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News: Gulf Air to offer new Bahrain visa service alongside VFS Global

Gulf Air has today launched a Bahrain Tourist Visa Service, available via exclusively to the airline’s passengers flying across its global network. The service has been launched in partnership with VFS Global, the world’s largest visa service provider. Travellers with return Gulf Air tickets can now conveniently apply for a visa to the Kingdom of Bahrain online via the website or by visiting their local Gulf Air sales office with the necessary documents no more than 30 days prior to travel to fill in the relevant forms and submit their…

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Kent Heckenlively, US 'anti-vaxxer', denied Australian visa

A US author who bills himself as the “world’s #1 anti-vaxxer” has been denied a visa to enter Australia for a speaking tour. Kent Heckenlively had planned to visit Australia in December to call for a five-year ban on vaccinations. Medical experts, including the World Health Organization, have repeatedly said that vaccinations are safe and vital to halting infectious diseases. Australia gave bans to two other anti-vaccination advocates last month. Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed that Mr Heckenlively would not be allowed to enter Australia, describing anti-vaccination advocates as “dangerous…

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News: Qatar to offer visa waiver to citizens of 80 countries

Qatar has confirmed it will allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries, effective immediately. The news comes as the destination seeks to diversify its tourism opportunities amid a continuing blockade from rivals in the Middle East. Citizens of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are currently barred from visiting the country, hitting the domestic tourism market. As a result, citizens from a host of new countries wishing to visit Qatar will no longer need to apply or pay for a visa. Instead, a multi-entry waiver will be…

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Technology 

US can ask visa applicants for social media history

The Trump administration has approved plans to ask US visa applicants for details of their social media use. Consular officials can now ask for social media usernames going back five years via a new questionnaire. It also allows authorities to request email addresses, phone numbers and 15 years of biographical information. This can be requested when “more rigorous national security security vetting” is needed, a State Department official told Reuters. According to reports, the State Department expects that about 0.5% of visa applicants will be given the questionnaire. Critics have…

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Gossip 

Iranian actress 'boycotts' Oscars over Trump visa plan

An Iranian actress has said she is going to boycott the Oscars in protest at Donald Trump’s “racist” visa proposals. Taraneh Alidoosti stars in The Salesman, which is nominated for best foreign language film. On Thursday, she tweeted: “Trump’s visa ban for Iranians is racist. Whether this will include a cultural event or not, I won’t attend the Academy Awards 2017 in protest.” The Oscars take place on 26 February. The Salesman tells the story of a couple whose relationship begins to disintegrate during their performance of Arthur Miller’s Death…

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