The FINANCIAL — TALLINN, Estonia annulled on January 19, in line with EU regulations, a rule that allowed citizens in Russian-Estonian border regions to receive free visas for travel between the two countries.
Estonia and Russia introduced the preferential visa regime in 2002. It provided for free annual visas to citizens included on lists drawn up by local authorities.
The privileged visa regime applied to people who had relatives, property or other reasons to visit Russia or Estonia. Around 2,000 free visas and 6,000 privileged visas were issued for Estonian citizens per year.
However, the Estonian Interior Ministry has devised a special program that would compensate once a year the cost of the 35 euro ($46.5) visa fee for those people who have lost out under the new rules.
Estonia became an EU member in 2004.