The government has approved a sanction restricting the issuing of visas to citizens of the Russian Federation and their entry into the country at external borders with Schengen visas issued by Estonia. As an exception, the residence permits of students in Estonia who are due to complete their studies at an Estonian institution of higher education will be extended for one year.
“We have seen an enormous rise in the number of Russian citizens coming into or passing through Estonia,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu. “The possibility they have to visit Estonia, or other parts of Europe via Estonia, en masse is not in line with the principles of the sanctions we have imposed. In implementing them, Estonia sought to restrict the ability of the aggressor state to carry on with ordinary international life at the levels of both the state and its citizens.” Minster Reinsalu added that Estonia will also cease issuing to citizens of the aggressor state exceptional visas for working, studying and doing business in the country.
Minister of the Interior Lauri Läänemets explained that Russian students who have not managed to complete their studies in the nominal time have been left in an awkward position due to the sanctions imposed in spring. “For many of them, given the situation at present, returning home may be dangerous if they have spoken out in support of Ukraine and criticised the Russian regime and its aggression,” he said. “People there are facing prison sentences for doing so, which is why it was necessary, as an exception, to extend those students’ residence permits by one year, so that they can complete their studies.”
Citizens of the Russian Federation may continue to enter Estonia if they have a long-term residence permit for the country, if they are coming to the country to visit close relatives, if they are diplomats serving in the country or family members thereof, if they are employed in the field of international goods and passenger transport, if they have the right to do so based on European Union law or if they are entering the country on humanitarian grounds.
The sanction will come into effect on 18 August.