Happy first day of spring, everyone! For Houston travelers headed to beautiful, scenic Tanzania, whether it’s to scale Mount Kilimanjaro or enjoy the sights at Serengeti National Park, you’re going to need a valid US passport and a Tanzania visa. Here’s what you need for your visa application:

For Tourism

  • A filled out Tanzania visa application
  • Two passport-style photos (remember to take glasses off if needed)
  • Passport with one blank visa page and at least 6 months validity past trip completion
  • If not a US passport holder, you must provide a copy of either your green card or your US visa and I-94
  • A copy of your flight itinerary

For Business

  • A filled out Tanzania visa application
  • Two passport-style photos (remember to take glasses off if needed)
  • Passport with one blank visa page and at least 6 months validity past trip completion
  • If not a US passport holder, you must provide a copy of either your green card or your US visa and I-94
  • A copy of your flight itinerary
  • A company business letter printed on your company’s letterhead

Business visas for Tanzania are single-entry only, and visas last a maximum of 30 days, whether for business or for tourism. All minors traveling to Tanzania will need a notarized letter signed jointly by parents in order to provide permission to travel, as well as copies of the parents’ passports. If you’re ordering your visa through Texas Tower Houston, don’t forget your order form!

Whenever you’re ready to go from Houston to your next travel destination, Texas Tower Houston is here to assist you. Give us a call at 713-874-1420 and let us know what we can do to aid you with your US passport and Tanzania visa needs. For more links and helpful information on what you need for your Tanzania visa, check out our page here.

Moscow is a potent combination of centuries of history and all the wonders of the modern day, mingling together in unique and vibrant ways for all to enjoy. The 800-year-old capital of Russia has enough to keep visitors busy for months on end. If this is your first visit to Moscow, here are 5 of the most incredible places to check out during your stay.

St. Basil’s Cathedral

The image the average US citizen might think of when they think of Russia, with towering, colorful domes, comes largely from the colorful and gorgeous St. Basil’s Cathedral. Commissioned in the 16th century by Ivan the Terrible himself, this cathedral was so beautiful that the architect who built it was ordered to be blinded so he could never surpass the design of this immaculate, glistening cathedral that persist to this day.

Red Square

At the heart of Moscow lies Red Square, which could easily be considered the most visited attraction in the city. This cobblestone-lined town square, once a market teeming with traders, is now packed with gorgeous architecture and history. Many famous landmarks such as the Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum, St. Basil’s Cathedral, and more can be found around Red Square.

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

This Moscow museum features the largest collection of foreign art in the city, and is made up of three branches. The galleries contain everything from masterpieces from the ancient and classical world, to Renaissance pieces that have been carefully preserved. You can even find many works by the Dutch masters! The main building of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts is packed with world-renowned artists, including Rembrandt, Botticelli, Tiepolo, and many more. Next to the main building, in The Gallery of European & American Art, you can find a massive collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works to enjoy.

The Kremlin

The Kremlin, one of the most famous spots in Moscow, is also the largest active fortress in Europe today. Behind 2.2 kilometers of wall, you can find five squares to explore, 20 towers, several buildings, and even the world’s largest bell and cannon. History lovers and those who are simply curious will get a week’s worth of attractions out of the Kremlin alone.

GUM

GUM, Russia’s biggest department store, is much different from the department stores we might think of here in the US. Inside this beautiful, sprawling building that is nearing its 130th birthday are over 200 boutiques to satisfy your itch to go shopping. If shopping isn’t your thing, that’s okay: the glass roof of the arcade provides a wonderful view that faces Red Square, and there are a variety of eateries to enjoy.

Before you go to Russia, you’re going to need a visa, and that’s where we come in. Call Texas Tower Houston at 713-874-1420 and let us help you with your US passport and Russia visa needs today. For more information on what you need for your Russia visa, click here.

