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December 16, 2014

Did You Know?

  • In 1911 Harriet Quimby became the first licensed woman pilot in the U.S.; she was also the first woman to fly across the English Channel.
  • The massive four engine, double decker Airbus A380 is the world's largest passenger plane. With 49% more floor space than the next largest passenger plane it seats 532 in a standard three class configuration.
  • On an average day, air traffic controllers handle 28,537 commercial flights, 27,178 general aviation flights (private planes), 24,548 air taxi flights (planes for hire), 5,260 military flights and 2,148 air cargo flights.

Consular Updates

Mandatory Field on Indian Visa Application - Employment visas

On Indian employment visa application, there is a mandatory new field called 'Employer EPFO ID'. This ID has to be provided by the employer in India. EPFO ID stands for Employee's Provident Fund Id which is Social Security Benefit to employees.

EPFO ID stands for Employee's Provident Fund Id. Provident Fund is a Social Security Benefit to employees. It is a mandatory saving by an employee during his employment. This is required to be available on retirement. An employee who contributes to Provident Fund is also eligible to receive a matching contribution from his employer.

On the application the "Employer EPFO ID" should be completed if employer has set up the account for the applicant, otherwise "NA" is an acceptable answer.

Weekly Feature: Travisa - What Should I Do If My Flight Is Cancelled

8 Travel Hacks to Get You through Winter Storms

Alert: Winter is on the way, and it sounds like it could be rough of travelers! While being snowed in sounds pretty miserable at this point, it sure beats being stuck at an airport - a likely fate for anyone traveling to or from storm-affected areas this winter.

So what should you do if your flight is cancelled? Here are some savvy tips and travel hacks that will help you get on the next flight home...so that you can barricade yourself indoors until spring.

1. Check to see if you're already rescheduled

Many airlines automatically reschedule you, so keep an eye out for a phone call or email, or log into your frequent flyer account - yes, you should have one of those - on the airline's website or app to see if there's been an update to your itinerary.

2. Go online

The airline's ticket counter or help desk is likely to have very long waits, and the hotline might put you on hold until your phone battery gives out, so try rebooking online if you get that groan-inducing "your expected wait time is 45 minutes" message - you can often easily rebook through the airline's website or app. CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg also suggests tweeting at your airlines' support accounts (how modern!) or buying a day pass to an airline's lounge (if you're flush) and working with the agent inside. Airlines will also be updating their Twitter and Facebook feeds with new info.

3. Know your options

Some airlines, like Delta, allow you to pick an itinerary that works for you within 24 hours (or more) on either side of your original flight when said flight has been delayed or cancelled. You may be able to do this without the help of an agent - for Delta, for example, you can click "find alternate flights" on the website or app to rebook. Hey, weren't you just saying that you wished you had one more day in Atlanta?

4. Plan ahead

Airlines may waive cancellation and change fees in the face of extreme weather. So if you hear on Tuesday that the storm is coming on Thursday, don't test your luck to see if your flight is going to get cancelled - if your schedule is flexible, call the airline and see if you can get out on Wednesday without paying extra. If only you knew this two days ago, right?

Also in the planning-ahead department - elect to carry on rather than check your bags when there's a chance of cancellation. Having already checked your bags will complicate things when you're trying to rebook, and if you have all your luggage on you then you won't have to worry about arriving at your destination without your suitcase.

5. Familiarize yourself with Rule 240

Some carriers still honor this old rule that requires them to put you on any flight (even a competitor's) if your flight is cancelled for non-weather issues - so it may not come in handy with a winter storm looming,  but is still something to have in your back pocket for future trips.

6. Call in a favor

Call the airline if you must, though in these conditions you'll likely be put on hold forever. If you have frequent flyer status with your airline then by all means call the super-secret number for big shots like yourself...and if you're without status then call your friend who travels the most and promise to buy her her weight in cheese for telling you what that number is. Whether they'll help you when they discover that you're a fraud...well, just try your luck.

On that note, there's a lot to be said for airline loyalty. When booking your flights, it's best to choose airlines that you have a history of traveling with - you may be treated better when travel emergencies strike.

7. Book a hotel

You don't want to sleep on the floor of LaGuardia airport, do you? You don't. When flight cancellations are weather related, it's highly unlikely that you'll get a hotel or meal voucher from the airline, but sometimes the airline will connect you with a travel agent for hotel booking, which seems like a lame consolation prize but I digress. It's wise to book a room as soon as you realize you may be stranded overnight - rooms will book up quickly, and if you do end up getting on a flight out, the hotel may not charge you a cancellation fee since they'll probably be able to fill the room quickly.

8. Download some travel apps

Greenberg suggests downloading some travel apps so that the airline isn't your only source of information. Flight Weather accesses the same weather data the pilots use, and Flight Stats offers live tracking of delays and cancellations. There are also lots of last - minute hotel booking apps out there. The better informed you are, the more easily you'll be able to navigate this travel nightmare.

