PPA anticipating uptick in border crossers after Russia launches e-visa

People at the Estonian border checkpoint in Narva. July 2022.
People at the Estonian border checkpoint in Narva. July 2022. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

Estonia's Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) expects the number of people crossing the eastern border to rise after Russia launched its e-visa for citizens of 55 countries. Both locals and foreigners still cross the border.

Currently, the only way to reach Russia with an e-visa is via Narva. As flights between Russia and Europe are suspended, citizens from other countries cross the Estonian border.

The PPA said tourists with e-visas have not yet presented themselves at the border, but it is only a matter of time.

"We estimate that this could lead to a small increase. Previous experience has shown that if the visa application is basically delivered to your home, there are certainly a significant number of people who want to use it. At the moment, it is difficult to say how many of them [border crossers] will start to come here every day," said Marek Liiv, head of the Narva border crossing point.

Estonian border (picture is illustrative). Source: (Sergei Stepanov)

Estonia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises citizens against traveling to Russia unless there is an urgent need to do so. The only consular support it can offer is in Moscow.

However, some residents of Narva told ERR on Thursday that they support the idea.

"I think it's a very good thing that, at last, you can travel freely to Russia. No need to wait long for the documents needed to validate your trip. For example, you can go to visit relatives or just for cheap groceries. In my opinion, this is very good. I will definitely use it, get it formalized, and start visiting Russia," said Ivan.

"I think so, of course [I would use an e-visa]. Why not. It's still great, you can see the historic sites and the Winter Palace or just take a walk," Jana said.

Russia trialed its e-visa before the coronavirus pandemic and has since expanded it. The process takes four days from application, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says.


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Editor: Marko Tooming, Helen Wright

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