Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Thousands queue for a new life in Britain from Bulgaria and Romania
The queue for visas in Bucharest
A stampede for passports to a new life in Britain began just minutes after our borders were thrown open to Bulgaria and Romania.
The two impoverished eastern European nations were welcomed into the EU when their applications were rubberstamped in Brussels.
They do not join officially until January 1 next year.
But that did not stop wild celebrations in both countries as prospective immigrants relished the prospect of free movement within the EU - with Britain a prime destination.
Huge queues formed outside police stations in Romania, where staff issue the pictures needed for passport applications.
Few had bothered to obtain passports in the past. Many are now desperate to get their hands on the £25 travel document which, from January 1, will be a ticket to a new life.
Some began queuing at midnight, hours before Brussels made the announcement.
Oprea Ovidiu, 20, a student heading for Britain, said: 'It's great news, I am getting my passport now we know for sure and will be gone by next year.'