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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 18:44 GMT
Romania tackles Moldova visa rush
Crowd outside Romanian consulate in Chisinau
Romania's consulate in Chisinau is overburdened with paperwork
Moldova's President Vladimir Voronin has agreed to let Romania open two temporary consulates to deal with a huge backlog of visa applications.

Romania introduced a visa regime for Moldovans on 1 January when it joined the European Union.

Since then, huge queues have formed outside Romania's consulate in the Moldovan capital Chisinau.

Romania is also struggling to deal with Moldovan applications for Romanian citizenship, which have topped 500,000.

The deal to open consulates in Balti and Cahul came during talks with Romanian President Traian Basescu, who visited neighbouring Moldova on Tuesday to resolve the crisis.

He promised a change in the nationality law to address the huge number of applications for Romanian citizenship - from more than one in eight of Moldova's total population.

Romania grants citizenship to Moldovans whose parents or grandparents were Romanian citizens before 1940, when Moldova was part of Romania.

The law was altered in 2003 and a residence clause of four years was added which made it very difficult for most Moldovans to become Romanian citizens.

In the run-up to Romania's EU accession last year, hundreds of thousands of Moldovans rushed to file citizenship applications.

Country profile: Moldova
03 Jan 07 |  Country profiles
Romania: Key facts and figures
30 Dec 06 |  Europe
Country profile: Romania
29 Dec 06 |  Country profiles

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