Finland state

Finland: Real estate can no longer guarantee visas for Russians – Bollyinside

HELSINKI (AP) — Finland’s president said Thursday he wants to make it difficult for Russians to use property in the Nordic countries — typically apartments or vacation homes — as justification for obtaining travel visas.

“Getting a visa to enter the country is not a subjective right for anyone, but the visa issuer always has the right to discretion,” President Sauli Niinisto told reporters in Helsinki. “Until now, owning a property or an apartment in Finland was seen as a helping factor in applying for a visa. I don’t think that’s necessary. “

Regional newspaper Etela-Saimaa reported in August that Russian citizens were buying real estate in Finland at an accelerated rate this year despite the war in Ukraine and Western economic sanctions against Russia.

Since September 1, Finland has reduced the number of visas – including tourist visas – issued to Russian citizens to a tenth of the usual number, a move seen as an expression of solidarity with Ukraine.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto recently told state broadcaster YLE that due to the new quota, Russian landlords have started dividing their Finnish properties among several people, leaving more of them eligible for visas.

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Etela-Saimaa said most sales of Finnish properties to Russian buyers in August took place in the South Karelia region, a scenic lake region near the Russian border.

Non-EU nationals must apply for a permit from the Finnish Ministry of Defense to buy property in Finland, which shares the 1,340 kilometer (830 mile) border with Russia – the longest of any EU member state.

Finland’s security police had warned for several years that Russian real estate transactions in Finland could involve military real estate for Moscow.

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