This article was originally published on 25 Feb. 2022 and updated on 9 November 2022 to reflect new information.
In response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, several governments in neighboring countries have paused the issuance of visas for Russian and Belarusian nationals and suspended entry for the time being.
This is an evolving situation, and below is a preliminary list of governments that have suspended visa issuance for Russian and Belarusian nationals as of 21 April 2022.
On 17 March 2022, the government of Russia announced that travelers from Belarus will be permitted to enter Russia without undergoing COVID-19 related entrance requirements. Travelers from Belarus will be permitted to cross the border between Russia and Belarus for essential and non-essential purposes.
On 27 Feb. 2022, the government of Canada prohibited the operation of Russian-ended, chartered, or operated aircraft in Canadian airspace, including in the airspace above Canadian territorial waters.
The government of the Czech Republic released new information for Belarusian and Russian nationals on 30 June 2022. Belarusian and Russian nationals will now be permitted to apply for a short-stay visa application if they are family members of a citizen of the Czech Republic and are accompanying the citizen to the Czech Republic, or if they are a family member of a citizen of the European Union (EU) and are accompanying the citizen to the Czech Republic. Belarusian and Russian nationals who were issued a residence permit for the Czech Republic prior to 24 Feb. 2022 will still be permitted to enter the country.
Belarusian and Russian nationals will be prevented from applying for a visa or residence permit from a Czech Embassy if they do not meet the above requirements.
The government of the Czech Republic will resume visa processing for Russian and Belarussian citizens beginning on 1 April 2022. To qualify, Russian and Belarussian citizens must have first received confirmation from the consular service of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Moscow.
On 3 March 2022, the government of the Czech Republic announced that it would stop receiving and processing applications for entry visas and long-term and permanent residence permits for Belarusian nationals.
On 23 Feb. 2022, VFS Global, the Czech Republic’s visa processing service provider, announced that applications submitted in Russia for the Czech Schengen visa will be suspended until further notice.
The government of Estonia will no longer issue new visas and residence permits to Russian and Belarusian nationals to work and conduct business in the country beginning 7 April 2022. Russian and Belarusian nationals who have already been issued a visa or work permit will not have their permissions revoked and individuals currently holding these permissions will be permitted to apply for an extension in the future or change employers.
On 10 March 2022, the government of Estonia announced that it will no longer be possible to submit visa applications to official Estonian offices based in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Pskov, and Minsk, and in Visa Centers of external service providers in Russia and Belarus.
Russian and Belarusian citizens will only be able to submit visa applications on humanitarian grounds or for visiting family members in Estonia.
On 25 Feb. 2022, the European Council adopted measures to partially suspend the facilitation of the issuance of visas with Russia. Diplomats, Russian officials, and businesspersons for the Federation of Russia will no longer be able to benefit from the visa facilitation provisions.
The Council stated that this decision will not influence ordinary Russian citizens.
Member states of the European Union (EU) have also been urged not to recognize passports issued by Russian authorities in the occupied territories in Ukraine. The Council also proposed a coordinated approach to end the practice of offering the Golden Passport to Russian nationals with high investments in the EU.
The government of Greece lifted the suspension on Golden Visa renewals for Russian and Belarusian nationals and will resume the renewal process for residence permits for senior-level Russian and Belarussian employees.
The government of Ireland announced that it will remove Russia and Belarus from its short-stay visa waiver scheme effective 25 October 2022. The short-stay visa waiver scheme allows eligible travelers who have entered the United Kingdom to travel to Ireland without requiring an Irish entry visa. The government also stated that it will not recognize Russian passports issued to Russian nationals in occupied regions of Ukraine.
The government will continue to accept visa applications from Russian nationals on a case-by-case basis while maintaining strict background checks.
On 27 Feb. 2022, the government of Iceland announced that it would close its airspace to Russian air traffic. All aircraft owned, chartered, operated, or otherwise controlled by citizens of the Russian Federation and all operations holding air operator certificates (AOCs) issued by the government of Russia will be prohibited from entering, exiting, or flying over Icelandic Airspace.
In addition, the government suspended visa facilitation for Russian officials, business travelers, parliamentarians, diplomats, and other parties.
The government of Latvia announced that all permanent residence permits issued to Russian citizens will be void as of 1 September 2023. All Russian citizens who seek to remain in Latvia after this date on a permanent residence permit will be required to file for a new permit or the status of a habitual resident of the European Union (EU). To do so, Russian citizens must:
Submit an application to the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs either electronically or via regular mail, along with a valid copy of a passport.
The following documents are required in the application:
Confirmation that the applicant has passed a language examination.
Provide proof of income of at least EUR 500 acquired over a 12-month period or a certificate of proof that a pension has been granted in Latvia.
On 5 April 2022, the government of Latvia announced that it would revoke permission of the Consulates General of the Russian Federation to operate in the cities of Daugavpils and Liepaja. As such, these offices will be closed beginning 30 April 2022 and the diplomatic staff of the consulates will be required to leave Latvia.
On 3 March 2022, the government of Latvia announced that its consular services in Minsk, Belarus have been suspended for an indefinite time.
On 25 Feb. 2022, the government of Latvia indefinitely suspended the issuance of visas to Russian nationals, except for humanitarian reasons.
On 28 Feb. 2022, the government of Lithuania closed airspace to Russian planes and imposed restrictions on Russian ships.
On 24 Feb. 2022, the government of Lithuania suspended the issuance of visas for Russian nationals.
The government of Norway announced that Norwegian embassies would resume the issuance of non-tourist visas to Russian citizens beginning 4 April 2022. Visa centers in Russia are expected to reopen but will operate with a limited staff.
On 28 Feb. 2022, the government of Norway published information for Russian citizens currently in the country and those wishing to apply for a visa for Norway. Russian citizens currently in Norway, with a visa or temporary residence permit that is about to expire, are allowed to remain in Norway if they can provide proof that they are unable to return to Russia due to cancelled flights or travel options. Russian nationals who cannot return to Russia once their visa or temporary residence permit has expired must seek other return travel options, such as land travel.
Alternatively, the government of Norway will allow Russian nationals holding a permanent residence permit for Norway to apply for Norwegian citizenship so long as they meet the conditions of citizenship and apply with the Norwegian authorities. Dual citizenship is allowed.
On 26 Feb. 2022, the government of Poland suspended air travel between Poland and Russia, offering only limited options of travel to Poland by land.
The government of Poland announced that it will no longer accept applications for Special Permissions submitted by Russian nationals. Russian nationals holding Special Permissions granted prior to 28 October 2022 can continue to be employed until the Special Permission status expires. Special Permission applications filed on or before 28 October 2022 will continue to be processed. Russian nationals will still be permitted to apply for a regular work permit or residence permit, including single permits, Blue Cards and permanent residence permits.
On 28 Feb. 2022, the government of Portugal announced that Russian airlines will not be permitted to enter Portuguese airspace.
On 28 Feb. 2022, the government of Spain closed Spanish airspace to airlines from the Russian Federation. These measures will apply to all aircrafts registered in Russia or aircrafts not registered in Russia, but owned, charted or otherwise controlled by Russian nationals or legal persons.
On 28 Feb. 2022, the government of Sweden closed Swedish airspace to Russian aircrafts.
Envoy will continue to monitor for further developments and will provide additional information related to entrance and visa issuance for Russian nationals as it becomes available. Please consult your organization’s global immigration team for specific guidance.
Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.
About the AuthorMore Content by Jessie Butchley