Purpose of the ban: restrict entry for tourism purposes, reduce further transit to other Schengen countries -turistov-v-noch-s-29-na-30-sentjabrja-4a4a746.jpg” alt=”Finland closed the border for Russian tourists on the night of September 29-30″ />
The Finnish government has decided to significantly limit the arrivals of Russian tourists. As Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said at a briefing, the restrictions will come into force on Friday, from 0000 hours on September 30, and will remain in effect until further notice.
“The decision, in principle, is aimed at completely stopping Russian tourism to Finland and the transit through Finland associated with it,” the head of the Finnish Foreign Ministry said on September 29.
According to him, the entry of Russian tourists to the country threatens Finland's international relations.
Under the new rules, travel to Finland or through Finland to other countries for the purpose of tourism will be impossible.
Entry on a tourist visa will only be allowed for “essential reasons” – a list similar to those in place during the pandemic restrictions and land border closures.
Thus, family members of Finnish citizens and third-country nationals permanently residing in Finland will be able to enter; family members of citizens of an EU Member State, employees of the transport industry, business travelers, property owners arriving for business, study or medical purposes, employees of diplomatic and consular missions, as well as for special compelling personal reasons. For example, participation in the funeral of a close relative, a serious illness of a close relative.
“Just tourists” will no longer be allowed. Moreover, the Russians are waiting for an interview at the border control: each case will be considered on an individual basis.
Return to Russia via Finland is allowed. However, in the future, Russian tourists will not be able to enter Finland through other countries, for example, by plane. Negotiations are underway with airlines about this.
According to the Finnish Foreign Ministry, cross-border traffic on the border with Russia will drop by about 50% of the current level. In recent days, 4-5 thousand Russian citizens crossed the land border with the Russian Federation every day.
According to the Finnish Border Guard, the largest number of entries and exits were registered at the border crossing points of Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa and Imatra.
Under the new rules, Finnish border guards, in case of entry violations, can revoke visas previously issued by Finland, but cannot revoke visas issued by other Schengen countries.
But … instead, the Finnish border authorities they will simply ban a person who has a visa issued by another country from entering Finland.
According to Haavisto, Finland was the first country to apply the Schengen legislation in this way. The Finnish Foreign Minister also added that this issue is being discussed with representatives of the European Commission.
“Now we will also study this in Brussels and look at the details,” – emphasized Mr. Haavisto.
Experts from the tourism industry have given some recommendations to those who planned to transit through Finland to go to other countries and have already purchased air tickets on flights of airlines departing from Helsinki and other Finnish airports after September 30, 2022.
For a refund for tickets, you must contact the place of purchase, indicating the reason why the air flight cannot take place.
You can also contact the airline's support service and it is better to do this in English.
According to observers, a regular airline has a higher chance of receiving a refund for a canceled flight than a low-cost carrier.
“At scheduled carriers most fares include refunds or rescheduling of flight dates or route changes with penalties. In these cases, it is possible to get at least some money,” experts comment.
In their opinion, with the closure of the borders of Finland, transit traffic will shift in favor of the airports of Yerevan, Istanbul and the United Arab Emirates.< /p>
According to ticket agencies, in the summer season -2022, Russians flew in transit through Finland mainly to the countries of the Southern Mediterranean – Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal.