Extra data demanded from applier for Russian visa in Belgium

Argo Ideon
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Photo: Toomas Huik / Postimees

Some citizens of Baltic States, applying for Russian visas in Belgium, have been required to fill in additional questionnaires with five questions, asking for information regarding «those born on territory of former Soviet Union». Meanwhile, Russia’s embassy in Tallinn claims no extra requirements have been imposed.

Deep was the bewilderment of a citizen of an EU member state, a frequent visitor to Russia, upon applying for another visa via Russia’s visa centre in Belgium: after having filled in the usual questionnaire, an e-mail arrived with additional questions to «residents of former Soviet Union». The questionnaire, in the Russian language, states: «To be filled by persons receiving visas for entry into territory of Russian Federation who have been born on the territory of the former Soviet Union.»

The opening question goes like this: «Specify the date when you conclusively left the territory of Soviet Union / Russian Federation.»

The fourth: «Specify by which means you crossed the Soviet / Russian border (settlement, means of transport, based on which documents).»

And the fifth question: «Specify if you had recourse to competent bodies of Russian Federation or diplomatic or consular institutions of Russian Federation regarding waiving Russian citizenship; if yes, then specify: name of the body, date of application, decision by Russian authorities.»

Judged by the context this might be a questionnaire directed, first and foremost, towards people who have lived in Russia during the Soviet Union and who have emigrated from there; however, the person receiving this definite questionnaire has been born in one of the Baltic States which regained their independence before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russia’s visa centre in Estonia told Postimees they have never imposed the above extra questionnaire upon anybody. «We have all required data posted on the website, electronically,» said the representative of the centre.

As told Postimees by press representative of Russian Embassy in Tallinn, nothing has been changed with issuance of Russian visas, the embassy not having granted any powers to issue additional questionnaires to the local visa centre. Neither does Estonian foreign ministry have any information of Estonian citizens having required to fill in questionnaires of this sort, by Russian embassy in Tallinn.

The above questionnaire was forwarded by Visa Handling Centre located in Belgium; when searching the Internet, identical questionnaires are also to be found on the website of another service provider in Belgium, Visa Express. Visa Handling Center did not responded to inquiries regarding the additional questionnaire, yesterday.

As a rule, Russian visa questionnaires are filled in electronically, on the corresponding website of the consular department of Russian foreign ministry.

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