Estonia’s Foreign Ministry announces that all Russian nationals with Estonia-issued Schengen visas will be banned from entering the Baltic country ‘a week’s time.’
“In a week from now the sanction will be applied to Schengen visas issued by Estonia. Visa holders from Russia will be subject to restrictions. They will be denied entry to Estonia,” Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu announced at a media briefing.
“The sanction means that the visas will remain valid. However, visa holders will be sanctioned when entering Estonia; in other words, they will not be allowed to enter Estonia,” the minister added.
There will be a number of exceptions to new rule though, the official said. For instance, the employees of diplomatic millions in Estonia and members of their families, as well as persons engaged in international transportation or having the right to free movement under European Union (EU) laws will be exempt from the ban.
Also, the persons whose entry into Estonia is necessary for humanitarian reasons and close relatives of the country’s citizens or holders of Estonia’s permanent residence permit, will be exempt from new restriction.
“I would like to emphasize once again — firstly, this provision comes into force in a week. Secondly, it means that the vast majority of Schengen visas issued in Estonia actually will still be valid, but those individuals who do not fall under the exceptions are not allowed to enter Estonia,” the minister clarified, emphasizing that new rule would not have an impact on Russian Federation citizens who are holding Schengen visas issued by EU countries other than Estonia.
The Estonian government intends to develop a path to barring all Russian nationals that hold Schengen visas, regardless of where it was issued, from entering the country though, the minister said.
According to Minister Reinsalu, Estonia has data on over 50,000 valid Schengen visas issued to Russian citizens.
Earlier this week, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that she considered it necessary to ban the issuance of European Union tourist visas to all citizens of Russian Federation. Later, German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said that a proposal to that effect had been submitted for discussion in the EU.