Source: Schengen Visa Info
The number of Russian nationals who are reaching Spain for travel purposes keeps increasing despite flight sanctions continuing to remain in place.
Data obtained by Bloomberg have shown that so far this year, Spain has issued a total of 108,862 Schengen tourist visas for Russians, which is three times higher compared to the same period last year, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
According to Bloomberg, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain refused to comment on the matter and provide reasons why the number of Russian tourists has increased so much even though there are strict restrictions across the EU.
The same source noted that an EU diplomat said that the increase in arrivals from Russia to Spain could be because the eastern European countries have already completely closed their borders to Russians and no longer permitted entry to them.
SchengenVisaInfo.com has just last month designed a graph based on the most recent data, showing which European Union countries have suspended the issuance of tourist visas for Russians, have closed their border, or have severely restricted the issuance of visas for them.
While the graph includes several EU countries keeping visa and entry restrictions against Russia, Spain is not one of them. Spain has not closed its borders or suspended or restricted the issuance of visas for nationals of Russia, and for this reason, the number of Russians reaching Spain continues to remain high.
Nonetheless, even though Spain has not introduced restrictions, the country has still followed the official proposal of the European Commission on the suspension of the visa facilitation agreement with Russia.
Following the Commission’s proposal, Spain has increased the visa fee for Russian applicants from €35 to €80.
Back in September, the Commission suggested that the application processing time gets prolonged. In addition, the same suggested that the Member States apply stricter rules when it comes to issuing multiple-entry visas for Russians and require them to present additional documents.
Even though there is no official data on the total number of Russians that have entered Spain so far this year for travel purposes, it is believed that they make quite a percentage, taking into account the high number of visas granted to them.
Previously, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that in October alone, Spain registered almost eight million international arrivals at its airports. The Ministry of Tourism of Spain said that due to such a high number of arrivals the country marked a 95 percent recovery compared to the same period in 2019 and pointed out the Balearic and Canary Islands welcomed 6.2 percent more passengers than in the pre-pandemic period.