Germany to relax visa rules
BERLIN - ReutersGermany will ease its visa controls next year, its foreign minister said Dec. 27, in a move expected to help thousands of people and companies from Russia and China seeking to do business in the European Union’s biggest economy. “I am pushing for a liberal visa policy which reflects Germany’s role in a globalised world,” Guido Westerwelle said.
The new rules are designed to simplify and speed up visa issuance by demanding fewer documents, making forms available on the Internet and ensuring decisions are made within 72 hours. Some of the administration will be outsourced and individuals, especially business people, will no longer be required to appear to German authorities in person. This is of particular importance in large countries like Russia where individuals have to travel long distances at great expense to appear at a German consulate.
China and Russia have for years complained that Germany’s visa rules, which experts say are tighter than other EU states’, are too restrictive.