Finland to tighten visa rules for Russian citizens

According to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto (Green) Finland plans to review its policy on granting tourist visas to Russian nationals

"It is not enough for Finland to make such a decision independently, we need to have the same rules throughout the Schengen area," Pekka Haavisto said

The ministry is preparing new measures which will then be discussed at a scheduled meeting of EU foreign ministers at the end of August 2022

Russian tourists access Europe via bus and car rides across the Finnish border

However Russia has recently warned that it would take countermeasures if Finland stops or restricts the issuing of tourist visas to Russian citizens

Finland has already introduced some restrictions, including refusing to grant multiple-entry visas to first-time applicants and limiting the number of applications to 1,000 per day

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto also noted there are some legal aspects about making visa policy changes that need to be addressed

Approximately 21,500 Russians passed through the border crossing point in Southeastern Finland during the last week of July. About a third were Finnish granted visa-holders

In protest against Russia's war on Ukraine, most neighbouring countries including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland stopped accepting tourist visa applications in recent months

Many politicians across party lines have expressed broad support for tightening visa requirements for Russians, sentiments sparked by Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine