A Russian official has decried the Finnish authority’s decision to stop the facilitation for visa applications for Russian citizens citing the negative impact this may have on the interest of Russian travelers to the country.
In an interview by the Russian media, Sergey Korneev, the Deputy Head of “Rosturizm”, Federal Agency on tourism, said that he fears Russian citizens losing interest in applying for visas to Finland after the Scandinavian country brought back the EU Visa code criteria.
“Finland, because of the proximity was the first country of entry to obtain visa and travel to other countries. This interest first entry will partially leave,” Korneev pointed out.
In a statement published in the official website of Finland’s Ministry of Foreign affairs, it was announced that its authorities in Russia would cease providing facilities for Russian citizens when they apply for a Schengen Area short-term visa. The announcement was made on August 1.
“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,” as stated in the notice.
Until today, Russian applicants find it convenient to apply for a visa with Finland compared to other Schengen member countries because of fewer supporting documents required. It is only in specific cases where detailed documents are asked to be produced.
From September, Russians who travel for tourism and other personal purposes will be required to submit a detailed itinerary of their travel and evidence to prove they have the financial means to support their activities while staying in Finland and other Schengen countries they will visit.
Finland’s former interior Minister Kai Mykkänen the decision on social media and questioned rhetorically whether “requiring pay slips and hotel forms create more security or bureaucracy?”