Source: Schengen Visa Info News
Poland wants the Schengen Area countries to completely stop issuing Russians visas for short-term stays in the 26 Schengen countries as a part of the sanctions imposed due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military.
Russian citizens account for the highest number of Schengen visas filed worldwide. According to Schengen Visa statistics, in 2019 alone, there were 4,133,100 visa applications submitted
The proposal was presented on Monday, April 4, by the Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki at a press conference in Warsaw.
“Strong sanctions must be imposed on Russian society, this includes a ban on issuing visas to Russians, except for humanitarian ones,” the Prime Minister said during the conference.
Several Schengen Area Member Countries have already ceased visa processing for Russian citizens due to the aggressive invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. Such a move was predicted by the permanent representative of Russia to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, on February 25.
According to representative Chizhov, all Member States could stop granting Schengen Visas to Russian citizens as a part of the sanctions forced on Russia, which would include visas for tourism, work visas, and student visas.
Following the attack on Ukraine, the Czech Republic had immediately stopped granting visas to Russians, except in humanitarian cases.
“We are suspending the processing of visa applications from Russian nationals at all our consular offices with the exception of humanitarian cases,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala had announced at the time.
Similar moves had been undertaken by Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. The two latter countries also expelled several Russian officials working at Russian embassies who were directly and actively involved in undermining Estonia’s security and spreading propaganda that justified Russia’s military action.
On March 18, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia sent a note verbal to the country's Russian Ambassador saying that three of the embassy's employees had been declared persona non-grata in Estonia and that they were required to leave the country within 72 hours.
On the same day, Latvia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rinkēvičs, declared three staff members of the Russian Embassy in Tallinn as persona non-grata in Latvia, ordering them to leave by March 23.
Russian citizens account for the highest number of Schengen visas filed worldwide. According to Schengen Visa statistics, in 2019 alone, there were 4,133,100 visa applications submitted at the Schengen embassies and consulates in Russia, out of the total 16,955,541 filed worldwide, which is 24.3 percent of the total number of applications.
Moreover, in 2019, Schengen embassies and consulates in Russia received 11.8 percent more applications than in 2018 and 6.3 percent more than in 2016.
However, due to the closure of embassies and consulates amid the Coronavirus, the number of Schengen visa applications filed in Russia showed a staggering decrease of 84 percent, with only 653,764 visa applications filed in 2020. Similarly, the number of applications for a Schengen visa in the same year also dropped worldwide to 2,924,365, compared to almost 17 million applications that were filed in 2019.