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Canadian Consulate Slow to Grant Russians Visas, Tour Operators Say

Russians wanting to visit Canada have been repeatedly inconvenienced in recent months, as the Canadian Consulate in Moscow has been slow to grant Russian tourists visas, a tour operators' association said Thursday.

The Russian Tour Operators Association said that Canadian authorities had held up roughly 150 Russian tourists' passports in the Moscow consulate over the past three months and that Russian applicants had often been granted visas days after their scheduled date of departure, Interfax reported.

After receiving a string of complaints, the organization has written to the Canadian Consulate requesting that efforts be made to speed up the visa-application process. In pressing the consulate, the tour operators association has also sought the backing of the Foreign Ministry and Federal Tourism Agency, the news agency said

In information posted on a Canadian government website, visa authorities say that visa applications in their Moscow office are normally processed within 35 days in 80 percent of cases.

Despite the visa complications, 2,900 Russian tourists did manage to visit Canada in the first half of 2012, Interfax reported, citing State Statistics Service data.

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