PPA expects more border crossings after Russia lifts covid restrictions

Travelers at the border point in Narva on July 15, 2022.
Travelers at the border point in Narva on July 15, 2022. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

Estonia's Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is expecting an increase in border crossings from Russia after the country lifted coronavirus restrictions related to land borders. The PPA is asking travelers to allocate more time in their schedule for crossing the border.

On Friday, Russia lifted coronavirus restrictions which prohibited people from leaving the country without a visa for medical treatment.

The PPA and tourism agencies are now expecting to see a rise in border crossers from Russia to the EU.

While Russia is under a flight ban, it is still possible to leave the country via a land border.

Travelers have complained that there are no queues in Ivangorod, the Russian border town, only in Narva, Friday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

This is largely due to enhanced border control due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, Marek Liiva, head of the Narva border crossing point told the show.

"It depends on how people arrive at the border, what are their documents and what procedures we have to do with them on entry. No one can easily cross the border because now border control is strengthened and we check every person's reason to cross the border upon entry, especially foreigners," he said.

It is possible to cross the border faster if biometric identification is presented, the PPA said.

Tourism companies are also expecting to see an increase in guests from Russia.

There has been an rise in the number of people coming to the Narva Tourist Information Center for some time, said Ida-Viru County tourism coordinator Kadri Jalonen

"When communicating with hosts and spas, it became clear that there has not yet been a sharp increase in the number of tourists, but it is predictable that after lifting these restrictions there will definitely be an increase to some extent," she said.

The volume of people using the Narva border this year is approximately a third of the total pre-pandemic.

The total this year is approximately 640,000 border crossings between January and July but in the years before 2020, two million people would have usually crossed the border during this period.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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