Baltic states and Poland to stop issuing Schengen visas and ban Russian tourists from September 19

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Four European Union countries bordering the Russian Federation – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland – have agreed to stop issuing Schengen visas to Russian nationals and ban them from entering the country, from Monday, September 19.

The decision was announced in a joint statement issued by the three Baltic States and Poland on Thursday, September 8, following a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Baltic countries, as well as MFAs of the Nordic countries, held a day before in Kaunas, Lithuania.

In the statement, the governments of these four EU countries welcome the decision to suspend the visa facilitation agreement with Russia as a necessary first step to reduce the number of Russian tourists in the EU, but they insist that further measures are needed in order to drastically reduce the flow of these tourists into the EU and Schengen.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have agreed on a common regional approach and hereby express their political will and firm intention to introduce temporary national measures for Russian citizens holding EU visas. EU in order to address imminent threats to public order and security and to restrict entry into the territory of the Schengen Area for Russian citizens traveling for tourist, cultural, sporting and professional purposes“, explains the press release.

He further stresses that the measures will be temporary and will come into force in each country separately on September 19.

Arguing from the decision, the statement claims that the measures were adopted for common reasons of protection of public order and internal security, as well as the overall security of the Schengen area.

Traveling in the European Union is a privilege, not a human right“, reads the press release.

Once the measure comes into force, the Estonian Interior Ministry estimates that the number of Russians entering Estonia every day will drop from 500 to 400 to around 100.

The country’s authorities revealed that there are 49,804 valid visas held by Russian citizens and issued by Estonia, of which 47,998 are short-stay visas and 1,805 are long-stay visas. Of these, 19,285 are for tourism and 20,389 for visiting family and friends.

While, according to the European Commission, as of September 1, 2022, around 963,000 Russian nationals held valid Schengen visas.

While the majority of EU countries have taken no further action apart from suspending the 2007 visa facilitation agreement with Russia, another, Finland, has reduced the number of visa applications processed by its embassy and consulates in Russia. , from 1000 per week to only 100.

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