Russians say Hungary, Greece, and Italy are their best bets for obtaining Schengen visas
While several Schengen Area countries have stopped issuing Schengen visas to Russian nationals in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine a year ago, several other countries continue to issue Schengen visas with the territorial validity of all 27 Member States, and three of them are even seen as "loyal to the Kremlin" when it comes to visa issuance for Russians.
On Tuesday, February 14, the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) encouraged Russian citizens to apply for Schengen visas at visa processing authorities in Hungary, Greece, and Italy in Russia, as these three countries are their best options for acquiring a Schengen visa.
The recommendation follows an analysis of the organisation conducted in partnership with tour operators who assist with visa applications.
“You can easily and quickly get a Schengen visa for a tourist trip to Hungary, thanks to a loyal visa policy. This is one of the most popular European countries among Russians, even under sanctions,” ATOR says in a statement regarding the analysis.
It goes on to say that there are plenty of visa application slots available for Hungary, and that applications are processed within 17 to 20 working days.
“At the moment, as an accredited tour operator in Greece, we have no problems with obtaining Schengen visas… Refusals are not a threat for our tourists, since they happen only in very serious cases, as a rule, not related to the tourist purpose of the trip,” experts from tour operator Ambotis Holidays have told ATOR regarding Greece.
According to the same source, the top three Greek tourist destinations for Russians are Halkidiki, Crete, and Rhodes.
In the case of Italy, tour operators report that acquiring a visa for Italy in Moscow is easier than for certain other countries, such as France, despite the fact that there is a high demand for them. In Russia, the typical processing period for an Italian Schengen visa is about 20 working days.
Austria, Croatia, Spain, France, Slovenia, Switzerland, and Portugal are also nations that accept Schengen visa applications. According to ATOR, Russians have the most difficult time obtaining a Schengen visa through the French embassy, as the latter has a very limited number of slots.
It also recommends Russian citizens to submit paperwork to visa-issuing embassies at least a month before their scheduled travel to avoid possible passport delays.
Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Slovakia, on the other hand, do not issue Russians with Schengen visas. The first six also do not allow Russian tourists to enter.
By fLEXI tEAM