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Visa ban for Russians comes into force

On Thursday, Russians holding Schengen visas from Estonia will no longer be allowed to enter the Baltic State.

Estonia’s decision to bar access to most Russian citizens with Schengen visas issued by the Baltic nation came into force on Thursday.

Tallinn’s government approved the Visa Crackdown last week in response to sanctions against Moscow regarding its military intervention in Ukraine.

This means that Russians with Estonian visas will be turned away at border checkpoints in Narva, Luhamaa, and Koidula.

There are exceptions to this rule. These include diplomats, their families and those involved in international passenger and cargo transportation. Persons with EU rights have the right to free movement. People who need to enter the Baltic country for humanitarian purposes. Close relatives and permanent residents of Estonian citizens.

Despite the travel ban, Estonian-issued visas held by Russian have not been cancelled, and can still be used to access the other 25 members of the Schengen area, Estonia’s Foreign Ministry noted.

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Finland cracks down on Russians in visa policy

Additionally, for the moment, Estonian citizens can freely visit Russia if they have received visas from any Schengen country.

Finland had earlier this week announced it was reducing the Russian visa requirements by half. Now, only 100 tourist permits are issued each day.

Tallinn, Helsinki and other Russian passport holders have called for the complete ban on issuing Schengen visas to tourists.

Estonia considers restricting Russians’ access to Estonia, even if they have visas from other Schengen countries.

Urmas Reinsalu (Foreign Minister) stated that the interior and foreign ministers could submit proposals to this effect as soon as next week. Reinsalu insists that this would not constitute a violation EU laws. Reinsalu pointed out that members had closed their borders to the EU during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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