Conde Nast Traveler: The first Northern Lights of winter

Aurora hunting is more popular than ever - and this winter's first display in Finnish Lapland is promising another great year in Northern skies.

Reports of massive explosions on the sun's surface may not sound like good news, but for travelers wanting to see the Northern Lights this winter it's the sign that it could be another bumper year for sightings.

These first images of the Aurora Borealis for the 2014/15 winter season were taken at the weekend (22 September 2014) in Finnish Lapland, and NASA have reported that the sun's activity cycle is still at a peak. Solar flares from the sun's surface are responsible for the colorful green displays in the night skies of Arctic locations.

Northern Light travel experts The Aurora Zone have been monitoring the activity on the sun's surface - and in the night skies - and predict this winter will be another good year for 'Aurora hunters' to visit the area.


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Great Features from Travisa

Visa Widget

Travisa Visa WidgetGive visitors to your website instant access to visa requirement information.  Travisa's complimentary Visa Widget allows travelers to choose their destination country, citizenship, and purpose of travel to see if a visa is required, with the added convenience of never leaving your site.  You can customize your Widget with a company logo or simply leave it the way it is.  Your account code can also be embedded within, ensuring that travelers will have access to correct pricing and account details.  We can even save a default destination and citizenship if your travelers have a common preference.  Adding the widget is easy.  Just visit the widget set-up page.  If you have any questions about how this can be of benefit to your travelers, you may also contact Travisa's Account Management Team for more assistance.


Smart Phone Apps


Have you ever been in a time crunch and not at your desk to check visa requirements for your upcoming international trip?  No problem!  Use Travisa's FREE App for Android or App for iPhone for easy access to visa and passport requirements on the go.  You can also e-mail the information directly from the App for easy retrieval at your convenience.

App for Android


Download Travisa's FREE App for Android.  You can also find us on the Android market (just look for Travisa Visa).  Passport and visa requirements and instructions are now available anywhere you are.  You can look for information and send travel document requirements via e-mail for easy, convenient retrieval later on.


App for iPhone and iPad

Travisa's App for iPhone
With the Travisa Visa App, you can download FREE App for iPhone, iPad or iPod touch!  You can also access detailed information on travel visa requirements for over 200 countries and passport services directly on your iPad, even when you do not have internet access.  The Travisa Visa App is great for frequent international travel managers, as well as individual travelers, who need to know country visa requirements fast.  Send your travel document requirements via email for easy, convenient retrieval later on, even in areas with no receptivity.

Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod touch, and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.  iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc.  App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Consulate and Embassy Closings

Travisa Office Closings

  • All Travisa Offices in the US - Closed December 25th
  • All Travisa Offices in the US - Closed January 1st

Atlanta

  • Canada - Closed December 26th
  • El Salvador - Closed December 24th, December 31st
  • Germany - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Japan - Closed December 26th, December 29th, December 30th, December 31st, January 2nd
  • Nigeria - Closed December 26th
  • Switzerland - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st, January 2nd

Boston

  • Canada - Closed December 26th
  • Germany - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Ireland - Closed December 26th
  • Italy - Closed December 26th
  • Japan - Closed December 23rd, December 29th, December 30th, December 31st
  • Thailand - Closed December 16th, December 17th, December 18th, December 19th

Chicago

  • Australia - Closed December 24th, December 26th
  • Austria - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Bulgaria - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Canada - Closed December 26th
  • China - Closed December 26th
  • Germany - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Ireland - Closed December 26th
  • Japan - Closed December 23rd, December 24th, December 29th, December 30th, December 31st
  • Spain - Closed December 24th, December 31st
  • Thailand - Closed December 31st
  • US Passport Agency - Closed December 26th

Houston

  • Brazil - Closed December 18th
  • China - Closed December 24th
  • Germany - Closed December 26th
  • Indonesia - Closed December 26th
  • Italy - Closed December 26th
  • Japan - Closed December 24th, December 29th, December 30th, December 31st, January 2nd
  • Norway - Closed December 26th

