Press release 18/2017
Finland continues to receive by far the most visa applications in Russia. In 2016, 84 per cent of visa applications to Finland were submitted in Russia. The proportion of the Schengen visa applications to Finland which were submitted in other countries amounted to 16 per cent. Last year Finland granted a total of 540,920 visas, and 464,899 out of these were granted in Russia.
Compared to 2015, the number of the Schengen visas to Finland granted in Russia decreased by 35 per cent: a total of 464,899 visas were granted in 2016 while the figure was 715,920 the year before. The peak year for applications was 2013 when Finnish diplomatic missions in Russia granted a total of 1.490,191 visas. The financial and political situations are seen as the key reasons for the declining number of visas in recent years. On the other hand, Russians are in favour of travels to nearby areas and they come to Finland on shopping trips. At the end of 2016 there was some evidence of an upturn in the number of visa applications.
A total of 1,034 visa applications were rejected in Finnish diplomatic missions in Russia last year, representing 0.22 per cent of all applications submitted in Russia.
Finland’s Embassy in Moscow, the Consulate General in St. Petersburg and the two branch offices of the Consulate General, in Petrozavodsk and Murmansk, process Schengen visas in Russia. The main consulate in St. Petersburg processes most applications; 77 per cent of the Schengen visas that Finland granted in 2016 were applied for in St. Petersburg. Compared against the 562,962 applications granted the previous year, the total number of 353,676 represents a sharp fall.
In 2016, a total of 63,314 or 14 per cent of Schengen visas to Finland were processed in Finland’s Embassy in Moscow while in 2015 the corresponding figure was 74,292.
A total of 24,953 visas were granted in Petrozavodsk which accounted for 6 per cent of Finland’s Schengen visas in 2016. The corresponding figure was 42,550 in 2015. The branch office in Petrozavodsk handles visa matters in the Republic of Karelia, representing also Sweden and the Netherlands.
The branch office in Murmansk accounted for 3 per cent or a total of 15,643 Schengen visas granted in Russia in 2016 while the corresponding figure was 25,126 in 2015. The branch office in Murmansk grants visas to residents in the Murmansk area, representing also Iceland in visa matters.
Finland has outsourced visa services in Russia so that 94 per cent of visa applications are submitted to an external actor, VFS Global. It is, however, Finnish Foreign Service authorities who make the actual decision on issuing a visa. A visa granted by a Schengen country gives the right to travel to and reside for a short term in all Schengen countries.
Inquiries: Counsellor Virpi Kankare, tel. +358 295 351 772, Visa and Passport Unit.
The Foreign Ministry's email addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org.