Haavisto: Finland to limit tourist visas for Russians, thebarentsobserver.com

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is looking for models “that would be both legal and effective to prevent Russian tourist visa fraud,” Haavisto said to the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

Finland is today along with Norway the only European country with a direct border to Russia still issuing tourist visas. The Baltic states and Poland no longer issues visas unless the applicant has a special reason, that be for instance exile-journalists, humanitarian reason, or family relations.

While Norway for the most only issues tourist visas, or so-called Pomor-visas, to Russian citizens from the northern regions of Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Nenets, Finland has granted tourist visas to all Russians. That has made the country a popular passageway for people heading to other destinations in Europe. […]

How the new rules will look remain to see. The foreign minister said to broadcaster YLE that prioritization of visa applications and longer processing times are some of the legal ways to deal with the situation.

“With this kind of arrangement we could give priority to applicants in real need,” Haavisto said.

Some restrictions already in force include refusing to grant multiple-entry visas to first-time applicants and limiting the number of applications to 1,000 per day. Giving priority to Russians applying for student, family, and worker visas would push tourist applicants further back in the line. Läs artikel