Map: Which EU Countries Have Imposed Visa & Entry Restrictions on Russian Tourists, So Far?
After much debate and calls to ban Russian tourists from entering the territory of the European Union and Schengen Area countries, the Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – together with Poland, became the first EU states to impose such a ban on September 19.
“Taking into account the military invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the resulting threats to the countries’ national security, Lithuania together with Latvia, Estonia and Poland decided to tighten the entry control of Russian citizens,” the Lithuanian Ministry of Internal Affairs had announced in a statement.
Authorities in the other three countries had followed by publishing statements confirming that they had stopped issuing visas to citizens of Russia while also banning entry for those who were already holding valid visas, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The decision had sparked both criticism and support amongst EU officials and the Member States. However, following the move, other EU countries, in particular, those sharing land borders with the Russian Federation, have moved to impose restrictions on entry for Russian tourists.
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Finland & the Czech Republic Have Also Closed Borders to Russian Tourists
Immediately after the Baltic States and Poland, feeling the pressure of an influx of Russian tourists, Finland has also moved to close its land borders with Russia.
On September 29, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland announced that entry restrictions for Russians on the country’s eastern border would start applying the following day.
“With the government’s decision in principle on September 29, 2022, Finland will severely restrict the travel of Russians to Finland for tourism purposes. Entry restrictions come into force on September 30, 2022, at 00:00, and are valid until further notice,” the Ministry announced in a statement.
The authorities also revealed that transit through the country for Russian citizens would also be entirely stopped, while reception of visa applications would be severely restricted.
Whereas starting from next week, October 25, the Czech Republic will also impose a complete ban on Russian citizens holding valid Schengen visas issued by the Czech Republic or other Schengen countries.
Announcing the decision, the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jan Lipovsky, said that the ban was necessary as the ruthless bombing of civilians in Ukraine could not be ignored.
Issuance of Tourist Visas for Russians Suspended in Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands & Slovakia
While entry bans have not been imposed for Russian tourists, several EU and Schengen countries have already suspended the issuance of all types of Schengen visas, instead issuing only visas for humanitarian purposes or long-term visas for students, employees, and family reunions.
Belgium has suspended the issuance of tourist visas to Russian citizens as early as at the beginning of July this year. The country now issues visas only to students, researchers, one-time work visas, and au-pair visas for young people living and working in a host family.
Before Belgium, in May, Denmark had also stopped accepting applications for both short-term and long-term visas in Russia. The country now issues only visas for official visits.
“Until further notice, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Denmark in Moscow suspends the process of accepting applications on the territory of the Russian Federation for short-term visas and residence permits to Denmark, except for official visits,” the website of the Danish Embassy in Moscow explains.
The country has also suspended the Visa Facilitation Agreement with Russia on September 6, 2022.
At the same time, the Netherlands has suspended the issuance of short-term visas to citizens of Russian citizens on April 27 after its embassy staff was declared unwanted in Russia.
“As a result of the decision of the Russian authorities to declare the Dutch consular staff of the embassy in Moscow persona non grata, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has had to suspend the regular Schengen visa granting,” the Dutch Embassy in Russia explains.
The country, however, still considers applications for visas for humanitarian reasons and temporary residence permits.
Similarly, Slovakia also does not accept tourist visa applications in Russia. Visa applications are permitted only for certain categories of citizens of the Russian Federation and cases of emergencies.
Germany, Malta & Slovenia Still Issuing Schengen visas, But Under Tightened Conditions
The German authorities are still issuing Schengen visas to Russian tourists, however, now they are subject to quite tightened restrictions. While Germany has abolished the visa facilitation agreement with Russia, its authorities have also imposed a new visa application requirement – proof of an account in an EU bank account.
The move has been announced by the outsourcing provider VisaMetric, which has warned Russian applicants that only bank statements from a verifiable bank operating in the EU will be accepted for a Germany Schengen visa application.
“Only up-to-date statements issued in the applicant’s name from a verifiable bank operating in EU member states can be considered. The document must contain information about the current amount of funds in the account(s). The applicant must provide relevant statements from the bank account for the last three months,” the announcement of the Germany VisaMetric reads.
On the other hand, the island of Malta accepts applications only from Russian citizens who are family members of EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens.
As per Slovenia, the country issues visas to Russian citizens only if they submit a valid air ticket for a direct flight to Slovenia. Train or road tickets are not accepted as proof of travel. The requirement is confusing to many as Slovenia, just like the rest of the EU countries, has closed its sky to flights from Russia.
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