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Sep 11, 2022
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Home, in dangerous Russia: Europe figured out how to get rid of the Russians

A way to restrict Russians from entering Europe without violating EU laws has been found – not a complete ban, but the suspension of a 15-year-old visa facilitation agreement with Russia, effective from September 12. What exactly is hidden behind this wording, given that since February 25 of this year, the “partial suspension” of the same agreement is already in effect? We find out whether one of the compatriots will now be able to enter the EU, and at what cost.

“For a couple of weeks now, Russians have been regularly finding fresh or old visa violations at ground checkpoints, such as “suspicious” exit stamps, which may hide “exceeding the period of permitted stay of a Russian citizen in the EU,” explains a visa intermediary helping Russians in obtaining a Schengen. – There have already been cases when, right on the land border, a meticulous Finnish or Baltic border guard discovered that Russians had fictitious marriages with citizens of EU countries or fake visas from Asian countries. It is clear that these cases will take time to prove. But while the essence and the matter, the Russians are being turned back home.

The “Solomonic solution”, which does not violate the laws of the Eurozone countries, was found and announced on September 9 at the level of a communiqué on the website of the European Commission.

So, from September 12, the consulates of the EU member states receive the following rights in relation to Russians (each country decides whether to apply them or not): increase the visa fee to 80 euros, cancel priority for “minor” applications (in other words, simply do not process tourist visa applications); extend the period for consideration of applications for a Schengen visa up to 45 days; request additional documents in addition to the standard list; strengthen control over already issued visas (scrupulously study the “visa history” of each Russian in order to detect visa transgressions in the past); before “vising” a Russian applicant, the EU states are recommended to consult among themselves – what if he “messed up” in one country, and now he came for a visa to another?

“Even if a Russian has a Schengen stamp in his passport, but aroused “vague suspicions” at the border service already at the border, from next Monday, each EU country has the right to refuse the holder of a Russian passport “based on an individual assessment,” the Finnish consulate explains the innovations. – The same wording can now be used as a basis for refusing a Schengen stamp at the level of visa centers.

– The European consulates have already worked out pretexts for refusal, – explains the visa intermediary. – For example, the wording “as a result of examining the documents, the consular officers have good reason to doubt that this citizen will return to the place of his citizenship upon the expiration of the visa.” Until the last half of the year, such answers applied only to citizens of the so-called “third world” countries from Africa and Asia.

In addition to expanding the palette of opportunities for refusal, the European Commission has actually given the right to each of the European countries to cancel already issued visas, not only by their own visa services, but also by other countries.

“For this, it is enough for an official at the border to say the phrase: “The conditions for possessing a Schengen visa are no longer fulfilled by this citizen,” the visa intermediary clarifies.

– What does it mean?!

– Yes, anything, including the fact that “our consular officers have good reason to believe that the country to which you are “assigned” poses a security threat to the Schengen member states.”

— Can this be?!

– The permission of such “turns from the gates” comes into force on Monday, but in fact it has already happened. At the ground checkpoint with Finland, two Russian women canceled the Italian Schengen.

The Finnish side confirms the incident: on September 7, at the Torfyanovka-Vaalimaa border post, the Finnish border services canceled annual Schengen visas issued by Italy to two Russian citizens and sent the travelers back to the Russian side. The reason is “strong doubts about the intended use of the Schengen stamp received at the Italian consulate.” But the women of St. Petersburg who suffered from the Finnish outpost are glad that at least they didn’t “plunk” “deport” into their passports – a stamp banning entry into the EU due to passport violations. According to the tourists, the fact that in the past two weeks they have generously placed such stamps in Russian passports was shared with them by the Finnish “border guards”. This was confirmed at the Russian checkpoint: from September 1, the Finnish outpost “returns Russian tourists to their homeland in batches” and many with “deportation” in their passports.

– The grounds are both specific (“You have only 2 months before the expiration of the Schengen visa”), the visa intermediary quotes the reasons for the turn of the Russians home, and the most vague. The hit of this September is the question of the Finnish border guard: “Why did you apply for a Schengen visa at the Italian consulate if you had never been to Italy before?”

The European Commission accompanies the tightening on Russian passport holders with the comment that “the European Union will remain open to those who need protection, such as journalists, dissidents, human rights activists and people traveling for family reasons.” But even in relation to such countries of the Eurozone, it is recommended “to refrain from issuing multiple-entry visas, limiting themselves to single-entry or documents with a shorter validity period.”

“In fact, this is not a visa to the EU, but to a specific country that stamped it, and for a short time,” explains the visa broker. – Summary: since Monday, the Russians will not see the Schengen as their own ears.

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