Nine EU countries ban Russian tourist visas – Kyiv Post

In the context of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, nine European countries no longer accept tourist visas from Russians.

The Latvian government issued a joint statement with Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Estonia on September 8 prohibiting Russian citizens holding a Schengen tourist visa from crossing the border into the EU from September 19. He said tourist travel in Europe is seen as a privilege, not a right.

The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands have decided to join in and close entry to Russian tourists.

“Do not come to Estonia with Schengen visas. You are not welcome here!” Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told a press conference in Tallinn on September 8.

The Latvian statement says the countries view Russian tourist travel as a threat to public and internal security and have declared their intention to seek a blanket ban at the European Union level.

The ban applies to tourist visas and does not affect those entering the EU for family or humanitarian reasons. Also, it will not affect residence permit holders, diplomats and commercial vehicle drivers. The ban also does not apply to the transit of Russian citizens to Kaliningrad.

In the context of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, European Union countries bordering Russia demanded that the European Commission take measures to restrict the entry of Russian tourists.

On September 12, the Council of the EU suspended an agreement on visa simplification with the Russian Federation, which could complicate the issuance of visas to Russians.

EU High Representative Josep Borrell clarified that not all Russian Schengen visas would be cancelled, but having a permit would not guarantee Russian citizens entry into the European Union.

Although Germany ended a visa facilitation agreement with the Russian Federation, Germany and France in a joint statement opposed the introduction of a ban, tightening controls at the square.