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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.

Refugees find Arctic route to Norway via Russia, but appear to shun neighboring Finland.

The first ever agreement on visa-free travel between Russia and a Schengen-member state was signed in Oslo today. The agreement stipulates how the population in the near-border areas can cross the border only by showing their ID-card.

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.

Almost 5000 asylum seekers have crossed the Norwegian-Russian border since the European migrant crisis arose. The Norwegian government decides to toughen the asylum regulations.

Terrorism fears, with police and soldiers likely targets, is the reason for the special decision to allow Finnish Border Guards to be armed when on patrol in the normally relaxed town of Kirkenes in Norway’s northeastern corner.

SALMIJERVI: Contrary to earlier plans, FSB border guards reinforce the physical protection along Russia’s border to Norway. A brand new, and partly double barbed wire fence is now under construction.

Welcome to Finland.

A record high number of 6,8 million people crossed the Finnish-Russian border in 2010. Also the countries’ northernmost checkpoints experienced an all-time-high of travelers.

Russia works seven days a week with new highway to the border, but the Norwegian Public Roads Administration today announced that the new highway on their side will not open before 2017.

EU and Russia

Russia and the EU have agreed to allocate a total of 600 million EUR to cross-border project cooperation. The sum, half of which is provided by the Russian side, could open a new era in project cooperation between the two sides.

EU-Russia Summit

The agreement and implementation of the programmes for cross-border cooperation between EU’s northern member states and Russia’s north western regions will be on the agenda when President Dmitri Medvedev today meets the EU leadership in Stockholm.

Despite the challenges and political controversy of their presence, conscripts in the Norwegian border guard service say it is the best assignment to take on as a young soldier.

Sergey Lavrov (BarentsPhoto.com)

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expects that the EU will respond to a Russian request on visa facilitation by early December.

Welcome to Finland.

More than 60 percent up in January at Salla.