Storskog border checkpoint.Photo: Thomas Nilsen

10 years low for Russian visa applications to Norway

More than three times more Chinese were granted visa than Russians in 2018.
January 27, 2019

Cross-border traffic from Russia to Norway in the north is pretty much a thermometer for economic outlook. The majority of people driving from the Murmansk region are shoppers to the near-border town of Kirkenes. Nowadays, private people’s purchasing power on average in Russia is weakening, estimated to be lower than countries like Argentina, Greece and Brazil, data from the World Economic Forum shows.

22,049 Russians were granted Schengen-visa to Norway in 2018, statistics from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) shows.

In Schengen-Europe as such, Russia still tops the list with nearly four million visa applications, followed by China.

Norway granted 75,834 visas to Chinese citizens last year.

Unlike normal procedures for Russian applicants, citizens in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk Oblasts can get visa to Norway without having an invitation. This is what the Norwegians call a “Pomor visa” – named after the trading between northern Norway and Russia’s White Sea region before the 1917-revolution. 

Also, most visas to Norway issued in the north are valid for multiple-entry. First time applicants can get it for a year, then two or three, and finally up to five years depending on the person’s needs. 

Such reliefs gave an extra boost to cross-border traffic a few years ago, but in 2018, also cross-border traffic between Russia and Norway in the north dropped. Storskog, which is Norway’s single entry checkpoint from Russia, counted 254,942 border crossings, down about 10,000 compared with 2017, the Barents Observer reported.

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Norwegian Schengen-visas granted to Russians:

2018: 22,049

2017: 23,822

2016: 22,579

2015: 25,578

2014: 45,541

2013: 59,730

2012: 51,988

2011: 52,884

2010: 46,373

2009: 41,195

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