(MENAFN - Caribbean News Now) By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
PARAMARIBO, Suriname – Luziano Truideman, acting director head of consular affairs at the Suriname foreign ministry in Paramaribo, made public that his government will switch from paper-based system to the digital version of e-visas and e-tourist cards. However, there are unanswered questions, such as citizens from which countries can access e-visa and the cost?
The foreign minister of Suriname and her office did not reply to an email inquiry on the subject.
Suriname and neighbouring Guyana, some have alleged, have imposed a visa embargo against African and Arab nationals. Information from both countries foreign ministry indeed seems to support the allegations. Citizens of all African and Arab countries need a visa to visit Suriname. Only UAE nationals don't need a visa to visit Guyana, and from the African continent, only citizens from Botswana, the Gambia and South Africa are exempted from the need for a visa to visit Guyana.
The foreign ministries of both countries noted this, and they have been looking at ways of addressing the issue. Meanwhile, Surinamese and Guyanese nationals can access e-visas or visas on arrival in many East African and Southern African countries.
Visa Requirement for Suriname Citizens, who can visit some 20 African countries through E Visas or Visas on arrival
Truideman said that at only about 17 embassies and consulates across the world had people wanting to travel to Suriname encountered great difficulty accessing a visa. The minister also said that the visa application turned out to be a time-consuming process with high costs.
The press release said that VFS-GLOBAL is a very reputable company that specialises in services such as passports, but also visa applications and visa processing.
'It is a company that works with 71 countries and governments in this area, including Brazil, Japan, Turkey and the United States, also in Suriname, the Netherlands and recently the United Kingdom.'
The ministry said, 'We have 17 foreign posts at embassies and consulates, but the client, both holiday and until now, the waiting time is 10 days, but thanks to the implementation of this new system, a visa can be obtained within 72 hours.'
The government of Suriname said that if everything goes well, the e-visa and e-tourist card will be launched April 15.
The company invests itself for the construction of the website, the back office and the customer service, which means that this project will not cost the Surinamese government anything, the release said.