Finland Officially Closes Its Border for Russian Tourists

The Finnish government has decided today, on September 29, to restrict the entry of citizens of Russia into the country for tourism purposes.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland announced that entry restrictions for Russians on the country’s eastern border will start applying from tomorrow, September 30, and emphasised that they will remain in place until further notice, reports.

“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 statement of the Ministry reads.

At the government’s press conference, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Pekka Haavisto, said that by taking such a decision, the country aims to completely prevent Russian tourism to Finland. In addition, the Minister noted that the country also aims to no longer allow Russians to use Finland as a transit country to reach other destinations.

“The principle decision aims to stop tourism and related transit completely. The reception of visa applications is severely restricted,” the Ministry added.

The Ministry explained that Finland decided to take such a decision as the high number of Russians that have been reaching the country endangers Finland’s international status as well as its international relations.

At the same time, the Finnish authorities have noted that certain exemptions will apply. Russians who need to enter Finland for humanitarian reasons, international obligations, or family-related reasons will not be affected by the decision.

Additionally, the Minister of Interior of Finland, Krista Mikkonen, has pointed out that the country has established a list of reasons based on which Russians will be able to enter the country on a tourist visa in the future.

The number of Russians reaching Finland increased significantly in the last week following Putin’s announcement of partial mobilisation. However, now that Finland will start applying stricter entry restrictions for Russians, the cross-border traffic is estimated to be halved from the level registered over the last week.

The most recent data provided by the Finnish Border Guard show that more than 11,700 Russians entered the territory of Finland via land border on September 27 and September 28.

On September 27, a total of 7,052 citizens of Russia entered Finland via land, whereas on September 28, the country registered 4,707 entries of Russians. Over the last two days, a high number of Russians also left Finland. Data show that 3,313 Russians left Finland on September 27, and 3,060 Russians left Finland on September 28.