India is a nation rich with culture, fantastic food and entertainment, and so much more to offer any traveler. Whether you’re a US resident going to India for business or pleasure, it’s a beautiful country well worth exploring. Before you go, though, make sure to have an up-to-date passport and a visa handy! The requirements are fairly similar for both business and tourism, but there are quite a few differences to take note of. Here’s what you need for your India visa:

For Tourism:

  • A completed, printed, and signed India visa application that must then be taken to your local US visa processing office for a 6-month multiple visa validity request.
  • A completed additional particulars form
  • A filled out India CKGS Disclaimer Form
  • Two passport-type photos (again, make sure you take off your glasses first!)
  • A copy of your driver’s license for proof of residence. The address must match the address on your application.
  • A copy of birth certificate if under 18. Naturalized citizens must include their naturalization certificate.
  • A passport with at least six months validity after the end of your trip and a blank visa page.
  • US residents who are not citizens must provide a copy of their green card or copies of their US visa and I-94
  • A copy of your flight itinerary
  • A copy of your passport

For Business:

  • A completed India visa application that is filled out online, printed, and signed. Take this form to your local visa processing office for a 12-month multiple visa validity request.
  • A filled out additional particulars form for visa services
  • A completed India CKGS Disclaimer Form
  • Two passport-type photos (make sure to take off your glasses first!)
  • A copy of your driver’s license for proof of residence. The address must match the address on your application.
  • A copy of your birth certificate (if under 18)
  • If you are a non-US passport holder, be sure to send a copy of your green card or US Visa and I-94. If naturalized, include your naturalization certificate.
  • Passport with at least 6 months validity after the end of your trip and one blank visa page
  • A copy of your flight itinerary
  • A detailed business letter on company letterhead that states the requested length of the visa.
  • An invitation from your host in India that states the requested length of the visa. This can be faxed or emailed.
  • Articles of incorporation from the company in India.
  • One invitation from host in India. Invitation must state the request of visa length (12 months). This may be a faxed or email attachment.
  • A copy of your passport

For more information and links to the forms you will need for your India visa, check out our comprehensive article on it here. For all of your US passport and visa needs, including obtaining and expediting your India visa, call Texas Tower Houston at 713-874-1420. We are ready and eager to assist you.

St.Patrick’s Day, a Roman Catholic feast day meant to commemorate the patron saint of Ireland who passed away on March 17, 461, takes place on March 17th every year. Something that may surprise you is that St. Patrick wasn’t Irish, but he is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.

Patrick was born under the name Maewyn in Roman Britain, and was kidnapped and sold into slavery when he was young, which was how he got to Ireland. He eventually escaped to a monastery in what is now France and became a Christian. In 432, he returned to Ireland as missionary and confronted the Druids at Tara, abolishing their pagan rites and spreading Christianity throughout Ireland. After his death, he was made a bishop and named the patron saint of Ireland.

While St. Patrick’s Day was traditionally a religious affair that removed the Lent restrictions on eating meat and was celebrating with food, drink, and dancing, and has been celebrated in Ireland since the ninth or tenth century. According to the legend of St. Patrick, he used a three-leaf clover (also known as a shamrock) to explain the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland.

It became closer to the modern parades and parties that are associated with it once it started being celebrated in the United States by Irish immigrants. In the 1760s, Irish soldiers in New York who were serving in the English military held the first known St. Patrick’s Day parades as a means of reconnecting with their roots and with other Irishmen in the American colonies.

Today, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world, especially in the US, Canada, and Australia. You can even find a St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin now that has over one million attendees every year! It includes parades, concerts, theater productions, and even fireworks displays.

While US citizens do not need a visa to go to Ireland and will instead need a visa waiver called an ESTA, you will still need a passport. We can help you with that. Give Texas Tower Houston a call 713-874-1420 today and let us know what we can do to help you with your US passport needs. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

When traveling abroad, US citizens are encouraged to carry a passport and a visa, if applicable, for their travel destination. Whether you decide to get a passport book or card depends on your budget, the frequency with which you travel, and where you wish to go. If you’re a traveler based in Dallas, here’s a mini-guide to deciding whether a passport book or card is right for you.

A passport card is much like a driver’s license or state ID, and is a plastic card that fits easily into your wallet. Passport books, on the other hand, are larger affairs filled with blank pages for visas and stamps used as record for anytime you enter or exit a country.

