The number of visa applications submitted to the Estonian Consulate General in Saint Petersburg has nearly doubled compared to previous years.
Consul General of Estonia in Saint Petersburg Jaanus Kirikmäe told ERR’s radio news that despite the increase in visa applications, nobody is physically standing in line at the door, however visa processing will take more time.
"While last year and at the beginning of this year we were able to process visa applications within five business days, we are currently keeping up a pace of ten calendar days," he said. "It seems as though Estonia is attractive to tourists from Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast."
According to Kirikmäe, both the Consulate General in Saint Petersburg and tourism developers have done a good job of promoting Estonia, but the amount of visa applications still came as a surprise to the consulate as the year’s first peak usually comes in April, ahead of the May Day holidays.
"We have tried for years to implement the principle which can be summarized in a Russian way — applying for a visa must be quick and simple," he explained. "In other words, require essential documents which are clearly understood, which are easily identifiable and which are not difficult to submit."
Last year, a total of 41,000 visas were issued by the Consulate General of Estonia in Saint Petersburg; this year, the total may exceed 60,000.
Editor: Aili Vahtla