Finland will strengthen the capacity to receive visa applications in Russia starting on 1 October 2021, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
As of that date, Finland's Visa Application Centres in Russia will accept applications from business customers and from all applicants whose multiple-entry Schengen visa, issued by Finland for at least two years, has expired.
The visa centres will continue to accept applications from all other special customer groups that have been approved so far. All customers lodging a new visa application must book an appointment.
The validity of entry restrictions for Finland remains in place despite the strengthening of the capacity to receive visa customers. Decisions have not been made that would change the entry restrictions. All visa applicants must sign a document in which they undertake to ensure that they meet the conditions for entry and understand that a visa that has been issued does not guarantee entry in Finland.
The Government of Finland decides on entry restrictions in line with the recommendations of the European Union. For more information on special groups allowed to cross the border, visit the website of the Finnish border authorities.
Travellers arriving in Finland must comply with the recommendations of the Finnish health authorities. Russian border authorities have restrictions on border crossings in force, too.
Half a million visas expired
It is estimated that over half a million Schengen visas issued by Finland in Russia have expired during the Covid-19 pandemic.
By strengthening the capacity to receive visa applications in Russia, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, like many other Schengen countries, wants to serve persons whose visa has expired and offer them an opportunity to renew their visas. This is also intended to prevent backlogs of applications caused by possible changes in border traffic restrictions. For the present, however, information of changes in the restrictions is not available.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Finland granted the most Schengen visas in Russia and was one of the most popular destinations for Russians.
In 2019, Finland issued a total of 790,000 Schengen visas in Russia. In the same year, Russians made 3.7 million visits to Finland.