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Italy (Passport Visas)

Volume 439: debated on Wednesday 9 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that, at the Italian Consulate-General in London, British applicants are required to complete an elaborate form in quintuplicate, supply four photographs and pay £15s. for each visa for a short visit to Italy; that usually they have to queue standing for two hours; and if he will make an immediate protest.

As stated in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Aberdeen and Kincardine (Mr. Spence) on 27th February last, His Majesty's Government do not feel able to make official representations to the Italian Government regarding the elaborate formalities for obtaining Italian visas. Representations have recently been made, but without success, to the Italian Government about the fee of 25s. payable for Italian visas, and in accordance with the usual practice in such circumstances the fee payable by Italian nationals for British visas has been correspondingly raised to 25s.

I cannot overcome queueing where visas are concerned. My policy is to abolish these visas altogether. When the Treaty is ratified and one can deal with it, I shall certainly be very pleased to abolish visas in the case of Italy.

Would the right hon. Gentleman request the Italian Government at least to provide accommodation, so that these people can sit down instead of having to stand up for two hours?

I do not think that anything I can do with regard to these visas would do away with the waiting and formalities which have to be overcome. The only way to get over the problem is to abolish them. In this country, I have abolished visas for a number of countries. The system I introduced of getting passports at the Ministry of Labour offices has reduced all the trouble so far as Great Britain is concerned.