Norway makes it even easier for Barents Russians to apply for visa

Жители столицы Республики Карелия – города Петрозаводска – вскоре смогут обращаться за норвежской визой в местный визовый центр.

With a new visa-centre in Petrozavodsk, Karelians will no longer need to travel to St. Petersburg to apply for visa to Norway. Next year, Arkhangelsk probably gets the same.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs looks into the possibility to establish a visa-centre in Arkhangelsk during next year,” says Per Christian Jørgensen, Head of the visa-section at Norway’s Consulate General in Murmansk to BarentsObserver.

Today, people in Arkhangelsk can deliver their applications for visa to the office of Norway’s Honorary Consul, and office jointly operated by the Norwegian Barents Secretariat.

Andrey Shalyov is Norway’s Honorary Consul in Arkhangelsk and head of the Russian offices of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat.

Large interest for Norway
“From January to August this year we handled 2,531 visa applications,” says Honorary Consul Andrey Shalyov to BarentsObserver.

Italy opens their visa-centre in Arkhangelsk before Christmas, according to the portal of Russia’s Tourist Association.  Like Norway, also Italy aims at issuing multiple-entry visas valid for several years from their visa-centre in Arkhangelsk. 

Popular Italy
Italy, a very popular destination among Russian tourists, will also soon open a visa-centre in Murmansk. While several other European countries see less visa-applicants in Russia, Italy expects a 30 percent increase by the year end compared with 2013.

Not less than 100,000 Italian applications will be handled at the Consulate General in St. Petersburg in 2014. The Consulate is today the only serving the population of Northwest-Russia.

Several more Norwegian visa-centres
Per Christian Jørgensen says Norway has already improved their visa-availability at several locations in Northwest-Russia 

“This means that applicants in Petrozavodsk and other places in Karelia can deliver their papers there from October,” tells Jørgensen. All new centres will handle the paper work on behalf of the Norwegian Consulate General in St. Petersburg.

It is the private Indian company VFS Global that operates the visa centres for Norway. The largest such centres opened in Murmansk in January 2013. Similar centres will soon open Vyborg, Velikiy Novgorod, Pskov and St. Petersburg.