13,065 Russian nationals have crossed the border of North Karelia between Russia and Finland in the month of September, which means that the number of Russians crossing the border increased by approximately 40 per cent compared to the same month in 2020.
At the same time, 3,278 Finnish nationals have crossed the border this September, compared to 768 Finns who crossed the border in September last year, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
According to the Finnish Border Guard (RAJA), while Russians accounted for 77.5 per cent of the total border crossers in September at the border of North Karelia, Finns accounted for 19.5 per cent, and the remaining three per cent (524) were citizens of other countries.
“The increase in traffic is explained by changes in travel restrictions,” the Border Guard claims in a press release issued on October 1, while also noting that there have been no unauthorised border crossings detected in this period.
However, the North Karelian Border Guard issued three fines and one reprimand last month after detecting one state border offence, two minor state border offences, as well as one possession of a cybercrime instrument and one alien offence.
Currently, travel from Russia to Finland is only permitted to those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Yet, since the majority of Russians have been vaccinated with the Sputnik V vaccine, which hasn’t been approved by the EMA yet, it means that mainly only Russians travelling to Finland for essential purposes are permitted to enter the country.
According to the current entry rules, the following persons can enter Finland from Russia:
- Those reaching the country for work that is significant for the functioning of society or supply security
- Health care and rescue service personnel
- Elderly care professionals during assignments
- Transport and logistics personnel in their duty
- Diplomats, staff of international organisations, humanitarian aid workers and military personnel in the exercise of their duties
- Government representatives participating in international negotiations
- Those engaged in work for international NGOs
- Humanitarian reasons
- Compelling family issues
In mid-September, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs had announced that visa application centres would reopen in Russia sometime in October for business visa applications of applicants whose multiple-entry Schengen Visa, which has been issued by Finland and valid for at least two years, has expired.
Applications for other special customer groups that have been approved so far will also continue to be accepted by visa centres of Finland.
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