Entry ban on Russians with Schengen tourist visas comes into effect today

The measure applies regardless of the country that issued the Schengen visa.

Ioana Caloianu

Written by Ioana Caloianu Published on 25.10.2022 11:16:00 (updated on 25.10.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Starting today, Russians with valid Schengen visas for tourism, sport, and culture will no longer be allowed entry into the territory of Czechia, ČTK reports.

Czech authorities approved the entry ban two weeks ago. A poll taken by Expats.cz at that time showed that, out of 383 readers, 55 percent were in favor of the visa ban, while 45 percent opposed it.

Before the ban, official estimates put the number of Russians arriving every day in Czechia via its international airports at around 200.

Still, Czech Minister for EU Affairs Mikuláš Bek said yesterday that European countries should look for ways to enable the arrival of opponents of the Russian status quo for whom remaining in Russia could potentially be dangerous.

No EU-level consensus on a blanket entry ban on Russian citizens

As Al Jazeera notes, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, Russians could enjoy travel across the EU under the terms of a 2007 visa deal seen as a contribution to a “steady development of economic, humanitarian, cultural and scientific ties."

The visa deal was suspended in September, and at the costs and requirements for obtaining an EU visa for Russian citizens increased and became more thorough.

Also in September, the European Commission called for EU members to "assess the conditions under which Russian citizens can be issued Schengen visas in a restrictive and coordinated manner," according to a press release, including for Russian citizens fleeing mobilization.

An EU-wide ban on flights coming from Russia adopted in February is still in effect, meaning that Russians can only reach the bloc via third countries.

In addition to the Czech Republic, the Baltic countries, Poland, and Finland also banned Russian tourists from entering their territory, Schengen Visa Info reports. Several other EU and Schengen area countries, such as Belgium and Slovakia, have stopped issuing Schengen visas to Russians earlier this year, and currently only issue visas for humanitarian purposes or long-term visas for students, employees, and family reunions.

Germany and France oppose a blanket ban on Russian citizens, on the grounds that it could alienate future generations of Russian citizens.

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