[IMG=20673-6448] At the beginning of August the British Visa Center that was established in May 2006 issued visas with delays, travel market experts say. The situation has stabilize, however, until now individual clients had to wait for their visas for a week instead of three days, while visas for groups were promised to be issued in three weeks instead of standard 10 days.
Furthermore, travel market professionals point out different reasons for delays. Some of them say that August is a traditional time for holidays when work load for Consulates increases and the British Visa Center did not become exclusion. Evidently, shortage of personnel affected the performance of the Visa Center. Other experts point out technical problems with electricity and computer system. ‘The Visa Centre is located in a very old building. No wonder technical problems occur’, explained Nadezhda Petrenko, the Head of the British Department of Russian Express. According to one more version, the Visa Center gave priority to passports with European visas. There were few of them and the visa issuing process was frozen.
Meanwhile, there is an opinion that the situation mainly affected those tour operators for which Great Britain is not the key destination. Their applications are processed at the last moment.
Furthermore, the business of tour operators who organize bus tours was also affected by the situation in the Visa Center as bus tours are usually booked by tourists from Russian regional cities who often have ‘clean’ passports. As a result some tour operators took a decision to suspend sales of tours to Britain. Thus, Dmitry Fomintsev, General Director of Tourtrans – Voyage, commented: ‘it is not convenient to wait for a visa for three weeks especially when there is a possibility that half of a group will not receive visas’.
Official comments of the Director of the British Visa Centers will be published in the coming news reports.
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