The number of applications for Estonian visas increased last year after three years of decline, data published by the Foreign Ministry shows.
In 2017 144,578 applications for Estonian visas were filed, 15 percent more than in the previous year. 2017 was the first year since 2013 that saw an increase in the number of visa applications year on year.
The number of applications started rising already towards the end of 2016, Kersti Eesmaa, director general of the Foreign Ministry's consular department, said.
Visa applications numbered 126,062 in 2016, 132,395 in 2015, 172,557 in 2014 and 202,303 in 2013.
In 2017 short-term visa-free stays in the EU became available for holders of biometric passports of Georgia and Ukraine, which had its own effect on visa statistics, spokespeople for the Foreign Ministry said. As a result, the number of visa applications fell effectively to zero in Georgia, where recently more biometric passports have been issued. A noticeable decline was seen also in Ukraine, where many people do not yet have biometric passports.
Applications for Estonian visas are handled at 22 consular offices in 20 countries. As before, the overwhelming majority of applications for Estonian visas were processed by five offices in 2017, namely the ones in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Pskov, Minsk, and Kiev. Last year 94 percent of the total number of visa applications were filed with these offices.
Multiple entry visas made up 87 percent of visas issued by Estonian consular offices in 2017, and the ratio of visa rejections remained low at 1.34 percent, compared to 1.35 percent in 2016 and 1.71 percent in 2015.
Editor: Dario Cavegn