Danish visa delays hurting tourism industry

passportUnusually long response times from Denmark’s Immigration Service for applications for tourist visas are apparently hindering the nation’s tourism industry. The Horesta interest organisation reports that millions of kroner are being lost by businesses that rely on tourism due to the government delays in processing certain visa applications.

Horesta board member Jens Zimmer Christensen estimates that more than 300 million kroner is lost each year because of these delays, according to the Copenhagen Post. Horesta is the organisation that represents Denmark’s hotel, restaurant, and tourism industry.

All non-EU citizen visa applications must apply at their local embassy, where 90 percent of applicants are dealt with directly on site. However, 10 percent of visas are forwarded to the immigration Service for closer inspection. What once took five weeks in 2007 now take three months for a visa to be processed at the Immigration Service in Denmark.

The Immigration Service defended itself by saying the increased delays were a result of a glitch in its new IT system, which was implemented a year ago. The flaws have been fixed, and the agency expects wait times to decrease, albeit slowly.

Morten Bo Laursen, Immigration Service’s communications manager, claims the IT system is now working as it should, but the backlog of applications from the past year means there’s a lot of catching up to do. They hope to work through the backlog by August, when response times should drop significantly.