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Foreign Ministry: Russian tourists using Finland as transit country for holiday destinations

An application for a new visa may not be granted if a previous visa issued by Finland has clearly been used just for transit to another country.

On 31 August, an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers will discuss visas for Russians. Image: Anni Ågren / Lehtikuva

Finland is being used by some Russian tourists as a transit country as they travel on to their holiday destinations, according to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Since Covid restrictions on travel were lifted, Russian border crossings to Finland have increased by between 10 and 30 percent compared to spring and early summer, Jussi Tanner, Director General of Consular Services at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, told Yle.

The ministry will however have to intervene if Russian visitors start travelling elsewhere on Finnish Schengen visas, Tanner said.

Visas issued by Finland are valid in all Nordic countries and most EU countries that have signed the Schengen agreement. An application for a new visa may not be granted if a previous visa issued by Finland has clearly been used just for transit to another country.

Air travel from Finland available

Yle reported on Wednesday that Russian companies have started offering car trips from Saint Petersburg to Helsinki and Lappeenranta airports, which have direct air connections throughout Europe.

"It is typical that this happens, but the EU will probably set some limits for this type of business in the future," Tanner said.

The EU banned air travel from Russia after the country invaded Ukraine, but Russians can still fly from Finland.

The EU and Russia still have a visa agreement in place that facilitates the issuing of short-stay visas in various ways. Although the agreement has been partially suspended, it has not been terminated.

However, several EU countries no longer issue visas to Russians. Latvia, for instance, suspended the issuing of visa to Russians in August.

On 31 August, an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers will discuss visas for Russians.

"We will probably hear more about this in the coming weeks," Tanner added.