Finland limits tourist visas for Russians | Tourism News

Finland’s foreign minister said the decision was made amid a wave of Russian tourists using Finland as a gateway to European holiday destinations.

Finland will limit the number of visas issued to Russians to 10% of the current number from September 1 due to growing grievances against Russian tourism in the middle of the war in Ukrainegovernment said.

“Tourist visas will not stop completely, but their numbers will decrease significantly,” Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on Tuesday in Helsinki, amid an influx of Russian tourists to Europe.

Haavisto said the decision came as a large number of Russian tourists began using Finland and its Helsinki-Vantaa airport as gateways to European holiday destinations, after Russia lifted restrictions pandemic-related border restrictions a month ago.

Tourist visas from neighboring Russia will be restricted by limiting the prescribed opening hours for tourist visa applications, as a ban entirely based on nationality is not possible, Haavisto said.

“This means that other visas – visiting relatives, contacting family, working, studying – will be given priority and have more time,” the minister explained.

Currently, Finland processes about 1,000 Russian visa applications a day, Haavisto exclusively told public broadcaster Yle.

Finland will also consider establishing a specific humanitarian visa category, which it lacks.

“This can make the situation in some cases much easier for journalists or NGO staff,” says Haavisto.

Just days after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Finland joined a host of Western countries in closing their airspace to Russian planes in response. makes it difficult for Russians to travel to Europe.

The foreign minister also announced that Finland and the Baltics will jointly propose to the European Union to suspend a visa facilitation agreement with Russia. This will increase the price of a tourist visa from 35 euros to 80 (from $35 to $81).

Finland intends to raise the issue at the next meeting of European Union (EU) foreign ministers in the Czech Republic on August 30.

The The Nordic country has applied to join NATO after political and popular support for the alliance skyrocketed following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the country remains Russia’s only EU neighbor with no restrictions on tourist visas for public citizens. Russian people.

“It is not true that Russian citizens can enter Europe, the Schengen area, as tourists… while Russia is killing people in Ukraine. It was a mistake,” Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Monday.

While the numbers are still far below pre-COVID-19 levels, more than 230,000 people crossed the border in July – up from 125,000 seen in June.

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