Finland wants visa-free train rides
Trips up to 72-hours made on the Allegro high-speed train between Helsinki and St. Petersburg can be visa-free.
“Visa-free travel would attract more Russian tourists, and money, to Finland,” says Minister of Economic Affairs Jyri Häkämies to YLE.
The initiative comes a year after Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed to extend the 72-hour visa-free regime currently available for cruise- and ferry passengers in St. Petersburg to also include train passengers.
“The main goal has to be open travel between the EU and Russia,” Jyri Häkämies says to YLE.
During the first year of operation, the numbers of passengers on the Allegro fast-speed train exceeded all expectations. 280.000 passengers traveled between St. Petersburg and Helsinki in 2011.
Finland is today one of the most liberal Schengen countries issuing loads multi-entry visas to Russians.
Read more about visa-liberalization between Russia and Schengen in Barents Review 2012. Chapter 2: Barents roadmap towards visa-freedom.