London

  • Afghanistan - Closed December 24th, December 25th, January 1st
  • Albania - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Algeria - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st, January 2nd
  • Angola - Closed December 16th, December 17th, December 18th, December 19th, December 22nd, December 23rd, December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, December 29th, December 30th, December 31st, January 1st, January 2nd
  • Antigua and Barbuda - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Argentina - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Armenia - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Aruba - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Australia - Closed December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, December 31st, January 1st
  • Austria - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Azerbaijan - Closed December 25th, December 26th, December 31st, January 1st
  • Bahamas - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Bahrain - Closed December 24th, December 25th, January 1st
  • Bangladesh - Closed December 16th, December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Barbados - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Belarus - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Belgium - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Belize - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Benin - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Bhutan - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Bolivia - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Botswana - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Brazil - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Brunei Darussalam - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Bulgaria - Closed December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, December 30th, December 31st, January 1st
  • Burkina Faso - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Burundi - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Cambodia - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Cameroon - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Canada - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Cape Verde - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Central African Republic - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Chad - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Chile - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • China - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Colombia - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Congo Republic - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Costa Rica - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Cote d Ivoire - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Croatia - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Cuba - Closed December 25th, December 26th, December 31st, January 1st, January 2nd
  • Cyprus - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Czech Republic - Closed December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • D.R. Congo - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Denmark - Closed December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, December 29th, December 30th, December 31st, January 1st
  • Djibouti - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Dominica - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Dominican Republic - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Ecuador - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Egypt - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • El Salvador - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Eritrea - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Fiji - Closed January 1st
  • Finland - Closed December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, December 31st, January 1st, January 2nd
  • Germany - Closed December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, December 31st, January 1st
  • Ghana - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Hong Kong - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • India - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Indonesia - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Italy - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Jamaica - Closed January 1st
  • Japan - Closed December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, December 29th, December 30th, December 31st, January 1st, January 2nd
  • Kenya - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Latvia - Closed December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Lesotho - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Lithuania - Closed December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Malaysia - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Mongolia - Closed December 29th
  • Myanmar - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Nepal - Closed December 26th, January 1st
  • Netherlands - Closed December 25th, December 26th
  • Nigeria - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Norway - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Pakistan - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Russia - Closed January 1st
  • Sweden - Closed December 24th, December 31st
  • Switzerland - Closed December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, December 31st, January 1st
  • Thailand - Closed December 24th, December 25th, December 26th, December 31st, January 1st
  • Trinidad and Tobago - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st
  • Vietnam - Closed December 25th, December 26th, January 1st

Los Angeles

  • Australia - Closed December 26th, December 29th
  • Belgium - Closed December 26th
  • Bulgaria - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Canada - Closed December 26th
  • Finland - Closed December 24th, December 26th
  • Germany - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Japan - Closed December 29th, December 30th, December 31st, January 12th
  • New Zealand - Closed December 26th, December 29th, December 30th, December 31st
  • Philippines - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 30th, December 31st
  • Poland - Closed December 26th, January 6th
  • South Africa - Closed December 26th
  • Thailand - Closed December 31st

Miami

  • Canada - Closed December 26th
  • Ecuador - Closed December 24th, December 31st
  • Germany - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Italy - Closed December 26th
  • Japan - Closed December 24th, December 29th, December 30th, December 31st
  • Trinidad and Tobago - Closed December 26th

New York

  • Australia - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 29th, December 30th
  • Bangladesh - Closed December 16th
  • Belgium - Closed December 26th
  • Bulgaria - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Canada - Closed December 26th
  • Croatia - Closed December 26th
  • Estonia - Closed December 24th, December 26th
  • Germany - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Ghana - Closed December 26th
  • Jamaica - Closed December 26th
  • Japan - Closed December 29th, December 30th, December 31st, January 2nd
  • Kazakhstan - Closed December 16th
  • Luxembourg - Closed December 26th
  • Philippines - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 30th, December 31st
  • Poland - Closed December 26th, January 6th
  • Romania - Closed December 26th
  • Serbia - Closed January 2nd, January 7th
  • South Africa - Closed December 26th, December 31st
  • Sweden - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Switzerland - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st, January 2nd
  • Thailand - Closed December 31st, January 2nd
  • Trinidad and Tobago - Closed December 26th
  • United Kingdom - Closed December 23rd, December 24th, December 26th, December 31st, January 2nd

Ottawa

  • Australia - Closed December 16th
  • Czech Republic - Closed December 24th
  • Estonia - Closed December 24th
  • Germany - Closed December 24th, December 31st
  • Japan - Closed December 23rd, December 29th, December 30th, December 31st
  • Latvia - Closed December 31st
  • Philippines - Closed December 30th, December 31st
  • Switzerland - Closed December 24th, December 31st
  • Thailand - Closed December 31st

San Francisco

  • Canada - Closed December 26th
  • Italy - Closed December 26th
  • Russia - Closed January 2nd, January 5th, January 6th, January 7th
  • Switzerland - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st

Toronto

  • Denmark - Closed December 23rd, December 24th, December 29th, December 30th, December 31st, January 2nd
  • Germany - Closed December 24th, December 31st
  • Philippines - Closed December 24th, December 30th, December 31st
  • Thailand - Closed December 24th, December 31st

Washington

  • Australia - Closed December 24th, December 26th
  • Austria - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Bangladesh - Closed December 16th
  • Brazil - Closed December 26th
  • Bulgaria - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Canada - Closed December 26th
  • Croatia - Closed December 26th
  • El Salvador - Closed December 24th, December 31st
  • Estonia - Closed December 24th, December 26th
  • Finland - Closed December 24th, December 26th
  • Germany - Closed December 24th, December 26th, December 31st
  • Haiti - Closed December 24th, December 31st
  • Indonesia - Closed December 26th
  • Iran - Closed January 9th
  • Ireland - Closed December 26th
  • Jamaica - Closed December 26th
  • Japan - Closed December 24th, December 29t