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Three days processing of visa-applications is history. “Always apply at least 15 days prior to scheduled departure. Our processing time is 10 days,” says Marit Egholm Jacobsen, head of the visa section at Norway’s Consulate General in Murmansk.

Russian President calls on the Federal Security Service (FSB) collegium to make priority to Arctic border infrastructure.

Photo: Barentsphoto.com

In last week’s session in the State Border Commission, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered less red tape and more efficiency on the country’s state borders. He also appointed his close ally Sergey Ivanov new deputy head of the commission.

Are you curious about the Norwegian-Russian borderland? BarentsObserver now launches its BorderZone project, a web portal with comprehensive news, contact data and practical information from the two neighboring municipalities of Sør-Varanger and Pechenga.

Boris Gleb road reconstruction

Most of the border zone road from the Norwegian-Russian border crossing at Boris Gleb towards Nikel, was modernized in 2003. Now the remaining parts are being modernized.

Dmitry Dmitriyenko (BarentsObserver.com)

Russia’s Sergei Lavrov and Norway’s Jonas Gahr Støre agrees on the text on how to facilitate visa-free travel for part of the population in Kirkenes, Nikel and Zapolyarny.

The Orthodox Chapel in BorisGleb, Russia

Tourists will soon be able to cross the border from Norway by river boat to the historic famous BorisGleb chapel located in Russia’s restricted border area.

KALININGRAD. The European Parliament will on 14 December vote on the establishment of a multi-million people visa-free zone between Kaliningrad and Poland.

The Russian Federation Council ratifies an agreement on local visa-free traveling with Latvia.

There can be no true partnership between Russia and the EU without the abolishment of the current visa regime, President Vladimir Putin underlines to EU leaders.

Janne-Pekka Piispanen and Julia Bobina believe the Barents Region could be the first place with full visa-freedom between EU and Russia. Their suggestion is now posted to the Prime Ministers that will meet in Kirkenes next spring to sign a new Barents declaration.

Several key EU countries are ready to compromise on the Russian demand for visa-free travel to holders of so-called service passports.

KIRKENES: A group of Russian border guards last week conducted a live-fire exercise and weapons inspection at a Norwegian army post during an annual border guard exchange between the two countries.

Russia will start collecting fingerprints from foreigners applying for visa. For Barents travelers, personal appearance to the nearest diplomatic mission can be too expensive.

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.