiting Turkey this year have mostly entered through border gates in Antalya (33.57 percent), followed by İstanbul (25.41 percent) and Muğla (9.48 percent).

Thanks to its retaining close political and economic relationships with its neighbors, Turkey managed to remove visa requirements for many countries in the region, resulting in a huge increase in incoming and outgoing tourists in the area. However, the political uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, or the Arab Spring, has lead to a significant drop in tourists from those countries visiting Turkey
Germany, Russia and England is again topping the list in the number of tourists visiting Turkey in July. Out of 4,597,475 tourists who visited the country in July, 310,225 tourists (6.75 percent) stayed in Turkey only for a single day.

In July, while Germany sent 602,511 tourists (13.11 percent) to Turkey, 586,905 tourists (12.17 percent) were from Russia, 435,143 (9.46 percent) from England, 242,870 (5.28 percent) from the Netherlands, 191,681 (4.17 percent) from Iran, 186,631 (4.06 percent) from France, 146,162 (3.18 percent) from Bulgaria, 127,527 ( 2.77 percent) from Austria, 127,240 ( 2.77 percent) from Belgium, 124,147 (2.70 percent) from Georgia.

While the number of tourists visiting Turkey was 4,343,025 in July in 2009, this number was 4,358,275 in 2010. In the January-July period, the number of tourists visiting Turkey was 14,933,656 and this number increased to 15,929,702 in 2010.