U.K. Visa Woes Plague Tourists, School Groups
Published: May 8, 2014 (Issue # 1809)
Recent problems with the issuance of tourist visas by the British Consulate General in St. Petersburg have been put down to technical issues, reports the ITAR-TASS news agency.
Tour operators have reported on problems with obtaining British visas including significant delays, which have led to the disruption or cancellation of entire tour and school group visits to the U.K. Agents have also complained about the difficulty of accessing reliable information on passport status online as well as problems with online payment systems.
An employee of the British consulate claimed that the issue had nothing to do with politics. According to the unidentified consular employee, the agent operating the consulate’s visa center was changed in late March. The employee characterized the situation as "bad" and "very difficult," but stated that the consulate has no control over the situation as the intermediary company was chosen by the British government and operates according to a worldwide contract.
The consulate was unable to say when the new operator would resume normal service. There have been no official comments on the situation by the embassy.