Decrease in visas applied for entry to Finland
India overtook Ukraine and has now become the third biggest country in the list of applicants
In 2018, Finland processed a total of 768,978 applications for a Schengen visa. The number of applications dropped by seven per cent compared to the previous year, according to the information published today by the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Of those visa applications for entry to Finland, 87 per cent came from Russia. According to the figures provided, India overtook Ukraine in the number of visa applications, being now the third biggest in the list of visa national countries.
In June 2018, Ukrainian citizens in possession of a biometric passport were exempted from the visa requirement, which means that a visa is needed only by those who have a non-biometric visa.
Russians submitted by far the greatest number of visa applications to enter Finland also in 2018. Of visas required to enter Finland, 87 per cent were applied for in Russia. The eastern neighbour issued 669,025 visas to Finland, while 99,953 visas were issued in other countries.
Russians prefer short-distance travel and many of them visit Finland to do shopping, for example. Compared to the previous year, the number of visas applied for in Russia fell by eight per cent.
In 2017, the number of visa applications was 730,962. There have been dramatic changes in the number of visas from Russia from year to year. In 2016, a total of 464,899 visa applications were submitted, but the record year was 2013 with as many as 1.5 million visa applications.
Of the visa applications to Finland in 2018, 70 per cent were submitted at the Consulate General in St Petersburg, which is the busiest place in terms of reception of visa applications. There was a nine per cent fall compared to the previous year.
Finland's Embassy in Moscow processed the second largest number of visa applications in 2018, totalling 72,955. The figure was up by three per cent on the previous year.
Visa applications submitted at the Petrozavodsk office dropped to 32,413, showing a 21 per cent decrease. The number of visa applications processed in Murmansk dropped by 18 per cent, remaining at 22,589.
The Petrozavodsk office of the Consulate General in St Petersburg handles visa matters in the Republic of Karelia, representing also Sweden and the Netherlands. The Murmansk office issues visas to residents in the Murmansk area, representing also Iceland in visa matters.
The number of visas applied by the Chinese increased. In 2018, the number of visa applications rose from 34,410 to 40,243. The number of visa applications processed in Finland's Embassy in Beijing rose by 11 per cent and the corresponding increase was 19 per cent in the Consulate General in Shanghai.
With 11,959 visa applications, India became the third biggest country in terms of visa applications to Finland. In Thailand and in Ukraine, the number of visa applications was 10,077 and 4,787 respectively.
Finland has continued the outsourcing of reception of visa applications. Currently, over 99 per cent of Schengen visa applications to Finland are submitted to an external service provider.
In 2018, reception of visa applications was outsourced in Hong Kong, the USA, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Nepal. A new visa centre was opened in Antalya, Turkey, too.