Starting From Today, Russians Are Banned From Entering Estonia With Estonian Schengen Visas

Starting from today, August 18, citizens of Russia who hold a Schengen visa issued by Estonia will not be permitted entry into the country.

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The decision of Estonia to ban Russians who hold an Estonian visa was announced last week and was taken in view of the ongoing war in Ukraine, reports.

Apart from banning Russians who hold a valid visa issued by the Estonian authorities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last week that the country would also stop issuing visas for citizens of Russia.

According to the Ministry, all Russians who apply for a Schengen visa in Estonia for travel purposes will be rejected their request.

Commenting on the decision of the Estonian government, the Foreign Minister, Urmas Reinslau, suggested that this was only right, as by imposing sanctions, Estonia wanted to take away from Russians the opportunity to continue living normally.

“The possibility for Russian citizens to visit Estonia en masse or through Estonia to Europe is not in line with the purpose of the sanctions we have imposed. When imposing sanctions, Estonia wanted that the aggressor country would not have the opportunity to continue normal international life at the level of its citizens,” Reinsalu said last week.

However, the Ministry pointed out that certain exemptions apply. Citizens of Russia who hold an Estonian residence permit, Russian diplomats and their family members working in Estonia, those involved in international cargo and passenger transport, as well as Russians who can move under the EU law can still enter Estonia.

Exemptions have been made for Russian students in Estonia too. The Estonian authorities said last week that Russian students in Estonia are exempt from the Schengen visa ban.

Students from Russia who have not finished their studies yet are able to extend their residence permit for a year. The decision to extend the residence permit for Russian students was taken after being concluded that they found themselves in an unexpected situation. In addition, it was noted that if they get sent back to Russia, they will not be able to finish their studies.

While the decision to extend the residence permit for Russian students was welcomed, the decision to stop issuing visas and ban entry for Russians was criticised.

The United Nations opposed Estonia’s decision to ban visas for citizens of Russia. The UN Secretary-General spokesperson said that by imposing such restrictions, Estonia is discriminating against Russians.

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