Changes to the law in the Russian Federation has meant that drivers of leased cars have to pay a guarantee to cross the border from Estonia, it is reported.
The new law, which neither the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) nor the Tax and Customs Board (MTA) were aware of until Wednesday, not having been directly informed by Russian authorities, will apparently affect those who have more than one means of transport registered to their names.
''If the Russian customs authorities have already issued a temporary export permit to Russia to one of those means of transport, then a guarantee must be paid when crossing the border with another vehicle,'' said Ants Kutti, head of the border control department at the MTA.
Whilst it is not yet clear exactly how the amendments to the law will be implemented, it is assumed that they will affect drivers of leased cars in particular.
Details not clear but leased cars seem to be most problematic
This may be because leased cars ultimately are the property of the bank; drivers cannot be registered as owner regardless of how many vehicles they may have. Since the use of leased cars is prevalent in Estonia, this could affect a lot of people wishing to travel to Russia using their own car. Furthermore, it is not clear whether registering a vehicle and then selling or exchanging it for a newer car, again a common practice in the leased car market, will affect a driver's ownership status.
The precise sum required for obtaining a guarantee is not clear either.
''We are currently investigating what it means and how border crossing with leased cars could take place in the future," Mr. Kutti went on.
''We ask everyone to factor in delays when crossing the Russian border with a car, sicne the waiting time is long due to this temporary export inspection and the formalisation of guarantee," Mr. Kutti continued.
The MTA added that once clarification on the legal amendments is in and the future functioning of border crossings with Russia is settled, it will notify the public accordingly.
Estonia's other two borders, a land border with Latvia and a maritime border with Finland, are between free-movement Schengen Zone countries and no permission or, usually, checks are required when taking a car to those destinations.
Editor: Andrew Whyte