Finland’s Foreign Ministry said today that the country will cut the number of Schengen visas issued to the citizens of Russian Federation by about 90%.
According to the country’s Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto, new policy will cut the number of accepted entry visa applications from Russian citizens to twenty or ten percent of the current level.
Starting on September 1, 2022, only 500 visa applications made inside Russia will be processed daily, with 100 allotted to tourists and the rest reserved for people traveling on business, including workers, students, and those with immediate family in Finland.
Finland currently receives about 1,000 visa applications in Russia every day. Under the new policy, the number will eventually shrink to 100-200.
Finland’s Foreign Ministry announced that the country supports the complete suspension of the visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Russia – a move that would more than double application fees for Russian travelers.
Finland is also calling for an EU-wide ban, joining Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania that have already stopped issuing visas to Russian citizens.
The European Union suspended all flights to and from Russia after Putin’s regime lunched an unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine in February, but Russian citizens can still enter EU by land. Once issued an entry visa by one Schengen zone country, they can travel to any of the other 25 states in the border-free travel zone.
According to Finland’s Prime Minister, it’s “not right” that Russians “can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists.”
Finland lifted its COVID-19 entry restrictions on July 1, 2022 and began accepting entry visa applications from Russian citizens the same day.
More than 236,000 Russian visitors crossed into Finland last month, the country’s border service reported.