Russians are now banned from entering the Baltic states, as well as Poland. The prime ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland say that starting from Sept. 19, entry for Russian citizens with tourist visas will be denied. This also applies to Schengen visas issued by third countries.
“Together with Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, we decided to jointly limit tourism opportunities for Russian citizens in order to protect public order and security. Now it is impossible to guarantee that Russian tourists arriving via Estonia to the EU do not pose a security risk,” the prime ministers said in a statement.
Representatives of the two countries noted that traveling to the European Union is “a privilege that does not relate to human rights.”
“A regional agreement has been reached, and now we will continue to work to ensure that the ban on tourism for Russian citizens begins to apply throughout the European Union,” the appeal says.
However, the restriction still does not apply to all Russians. Russian citizens can cross the border to visit family members living in the Schengen area or a person with whom they are raising minor children together.
In addition, the exception will apply to diplomats, Russian citizens who have been issued a short-term visa, and those who are registered for work. The exception also applies for holders of a short-term study visa and employees of international commodity and passenger transportation.
Despite the restrictions, people will be allowed in for humanitarian reasons, in particular dissidents.
At the same time, Estonia stressed that more than 70% of Russians support the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, so the introduction of such entry restrictions for them is primarily a security issue.
Estonia was the first country in the EU to introduce new visa sanctions for Russians. The Republic has closed entry for Russian citizens with valid Schengen visas, which were previously issued to them. But it also left exceptions for relatives, diplomats, drivers and holders of residence permits.
Before that, Russians could visit Europe by land only through the Baltic states and Finland. However, from now on, they will only be able to go through Finland, which refused to support the Baltic states and Poland in this rather radical decision.
On Sept. 12, the decision of the Council of the European Union to completely terminate the simplified visa agreement with the Russian Federation came into force.
The Baltic states, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands have stopped accepting documents for issuing tourist visas from Russian citizens. They left them the opportunity to obtain only certain categories of visas, including humanitarian ones.
The number of new visas for Russians should be significantly reduced. The visa processing fee is now 80 euros instead of 35 euros. More documents will also be needed, thereby increasing the processing time and limiting the issuance of multiple-entry visas.
Subsequently, Switzerland also joined the ban on issuing visas to Russian citizens.
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