[IMG=21626-7475]Starting from December 8th 2006 visas to Holland will be issued by special visa centers. The visa centers will accept documents without previous registration from both tour operating companies and individual persons. According to experts interviewed by a BANKO correspondent the decision to organize special visa centers was taken in order to reduce workload of consulate agents. Evgeny Kalyanichev, representative of Visa Department of Amstel Travel, commented as follows: ‘as far as I know Consulate agents will be responsible for personal interviews and for proceeding visa applications. That will help to avoid queues. Moreover, the Consulate promises to accept documents and issue visas at more convenient time and to issue visas within one-two days’.
The information about the visa centers – addresses and working hours will be published at the web site of the Embassy of the Netherlands in the coming days. At the moment it is known that the initiative belongs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
Furthermore, tourists will have to pay extra 900 RUR (around 30$) in addition to the consulate fee ($35). However, travel market experts believe that this will not affect the demand for the country. ‘To pay extra 30 dollars is not crucial for those who travel to Europe, therefore, the initiative will not affect the tourist flow’, representatives of the Visa Department of BSI Group said.
Meanwhile, tour operators that specialize in the Holland market are concerned that consulate agents might be more precise while proceeding visa applications that in its turn might provoke higher percentage of visa cancellations.
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