How Russians can get into the EU if the land border is closed

The Schengen countries bordering Russia can unilaterally ban Russian tourists from entering their territory. RBC figured out when it is still possible to cross the border and how to get to Europe in general media=”(max-width: 320px) and (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2), (max-width: 320px) and (min-resolution: 192dpi)” >

As holders of tourist Schengen visas will be able to enter Europe

On Tuesday, August 23, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis announced that countries bordering Russia may close entry for Russian tourists— unless the European Union agrees on a pan-European entry ban for its citizens. “I have spoken to the ministers of all these countries… I don't see much political difference. Russian tourists should not be in the EU», — Reuters quotes Landsbergis.

In addition to Lithuania, Russia borders on Latvia, Estonia, Poland (through the Kaliningrad region), Finland and Norway in the northwest.

All of these states except Norway (due to the remoteness of the Russian-Norwegian border from major cities) faced a significant increase in the number of land border crossings by Russians after the termination of air traffic between Russia and the European Union. The authorities of four countries have already announced a reduction in the number of visas issued to Russians or restrictions on their entry into their territory.

If Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Lithuania (the border also with the Kaliningrad region) and Finland close the entry for Russians— holders of Schengen tourist visas, it will be almost impossible to get into the EU by land. In this case, the only option — entry through the border with Norway, that is, in fact, this means a trip to Murmansk. Entry to these countries through Belarus will also be impossible.

However, holders of tourist visas will still be able to enter the Schengen area by air transit to the selected European country. Among the countries in which a transplant is possible, Turkey, Serbia, the United Arab Emirates, Armenia and Qatar are the most popular. Although it will be possible to fly to the Schengen countries, which will continue to receive Russians, in transit through any country open to Russian citizens. Of course, this will cost more than the overland route.

Who continues to issue tourist Schengen visas to Russians

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Two-thirds of the Schengen countries continue to issue tourist visas to Russians. The exceptions are Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, Malta, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia; From September 1, Finland will significantly reduce the volume of issuance of tourist visas, while Slovakia issues them only in case of emergency. Norway has significantly increased the processing time for visa applications due to technical problems, Slovenia accepts documents only if there are air tickets to the country. Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Greece and other destinations popular with Russian tourists issue visas as before, but due to increased demand, it is not possible to make an appointment to submit documents through visa centers for the next dates.

Against the ban on the issuance of visas to the Russians was expressed by Germany, Portugal, Hungary and Greece. In Poland, they said that such a measure is not supported in France and the Netherlands. The European Commission also spoke about the impossibility of completely stopping the issuance of visas to Russians, noting that it is necessary to retain the right to enter for humanitarian reasons.

What other types of visas can Russians get

In the event of a pan-European ban on the issuance of tourist visas to Russians or the abolition of existing ones, a number of short-term category C visas, which are issued for humanitarian reasons, will probably remain. These include treatment, visiting close relatives (both Russians living in Europe and EU citizens), participation in cultural, educational and sporting events, and journalistic activities. Such a visa can be both single and multiple with a stay of no more than 90 days within six months. Depending on the type of visa, a certain set of documents is required. In the case of a visa for treatment, documentary confirmation from the host clinic is required, and for visiting relatives— their official invitation.

EU members, with the exception of individual states, have not stopped issuing national category D visas for work, study, reunification with relatives and the so-called humanitarian visas, which are granted for political reasons. Diplomats and members of their families will also continue to receive visas. A national visa allows its holder to stay in the Schengen area for more than 90 days within six months and gives the right to work. Traditionally, it requires more documents for registration, including a language certificate. Processing times may also be longer than for a short-stay visa. A complete list of documents for obtaining visas of categories C and D is available on the websites of European embassies and consulates or visa centers that accept documents from Russians.

Citizens of Russia— holders of visas of the listed categories in the event of a ban on entry into the Schengen area through the territory of the Baltic countries, Poland and Finland for the purpose of tourism, will probably be able to continue to cross the land border. The same rules apply to those Russians who have a residence permit in the EU countries.

In Poland, which has not lifted the restrictions on tourist travel for Russians introduced since the start of the pandemic, there are exceptions for holders of national visas and certain categories of citizens. Estonia, which has banned entry on Schengen tourist visas issued by its consular service and which intends to ban entry on visas issued in other countries of the agreement, also continues to allow Russians traveling for humanitarian purposes.

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