80% more Finnish visas issued in Karelia
In 2016, Finland’s Consulate in the Karelian capital handled 26,000 visa applications. So far this year, the number of visas is up 80% Finland’s newly appointed Consul Tarvo Nieminen told at a press conference, Nation News reports.
He could also inform that the number of refusals for issuing visas has decreased, the majority of those who want Schengen-visa to Finland get it.
Following the slump of the rubel a few years back caused a sharp drop in travellers from Russia to Finland. That trend has now changed. Finland’s visa centre in St. Petersburg alone expects to issue half a million visas this year.
For the first five months of 2017, as many visitors crossed the border to Finland as those that travelled in all of 2015, YLE reported. From St. Petersburg, the Finnish capital Helsinki is only a few hours away by train.
The increase in number of Russian travellers to Finland, like from Karelia and St. Petersburg, is not similar in the north. At Salla checkpoint between Lapland and the Kola Peninsula had a drop in traffic of 7,5% in the second quarter this year compared with the same period in 2016, the Barents Observer previously reported.