Easter 2016

Opening Hours

If you are planning to make a visa application during this holiday period we are here to help! Our staff can be contacted on 01270 250 590 – see our opening times below:

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Easter

Easter celebrations begin with Good Friday (the day that Jesus Christ was crucified). Traditionally, this day involves the attendance of Mass in the afternoon and a day of fasting. Christians will have only one meal throughout the whole day, and this will usually be a fish dish as meat should not be eaten on Good Friday.

This is then followed by Easter Sunday which takes place on the last Sunday of March. This was the day Jesus was resurrected after his crucifixion. Most commonly, the day is celebrated with the giving and receiving of sweet treats and candies, for example: Chocolate Easter Eggs. As well as this, you will find people taking part in Easter egg hunts, Sunday church service and Easter Sunday roast dinners.

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Where to spend Easter?

As Easter brings with it two bank holidays, the perfect way to spend it would be an extra long, relaxing, weekend away! By this we mean, it would be best not travelling half way around the world and spending an entire day travelling… instead: A couple hours on a plane, car or ferry to arrive at your chosen destinations is exactly what the doctor ordered!

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Here are some Ideas for a much needed European getaway:

Tuscany, Italy

With a huge amount to keep you busy, breathtaking landscapes, incredible art & history and some of the best food & wine in the world, Tuscany should definitely be considered when travelling to Europe! A popular region in Italy, Tuscany has great deal of attractions suitable for everybody; from families and solo travellers, couples to adventurers you will never get bored!

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Spain

Go shopping, grab a coffee, treat yourself to a fancy meal out or just relax on the beach… Spain really has so much to offer! Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, Valencia and many more historic cities. This is surely a bucket list essential for any traveller. With a flight seeing you there in around 2 to 3 hours, what is stopping you?

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Istanbul, Turkey

The only city in the world that encompasses both Asia and Europe

Istanbul will not disappoint. This is a place filled with different wonders including: the Basilica Cistern, the Aya Sofya, the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. Teeming with little shops and stalls, this is the perfect place to pick up some traditional Turkish memorabilia.

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Do I Need a Visa to travel

If you hold a UK passport; you can visit all 26 European countries in the Schengen agreement visa free!

For those of other nationalities, you can apply for a Schengne visa with The Travel Visa Company. Its as easy as 1… 2… 3!

  1. Apply for your Schengen visa.
  2. Receive your issued visa.
  3. Enjoy travel between all 26 EU countries with one visa!

Please Note: You must apply for the visa with the embassy of the destination you will first be entering.

We can assist with your travel visa needs for all nationalities and destinations worldwide:

Tourist Visas / Business Visas / Media Visas
European (Schengen) Visas
Study Visas / Work Permits

Other services we include are:

Passport Renewal Service
In-House Passport Photography and Resizing Service
UK Inbound Immigration Visas

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What is a Schengen visa?

What is a Schengen Visa?

A Schengen visa allows the visitor to travel between the countries that are part of the Schengen area (also known as the Schengen zone). The Schengen Area is comprised of 26 countries that have agreed to allow free movement of their citizens within this area as if it were a single country. Of the 26 countries bound by the Schengen agreement, 22 are part of the EU and the other 4 are part of the EFTA.

Travellers must apply to the single destination that you travelling to or, if you are visiting more than one Schengen member country, you will need to do one of the following.

The Schengen visa allows the holder to stay a total of up to 90 days within a period of 6 months for tourist or business purposes. If you get a multiple entry Schengen visa, you may leave and return any number of times within the 180-day period, but the combined stay within the region must not total more than 90 days.

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Certain nationalities are eligible for this visa. Find a list of them here.

How was the agreement created?

The Schengen Agreement got its name because the original treaty was signed on a river-boat in the river Moselle near the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, where the territories of France, Germany and Luxembourg meet.

It began with 5 countries: Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany first signing the agreement.

Where to go and what to do:

With 26 different countries at your disposal, there’s going to be plenty to do – why not visit some of the most iconic cities in the world: Paris, Rome, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Milan, Zurich and more. There is also a plenty of famous landmarks that you can visit like the Roman Colosseum, the Acropolis of Athens, the Sagrada Familia and the Eiffel Tower.

But it doesn’t end there! There is more you can do while travelling through these 26 different countries: why not take your family / friends on a road-trip around Europe, take to the Alps for a ski session, visit local markets and museums, take a relaxing scenic walk or go it alone on a backpacking adventure!

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Visas

*Note: We advise that you apply at least 3 months before travelling.

*Note: It can take up to 4 weeks to obtain this visa.

We are now able to assist with all Schengen Visa Applications for non-UK Passport Holders. Visit our website here: thetravelvisacompany.co.uk/visas/schengen/

“To Travel Is To Live”

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Holiday Season in Europe

Why Europe?

If you’re looking for a lovely little winter get-away, then look no further… Europe is the place to be.

Europe plays host to charming small villages, world famous landmarks and some stunning cities such as Prague, Athens, Stockholm, Rome, Zurich and many, many more. With such a wide range of diverse and cultural places to go and see, travelling around Europe is a bucket list essential!

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What to do whilst visiting Europe

Europe contains a great deal of different things to do and see. Here are just a few of our favourites:

Winter Sports

One of the most popular activities has to be Skiing. This is an adventurous pursuit that the whole family can get involved in. There’s a whole load of different ski resorts that can cater to your needs, budgets and skill level. It is said that Val Thorens (France) is rated one of the best ski resorts in the world – possibly due to the fact that it is the highest altitude resort in Europe!