The biggest difference you will find between passport books and cards is that passport books are valid for any international travel by air, sea, or land, while passport cards are only accepted for land and sea border crossings in or near North America. This includes the US, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. If you’re a US citizen, passport cards are not needed for American territories such as Puerto Rico, in which a birth certificate and photo identification would suffice for entry.

Another big difference between passport books and cards is in the cost. For adults, passport books will cost $110 plus a $35 execution fee for the first passport book, while a passport card costs $30 (plus the same execution fee for your first card). For both a book and card, you can expect to pay $140, plus the $35 execution fee if it’s your first time applying and you’re over the age of 16. For minors, passport books are $80, cards are $15, and it’s $95 for both. There’s still a $35 execution fee for first-time applicants. Both passport books and cards are valid for 10 years.

So, which one is right for you? It depends on your travel needs and budget. The passport card is definitely the budget-safe option at only $30, especially if most of your travel is in or near North America, especially for cruises and other non-air travel. It’s also handy for crossing the Canadian border by land or sea to get into or out of Alaska. For air travel, frequent international travel, and peace of mind in case of travel emergencies where you need to schedule a flight home, the passport card is your best bet and well worth the price.

If you’re a Texan traveler who wants to get your US passport needs taken care of in mere business days instead of waiting the typical 6 weeks, we are ready to assist you. Call Texas Tower Houston at 713-874-1420 about our passport expediting services today.

Lagos is one of the crown jewels of Africa, and a must-see for anyone on a trip to Nigeria. This active, multi-faceted city has a little something for everyone to enjoy. Here are the top 5 things to do on your first (or next) trip to the beautiful city of Lagos, Nigeria.

Visit Freedom Park

Freedom Park is a huge cultural hub in downtown Lagos Island. The old colonial prison grounds have been revitalized into a center thrumming with art, culture, and recreation. You can find a gallery, a food court, museum, and much more. Annual events like the Lagos Reggae Festival and Eko Theatre Carnival are also held there. There’s always something to do in Freedom Park, guaranteed!

Bask in the Nightlife

In Lagos, the night never really ends on the weekends. On Victoria Island, you’ll find the streets packed with bars and nightclubs, with other highly-regarded establishments in Lekki, Ikeja, and Ikoyi. Some nightclubs make a point to operate on Sundays for tourists and locals alike who are still looking to dance and enjoy the nightlife as much as possible before Monday hits.

Take In The Art Scene

Lagos’ art, music, and literature scene can be found at two fantastic venues: The Jazzhole and Bogobiri. Live music, literature, and great food and drink can be found at both. If you’re an art enthusiast itching to see what the Nigerian art scene has to offer, these are two fantastic starting points among many.

Scuba Dive

Divers, rejoice! Lagos has some beautiful diving locations for certified scuba divers. Check out the Jet Ski Club on Victoria Island for directions to diving hotspots or joining a local dive group if you need a dive buddy for your next underwater excursion.

Enjoy An Owambe Party

Owambe (lit. “it is there” in Yoruba slang) refers to some of the most colorful and fun social events you can find in Lagos, and can include weddings, birthdays, and even remembrance parties. These gatherings are often attended by socialites who are ready to let their hair down in beautiful traditional garb. This, paired with tons of food and drink, live indigenous music, dancing, and general merriment, makes for some extravagant parties in Lagos all year round. Most of the time, pretty much any well-dressed person can participate in an owambe!

Getting ready to go to Nigeria? We can help you with your US passport and Nigeria visa needs. For documents you need for your Nigeria business or tourist visa, check out our page here. Give Texas Tower Houston a call at 713-874-1420 and let us know how we can help you with your US passport and Nigeria visa needs.

Cuban food is delicious and flavorful blend of Spanish, Native American, African, and Caribbean cuisines that, like most Latin American cuisines, isn’t particularly spicy, but can be made spicier with some hot sauce at any paladares (privately-owned restaurants). Better still, the price at these restaurants for the quality food you get is very enticing: the average plate is much cheaper than at state-owned restaurants, coming in at around $3-$10 per plate. Portions are also often very large and perfect for sharing with your family, friends, and other travel companions.  

