Since 18 August, the Government of Estonia decided to ban citizens of the Russian Federation holding valid Schengen visas issued by Estonia from entering the country, but this is subject to several exceptions. The restrictions do not concern such citizens of Russia whose home country is Estonia or who are permanent residents of Estonia. Neither does the decision concern the citizens of Russia who arrive on the basis of a Schengen visa issued by third European Union countries.
Read more about the specificities:
- The Government regulation that took effect on 18 August 2022 does not apply to border crossing with a visa issued by Estonia for the purpose of short-term employment. Does it mean that a citizen of Russia who holds a valid long-term Estonian D-visa and whose short-term employment in Estonia has been registered with the Police and Border Guard Board can also cross the border after 18 August?
A citizen of Russia who holds a valid Estonian D-visa and whose short-term employment has been registered is not subject to sanctions and the person can cross borders and work until the expiry of the short-term employment or the visa (whichever comes first).If a person holds an Estonian visa and their short-term employment in Estonia has not been registered and the person comes here for the purpose of managing their company or for other similar purposes, this constitutes a business trip and the person is subject to the sanction. If a person holds a visa and their short-term employment in Estonia as a member of the management board has already been registered, the person is not subject to sanctions due to the fact that their short-term employment has been registered.If a person holds a valid visa of another Schengen country, it is not possible to apply for registration of short-term employment of the person in Estonia and the person cannot thus enter the country.
- Is it possible for officials to check at a border crossing point the basis for issue of a visa or does a citizen of Russia have to prove on the border on which basis the visa has been issued to them (by presenting, for example, their employment contract or confirmation of registration of short-term employment)?
According to the Schengen Borders Code, when an alien enters the Schengen territory, the person has the obligation to prove the purpose and conditions of their intended stay. The purpose of issue of a visa can be verified on the border in certain cases but we recommend that the person carry the documents certifying the purpose of the trip with them if possible.
- The Government regulation that took effect on 18 August 2022 does not apply to border crossing for visiting a family member (children, parents or a spouse) with a visa (D/C) issued by Estonia. Can a citizen of Russia who holds a valid Estonian C/D-visa for visiting a family member also cross the border after 18 August 2022?
If a person holds a valid C- or D-visa and if the person visits a close relative who is a citizen of Estonia or resides in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit of a long-term resident, the sanctions are not applied. If the person wants to enter for tourism or business purposes, the person is subject to sanctions.
- Can a person who is a family member (children, parents, spouse) of a citizen of Russia, who holds a temporary residence permit of Estonia for employment, and holds a valid C-visa of another Schengen country enter Estonia for the purpose of visiting the family member?
Yes, a close family member holding a residence permit in Estonia can be visited on the basis of a valid visa of another Schengen member state. Sanctions are imposed on applying for an Estonian visa and entering Estonia on the basis of an Estonian visa for tourism or business purposes.
- If a citizen of Russia holds a valid long-term Estonian D-visa for employment and also a short-term C-visa issued by another Schengen country, which of these is taken into account at a border crossing point?
The purpose of arrival in Estonia is taken into account. If a person holds a valid Estonian D-visa for employment purposes and the person arrives in Estonia for employment purposes, the sanctions are not applied to the person. If a person wants to travel, by way of transit, through Estonia to the country that issued them with a C-visa, the sanctions are not applied as a rule. However, if a person travels, by way of transit, through Estonia e.g. to Germany for tourism purposes, the person must also justify why they travel through Estonia and why they do not use the nearest logical route. If the person cannot justify the purpose of the trip, the person may be sent back from the border.
- Who are the persons enjoying the EU freedom of movement in the context of the regulation?
The persons enjoying the EU freedom of movement are family members – spouse, children and parents – of an EU citizen, i.e. of citizens of all other Member States, except for Estonia, as well as registered partners, etc., of an EU citizen. It is hereby important to note that the status of a family member of an EU citizen must have been certified, i.e. the family member already has a document certifying the right of residence of a family member of an EU citizen, which has been issued in another EU country, or the persons travel together and it is certified that they are family members or household members.
- Does the sanction also apply to citizens holding dual citizenship one of which is that of the Russian Federation?
If a person holds several citizenships, the person must decide which country’s travel document to present on the border or with which country’s travel document to travel. For example, if a person holds dual citizenship of Russia and Great Britain and presents only a travel document of a citizen of Russia on the border, the person cannot cross the border. If a person presents a travel document of Great Britain, the person can travel with it as a citizen of Great Britain irrespective of the fact that they may also hold the citizenship of Russia, Belarus, USA, etc.
- In order to organise business trips, we ask you to explain how and where the border control will take place and which documents the citizens of Russia working in Estonia on the basis of registration of short-term employment should present in order for them to be able to return to Estonia after the business trip.
If a person holds a valid visa and their short-term employment has been registered and the person continues employment in Estonia, the person is not subject to sanctions and can return to Estonia. The Police and Border Guard Board can check on the border whether the person has registered their short-term employment in Estonia.
- The regulation applies to applying for visas for citizens of the Russian Federation (except for exceptions) but is it possible to extend a long-term D-visa for short-term employment arising from the Aliens Act?
Section 67 of the Aliens Act provides a possibility for extending a long-term visa in exceptional cases, which is decided by the Police and Border Guard Board. It is difficult to point out a specific list of reasons, but the reasons may be related to the fact that the person is in hospital at the time the period of validity of the visa expires, the death of a close person, unforeseen occupational reasons. A condition for extending a visa is that it would not extend the maximum length of the visa or the terms set for the maximum length of short-term employment.