Against the background of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, nine European countries no longer accept tourist visas from Russians.
The Latvian government published a joint statement on September 8 with Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Estonia prohibiting Russian citizens with Schengen tourist visas from crossing the border into the EU beginning September 19. It declared that tourist travel to Europe is considered a privilege, not a right.
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands decided to join and close entry to Russian tourists.
“Don’t come to Estonia on Schengen visas. You are not welcome here!” Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said at a press conference in Tallinn on September 8.
The Latvian statement said the countries consider Russian tourist trips a threat to the public and internal security and have declared their intention to seek a general ban at the level of the European Union.
The ban applies to tourist visas and does not affect those entering the EU for family or humanitarian reasons. In addition, it will not affect holders of residence permits, diplomats, and drivers of commercial vehicles. The ban also does not apply to the transit of Russian citizens to Kaliningrad.
Against the background of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, the European Union countries bordering Russia demanded that the European Commission take measures to restrict the entry of Russian tourists.
On September 12, the Council of the EU suspended an agreement on simplifying the visa regime with the Russian Federation, which may complicate the issuance of visas to Russians.
EU High Representative Josep Borrell clarified that not all Schengen Russian visas would be canceled, yet having a permit would not guarantee Russian citizens entry into the European Union.
Although Germany stopped a visa facilitation agreement with the Russian Federation, Germany, and France, in a joint statement, opposed the introduction of a ban, tightening checks instead.
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