Have you been considering a trip to Cuba and wanted to learn more about the cuisine before you go? Here are 9 excellent Cuban meals to get your mouth watering:

  1. Pulpeta
    You can think of pulpeta like a Cuban spin on meatloaf. It’s well-seasoned mincemeat and ham mixed together with hard-boiled eggs stuffed inside. Rather than baking, pulpeta is generally cooked on the stove.
  2. Ropa vieja
    Ropa vieja (lit. “old clothes”) is the national dish of Cuba, which is interesting considering beef isn’t terribly common in Cuba outside of resorts and restaurants that cater to tourists. This heart stew is filled with tomatoes, onions, and tender beef chunks that slowly cooked until they are easily shredded.
  3. Paella
    Cuban paella is much like its Spanish cousin in composition, with its saffron rice, meats, and seafood cooked in a large, shallow pan, and is often filled with ham, chorizo, chicken, shrimp, lobster, scallops, and mussels.
  4. Ajiaco
    Ajiaco is another wonderfully hearty stew that has everything but the kitchen sink! This delicious Cuban stew has a little something for everyone: pumpkin, potatoes, plantains, corn, malanga, meats, spices, tomato paste, lemon juice, and even beer to add depth of flavor.
  5. Corn on the cob
    Cuba’s take on corn on the cob is both simple and delicious. First, the corn cobs are grilled before being rolled in mouthwatering cotija cheese, sprinkled with chili powder and garnished with a few drops of lime juice.
  6. Tostones
    Tostones are one of those foods that are found all throughout the Caribbean under different names depending where you are. This addictive dish is made using thick slices of plantains which are fried, pressed on to form something closer to a patty, and then fried again.
  7. Congrí
    This dish, simply rice and black beans cooked with garlic, oil, and spices, is found with pretty much any authentic cocina criolla (lit. “Creole cooking”), and is also referred to as moros y cristianos. It’s a delightful and satisfying dish with heart protein and flavorful rice that is the perfect accompaniment to any main dish.
  8. Arroz con leche
    Arroz con leche is a simple yet satisfying rice pudding made with rice, milk, sugar, and cinnamon that is the perfect comfort food for any occasion. The soft, sweet, creamy texture hits every high note a dessert should have.
  9. Cazuela de plátano
    This decadent dessert is made with bananas, raisins, pecans, butter, and brown sugar, and is an excellent dessert for lactose intolerant travelers. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, buttery, smooth and crisp to satisfy any sweet tooth.

If you’re hungry to try some amazing Cuban paladares, you’re going to need a passport and visa first. Fortunately, we can help you get both quickly and easily. Contact Texas Tower Houston at 713-874-1420 and we will always be ready to assist you with your passport and visa needs. For more information on what you need to get a Cuba visa, this article can help. 

Are you a Houstonian (or any American citizen) that is itching to travel abroad, but you need to renew your passport first? Is your passport about to expire and you want to renew before the expiration date? Here are the documents you’ll need in order to successfully renew your US passport:

  • Form DS-82
  • Your most recent US passport
  • Name change documents, such as a marriage certificate or divorce decree
  • One photo, stapled in each corner with vertical staples to your application, that meets all requirements for a passport photo (2”x2”, plain white background with no shadows, no wearing glasses or uniforms, etc.)
  • Payment for a passport renewal fee. $110 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card, $140 for both book and card. Checks or money orders must be made out to “US Department of State”

Once your application is accepted and completed, Keep in mind that, in order to renew your passport by mail, your most recent passport must meet certain requirements:

  • must be submitted with your passport renewal application
  • in largely undamaged other than some wear and tear
  • issued when you were at least 16 years of age
  • issued within the past 15 years
  • was issued in your current name (if there has been a name change, be sure to include documentation, such as an original or certified copy of a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or a court order)

When you’re ready to mail your passport renewal application, there are a couple of different addresses to consider that depend on where you live. There’s also an acceptance facility specifically for expediting passports. When your application is ready to go, be sure your papers are packaged in a way that leaves the application unfolded and ship only through USPS.

For travelers who live in Texas (or other states like Florida, California, Illinois, New York, and Minnesota), you will want to send it here:

National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 640155
Irving, TX 75064-0155

If you would like assistance in getting your US passport renewed or would like it expedited so you don’t have to wait a whopping 6 weeks for your next trip, we are ready to assist you. Simply contact Texas Tower Houston at 713-874-1420 about our passport services and we’ll take care of the rest.

