Estonia To Stop Issuing Tourist Visas To Russians

Estonia To Stop Issuing Tourist Visas To Russians

The Estonian government on 11 August 2022 announced that it will bar Russians with Estonian-issued Schengen visas from entering the country.

“We see that the number of Russian citizens passing through Estonia or coming to Estonia from Russia has increased massively,”

“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.”

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu

Estonia and Russia share a nearly 300-kilometre-long border.

The sanction applies from 18 August 2022. 

Calls To Stop Issuing Visas to Russians

Last week, Estonian and Finnish leaders urged fellow European countries to stop issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens, saying they should not be able to take vacations in Europe while the Russian government carries out war in Ukraine.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas wrote on Twitter that “visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right” and that it is “time to end tourism from Russia now”.

A day earlier, her counterpart in Finland, Sanna Marin, told Finnish broadcaster YLE that “it is not right that while Russia is waging an aggressive, brutal war of aggression in Europe, Russians can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists.”

Visas issued by Estonia and Finland are valid across most of Europe’s “Schengen area” which is made up of 26 countries: 22 EU nations plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The Czech Republic became the first EU country to stop issuing visas to Russian citizens in late February, and both Finland and Latvia are calling for all EU countries to impose a full ban on Russian travellers. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said she expected the issue to be discussed at upcoming EU leaders' summits.

The Commission said current visa sanctions targeted Russian oligarchs and people close to the Kremlin, not citizens.

Exemptions to the Rule

Once the sanction will be implemented, Russians will be unable to travel to Estonia for tourism purposes. 

The following are exemptions to the rule:

  • Russian citizens with visas issued by other EU countries 
  • Russian citizens who have a long-term residence in Estonia
  • Russian diplomats and their family
  • Russian workers in the field of international transporting goods and passengers
  • Russians visiting close relatives, 
  • Russian students unable to complete their studies in Estonia
  • Russian citizen travelling for humanitarian reasons

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