Citizens of Russia and Belarus who are interested in applying for a visa at the Estonian Foreign Missions in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Pskov and Minsk will no longer be eligible to do so after the Government of Estonia decided to close visa centers in both countries.
The decision comes after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, amid heightened security concerns, TheSchengen.com reports.
“Due to the ongoing Russian hostilities in Ukraine and the tense international situation, it is no longer possible to apply for visas at foreign Estonian missions in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Pskov and Minsk, and at visa centers of foreign service providers in the Russian Federation and Belarus,” reads the statement published by the Government of Estonia.
According to the Estonian authorities, the decision is due to technical problems with payment, visa fees and service fees, including other restrictions related to the current situation in Russia and Belarus.
However, authorities in Estonia have confirmed that some exemptions will apply.
“We will certainly continue to accept visa applications from Russian and Belarusian citizens who wish to come to Estonia to visit family members, as well as for humanitarian reasons such as a serious illness or the funeral of a relative. Because of the purpose of the trip, they are exempted from paying the visa fee.”
Because of the war in Ukraine, the authorities in European countries imposed sanctions and other bans, including banning Russian Airlines from their airspace, while a large number of Ukrainians are leaving the country.
Similar to other European countries, the authorities in Estonia have also opened their doors to refugees from Ukraine.
In addition, the Government of Ukraine announced earlier this week that it will provide temporary protection to Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war.
According to the government, since March 9, the application for a residence permit will become a one-day process for citizens of Ukraine.
The authorities in Estonia announced that a total of 12,488 citizens of Ukraine had arrived in the Baltic state to this point; Of them, about 4,000 children. Of the total number, 3,002 people were moving to other European countries, according to the report published by ERR.
Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the government of Estonia has announced that it will temporarily suspend the e-residency program for citizens of Russia and Belarus, amid concerns that the scheme could be used to avoid sanctions.