It’s International Women’s Day! Ghana has been home to many inspiring and prominent women, from painters, poets, and activists, to engineers, business owners, and athletes. In order to celebrate the contributions and hard work of women all around the world, let’s have a look at some great women from Ghana, a beautiful country and a great place to start if you’ve ever considered traveling to Africa.

Farida Bedwei

Farida Bedwei (b. 1979), who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 1, didn’t let that stop her from achieving her goals. Her determination and know-how has led the software engineer to become co-founder of Logiciel, a cloud software service that hundreds of African microfinance companies rely on for their businesses to function.

Esther Afua Ocloo

Esther Afua Ocloo (1919-2002), an attendee of the very first UN World Conference on Women in 1975, was an entrepreneur with humble beginnings, selling fruit juices and marmalade. From there she eventually climbed her way to a position operating a bank tailored to aiding low-income women. She was also chairman of the board of directors of Women’s World Banking, and came to the aid of millions of women looking to start businesses and bring prosperity to their communities.

Theodosia Okoh

Theodosia Salome Abena Kumea Okoh (1922-2015) is most well known as the designer of the beautiful national flag of Ghana in 1957, which served as inspiration for the designs of many other African nations’ flags. This extremely skilled and talented woman was not just a multidisciplinary artist, she was also a teacher, writer, and athlete, who played a pivotal role in the development of hockey in Ghana. She was also given an official Grand Medal by the state for her myriad achievements in service to her country. Upon her passing, Ghanaian flags were flown at half mast for three days.

Ama Ata Aidoo

A celebrated writer, playwright, and poet, Ama Ata Aidoo is an illustrious African writer who serves as inspiration for other African authors such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Lola Shoneyin. Her writing is lush with detail that brings color and life to her work in a way no one else can replicate. She is also known for the support group she created for African women writers, Mbaasem, and has the first West African creative writing center named after her.

Efua Sutherland

Efua Sutherland (1924-1996) is a prominent Ghanaian author and playwright who wrote in both English and Akan. She was also involved in radio broadcasting, creative direction, and teaching, who contributed greatly to the development of literary and dramatic arts in Ghana. Her efforts in academia and government gave birth to drama studios, writer’s societies, a community story house project known as the Kodzidan, and Afram Publications. Her work allowed for the teaching of African theater at the university level.

If you want to get in touch with the country that brought forth such great and inspiring women, you can contact Texas Tower Houston at 713-874-1420 about expediting both your passport and your Ghana visa. We are ready to assist you with your passport and visa needs and wish you a wonderful International Women’s Day.

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, the visa process can take some time on its own. However, expediting means only having to wait just a few days to get what you need. Why wait when, for a small fee, you can have your visa in just a few days without any hassle? Here are some of the main benefits of expediting your China visa:

  • Certainty.
    Instead of waiting for several weeks and still not being sure if you’ll get the visa, you can be approved in mere days and have your visa in your mailbox within a handful of business days.  
  • Expecting the unexpected.
    Life happens. In emergency situations, expediting your visa will get you where you need to go in just a few days, so you’ll never be too late for your engagements, family members in need, or important last-minute events in life.  
  • Convenience.
    It’s incredibly convenient to let a team handle it instead of having to take the day off of work and travel hundreds of miles (in some cases) to the nearest consulate to apply for your visa. With all of your documents in order, an agency dedicated to expediting passports and visas can handle your enquiry faster and with less stress. You can carry on with your day knowing you will have your Chinese visa needs taken care of.

There are few drawbacks to having your China visa expedited, especially since in most cases, Houstonians and other US residents will need one to be in China in the first place. Remember: once you get your visa, you have 90 days (or, in some cases, 180 days) to travel to China. The best time to apply for a Chinese business or tourist visa in Houston is between 2 months to 15 days before you plan to leave, so make sure to plan accordingly and have all of your paperwork ready so the application process goes smoothly.

If you’re ready to start the process of expediting your China visa, you can contact Texas Tower Houston at 713-874-1420, we are ready to assist you.