Easier to apply for visa
Finland is Tuesday announcing the opening of a dedicated visa center in Murmansk. Norway’s Consul General Øyvind Nordsletten hopes to join, but are awaiting formalities.
The boost in cross-border travel from Russia’s Kola Pensinsula triggers new service initiatives from those issuing visas in Murmansk. On Tuesday, Finland’s Consulate branch office will announce the opening of a visa-service center.
The goal is to provide easier and faster visa-service. Both Norway and Finland are outsourcing the handling of visa applications other places in Russia to an external visa service company. Norway has agreement with VFS Services LLC Russia (VFS) in 15 cities all over Russia, Finland even more. The center in Murmansk will be the first in the Barents Region.
Last May, BarentsObserver reported about Norway’s plan to team-up with Finland to establish a joint visa-service center. Today, more than a year later, Finland is ready while Norway is awaiting formalities.
“It is definitively a possibility, and desirable that we should be together with the Finland, but the formalities must be in place first,” says Øyvind Nordsletten to BarentsObserver today.
“We aim for outsourcing the receiving of visa applications and delivering of passports with visas from December 1st this year. A tender has been held and we will enter an agreement at present. Most likely we will make use of the same company as Finland,” Nordsletten says.
Until late August, the Norwegian Consulate General in Murmansk had issued more than 14,000 visas to Norway and Sweden. “60 percent of the visas so far this year are Pomor-visas,” Per Christian Jørgensen at the visa-department told BarentsObserver. Pomor-visa gives multiple entries to Norway and the Schengen area over a period of several years, and applicants can get such visa without holding a prior invitation from a Norwegian partner or travel agency.