Finland Toughens Rules on Visas for Russian Citizens

The Finish Embassy and consulates in Russia will no longer provide Russian citizens with facilities when applying for a short-term visa to the Schengen Area, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, according to Vedomosti.

“As of 1 September 2019, the Embassy of Finland in Moscow, Finland’s Consulate General in St Petersburg and the offices in Petrozavodsk and Murmansk will follow the common EU visa policy concerning supporting documents to visa applications,” the notice reads.

Finland has required fewer supporting documents from Russian applicants, compared to the rest of the Schengen member countries. Detailed documents have been required only in specific cases.

However, from now on, Russians traveling for tourism and other private purposes will need to submit a detailed travel itinerary, and evidence they have the required financial means to support their stay in Finland, and the other Schengen countries they plan to visit.

“Property owners in the Schengen area must present proof of financial means in the same way as tourists. Applications submitted by close relatives of property owners must be accompanied with proof of the relationship,” the notice explains.

The Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs will publish the updated requirements on supporting documents both in English and in Russian on the websites of the Finland Visa Application Centers located in Russia, in August 2019. The changes will then apply, as of 1 September 2019, to every Russian traveler lodging an application at the Finland embassy, consulates and visa centers in Russia.

According to Schengen Visa statistics for 2018, Russia remains the top source country for Schengen Visa applications, despite that the number has almost halved since 2013 when there were as many as 6,995,141 applications submitted by Russian nationals.

Actually, 23% of the overall number of Schengen visa applications processed in 2018 were filed in Russia, with Finland being the top favorite Schengen destination for Russians. The Finnish consulates in Russia altogether received and processed 769,038 visa applications in 2018.