The Finnish authorities have announced that the country will no longer accept visa and residence permit applications at the VFS centre in Saint Petersburg from August 1, 2023.
“Visa and residence permit applications to Finland will not be accepted at the visa centre VFS (Visa Facilitation Services Global) office in St. Petersburg from August 1, 2023,” the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland reads.
According to the Ministry, the decision to no longer accept visa and residence permit applications has been taken due to resource reasons.
Nonetheless, it has been stressed that the applications will only not be accepted until August 31, 2023.
As for applications that have been submitted before August 1, the Ministry explained that they will be processed normally, meaning that there will be no longer waiting times or stricter rules.
“Due to resource reasons, visa and residence permit applications to Finland cannot be accepted at the embassy in Moscow or at any VFS office in Russia between August 1 and August 31, 2023. Applications submitted before August 1, 2023, will be processed normally,” the Ministry stated.
While it has been stressed that Finland will not accept these types of applications at any VFS office in Russia until August 31, the Ministry has said that they will announce the date when they will start accepting applications again.
The authorities have said that the applications for a visa and a residence permit will start being accepted again from September 1. However, an official statement will be made again by the end of August on the matter.
“The possibility of submitting a visa or residence permit application at the VFS office in St. Petersburg starting on September 1, 2023, will be announced later,” the Ministry stressed.
Earlier this month, on July 6, Russia announced that it would shut down the Finnish Consulate General in Saint Petersburg from October 1 of this year.
Due to such a decision, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the consulate would no longer be offering customer service from September 1, 2023.
In addition, back then, the Finnish authorities said that the country would be taking reciprocal measures, with the President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, saying that Russia’s actions were unbalanced and severe.
Apart from the above-mentioned, Finland also just recently decided to extend the travel restrictions for citizens of Russia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said earlier this month that non-essential travel from Russia to Finland and transit through the country’s territory to reach other Schengen countries would remain restricted.