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Demand for Estonian visas drops for third year in a row

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Tallinn.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

While demand for Estonian visas declined for the third consecutive year in 2016, there are signs that the decline may be coming to a halt, it appears from data available from Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In 2016, a total of 126,062 visa applications were filed with Estonian consular missions abroad, representing a five-percent decrease compared to the previous year.

"Although the number of visa applications for the full year declined, it grew tangibly in the final months of the year, which allows us to conclude that interest in traveling to Estonia has begun to increase," Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Consular Department Kersti Eesmaa said at a press briefing on Friday.

In 2015, the number of visa applications fell 23 percent compared to 2014. The number of applications in 2014 was in turn 15 percent smaller than in 2013.

Applications for Estonian visas are handled at 23 consular missions located in 20 countries worldwide. Last year, 93 percent of applications were handled at five missions in three different countries: Moscow, St. Petersburg and Pskov, Russia; Minsk, Belarus; and Kiev, Ukraine. Multiple-entry visas accounted for four in five of Estonian visas issued in 2016, an increase from three in four in 2015.

The percentage of visa refusals dropped from 1.71 percent in 2015 to 1.35 percent last year.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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