But the fun doesn’t stop at skiing. Some ski resorts also offers downhill mountain biking, paragliding, ice-water scuba diving, sledding with huskies and you can even spend an evening in a Yurt. Other popular resorts include: La Plagne (France), Westondorf (Austria) and Alagna (Italy).

Another popular activity would be Mountain climbing. Now this isn’t for the faint hearted. Mountain climbs can be hard work and require a lot of training, dedication and commitment. Having said that, they are an incredible achievement and give you something to brag about for years to come! Popular mountain climbing destinations include: Fontainebleau (France), Västervik (Sweden) and San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily.

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Christmas Markets

For those of you who would rather relax into the festive season, Europe is the best place to find some of the most amazing Christmas markets around the world!

When you think of the Christmas markets, your first thought is probably of Berlin and their world renowned Christmas markets, however other cities such as Brussels, Cologne, Stockholm and Vienna are becoming more and more popular to travel to each year.

The markets are usually packed with shoppers out to experience everything the city has to offer. From the stalls to stores you can expect to find traditional hand-made gifts, an array of locally sourced foods accompanied with the classic: Mulled Wine, providing everything you need to get in to the Christmas spirit! But we must warn you that it is the middle of the winter and you will need to take this into account as temperatures drop and the chance of snow and ice increases.

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Lapland

Why not take the family out to Finland to meet Santa himself! Lapland is Finland’s most northern region and borders Sweden, Norway, Russia and the Baltic Sea. Flights from the UK usually take around 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Lapland is also known for its vast wilderness, ski resorts and (if you’re lucky enough) you may get a chance to see the famous Northern Lights! You can also get a ride in Santa’s sleigh, go for a winter safari by dog sled, visit local museums or even just relax in the sauna… and it is said that there are more saunas than personal vehicles in Finland!

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Roadtrips

Just you, your family and the open road. The beauty of going on a road trip is that you can choose where you go, what you do, when you want. There are many pre-planned routes that you can follow which will take you to some of Europe’s most popular attractions – here’s a useful link for an incredible route featuring some stunning scenery: lifehacker.com

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Thinking of visiting?

If you are a non-UK passport holder visiting Europe you may need what is called a ‘Schengen Visa’. This grants you access to 22 different European countries as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

For more information about the requirements and to see if you are eligible for a Schengen Visa, go to our website: thetravelvisacompany.co.uk/visas/schengen/

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Twitter: @thetravelvisa

LinkedIn: The Travel Visa Company

Anything you want to add? Feel free to comment below!

 

Everything you need to know about Thanksgiving!

What is thanksgiving about?

Each year, on the last Thursday in November, the American and Canadian community gather together in their homes to celebrate all they are thankful for.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated to give thanks for the blessing of harvest. It is also important to note that Thanksgiving is thought to be just as important as the Christmas holidays by many Americans and Canadians!

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How is it celebrated?

Macy’s, a popular american department store, organise an annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York that is attended by over 3 million people and broadcast live on national television. This a tradition that has continued for over 80 years, won numerous awards and is seen by more than 50 million fans across the world each year!

American football is always a favourite on Thanksgiving. This year the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Detroit Lions (5.30pm GMT / 12.30pm EST) followed by the Carolina Panthers vs the Dallas Cowboys (9.30pm GMT / 4.30pm EST).

And how can we forget the food! Roast turkey with stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, buttered rolls, gravy, green beans, and squash are just some of the delights you can expect to see, likely to be topped off with a cold refreshing beverage and a helping of candied yams or pumpkin pie!

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Origin

The history of Thanksgiving dates back to 1620, when a ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers on an adventure to the New World.  In November 1621, the Pilgrims successfully harvested their first crop of corn, so Governor William Bradford organised a celebratory feast. Both Europeans and Native Americans attended, and it’s now thought of as the first Thanksgiving, lasting three days. In 1846, author Sarah Josepha Hale campaigned for Thanksgiving to be recognised as a national holiday. This campaign lasted 17 years and before the letter she wrote to President Lincoln was successful. In 1863 legislation was passed which established a national holiday of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November every year.

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Black Friday

Black Friday lands on the Friday following Thanksgiving. This a day where retailers reduce prices to extreme levels allowing for massive discounts in an effort to increase sales. This has been a huge hit in america for a while and is moving abroad with certain brands based in the UK taking part – kick-starting the holiday shopping season.

Black Friday is a controversial event. Chaos is caused in department stores throughout the country as bargain hunters scramble to get their most desired products before another shopper snaps them up! So it doesn’t come as a surprise that accidents are common.

However, Cyber Monday has started to become a trend in many nations. The first Monday after Thanksgiving sees prices from on-line retailers fall, this obviously being a less stressful way to shop but hurry while stocks last as it has been said that Cyber Monday is becoming more popular than Black Friday!

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America

So if you are thinking of travelling out to america this holiday season you may require an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) but don’t worry, you’re in luck! We can help you with your visa/ESTA application!

To find out if you are eligible, or for any more information regarding travelling to the US visit our website:

http://thetravelvisacompany.co.uk/america/

“give thanks for a little and you will find a lot”

Facebook: The Travel Visa Company

Twitter: @thetravelvisa

LinkedIn: The Travel Visa Company

Anything you want to add? Feel free to comment below!