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Up 10 percent in one month

Russian cars queuing up at Storskog border check-point. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Good neighbors give boost in border-crossings. Never before have so many people crossed the Norwegian, Russian border in one month.

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Norwegian immigration officials counted 24,217 border-crossings over the Storskog, Borisoglebsk check-points in November, up from 22,645 in October.  

The majority is still Russian citizens, but numbers of Norwegians are on increase since the check-point was opened in June for visa-free travel for locals living less than 30 kilometers from the border. “In November, 4,790 Norwegians crossed at Storskog. Of these, 2,586 made use of the visa-free arrangement,” says head of Storskog check-point, Stein Hansen to BarentsObserver.

With more travelers come more vehicles. And with 9,508 vehicles in November increases the queue. Especially on Saturdays, when Russians are driving to Kirkenes for shopping are the queues at Borisoglebsk check-point on the Russian side of the border long. Russian border authorities are now planning to build a brand new check-point to increase the capacity following the boom in border-crossings. On the Norwegian side, more immigration officers are already in place. Next year, more Customs officials will be employed.

In total, 222,318 border-crossings are counted at the Norwegian, Russian border this year.

Also Russia’s borders to Finnish Lapland experience a boost in traffic. On Monday this week, border-crosser No. 200,000 at Salla check-point was celebrated in a ceremony, reports the portal of the Finnish Border Guards. On her way to the Levi ski resport, Tatiana Kozakova from Murmansk was met with flowers and souvenirs. Her kids got teddy bears.