Growing Number of Visa Applications from Russian Travellers

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Growing Number of Visa Applications from Russian Travellers

Deputy Foreign Minister Milen Keremedchiev on Thursday commented on reports about problems with the issue of Bulgarian visas to Russian nationals. Interviewed by Bulgarian National Radio, he said that applicants for Bulgarian visas in the first four months of 2008 increased 54 per cent year on year. Expectations are that 300,000 visas will be issued in 2008, compared with 200,000 visas in 2007.

Four persons have been seconded to the Bulgarian consular service in Moscow to provide additional assistance. Another two will be sent on Monday, which brings to 12 the staff positions at the consular service.

Bulgaria has introduced an online system for applying for Bulgarian visas, which works wonderfully but is not used by accredited tour operators.

Representatives of accredited tour operators stand in line outside the Bulgarian Embassy since very early in the morning, bringing bags of visa applications instead of sending them online, which would spare them the need to be physically present, Keremedchiev said.

Bulgarian Consul in Russia Lyubomir Popov said the increase of visa applications is partly due to the growing number of Russians owning immovable property in Bulgaria. According to him, the problem will be resolved with the opening of a Bulgarian visa centre, which is expected to happen in September.

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