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November 6, 2012

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France, Germany open joint visa center in city

A JOINT visa center for France and Germany was launched yesterday in the city and it is expected to ease the visa application process and cut wait times.

The number of Chinese tourists to Europe has increased in recent years, resulting in longer wait periods throughout the application process, especially during peak travel seasons.

The German consulate received 90,000 visa applications last year, compared with 62,000 in 2009. The number is expected to reach 100,000 this year. But the number of visa staff has not risen accordingly.

Some visa agencies have been found charging people 1,000 yuan (US$160) or more to get them "urgent interviews" to speed up the application process.

Because of increasing demand, the consulates launched a new visa process and outsourced the non-governmental processing to an external service provider, TLScontact.

Chinese applicants can hand in visa applications to the center instead of going to the German or French consulates. The center will transfer the applications to the consulates, which will still make the decision of whether to grant an applicant a visa.

There will be no need for interviews in regular cases and visitors can mail their application to the center.

The visa center is at Long Yu International Business Plaza, No 299-329 Hengfeng Road in Zhabei District.

Applicants who want to learn more can visit the websites and


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