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Estonian Citizens Can Travel Visa-Free to Over 100 Countries


No 409-E

At a meeting with representatives of the Estonian Travel and Tourism Association, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonian citizens can currently travel to over 100 countries without a visa. “The most recent additions to the list of visa-free travel destinations are Brazil and Kyrgyzstan, and as of 10 January Armenia will also be added to the list,” he stated.

Paet added that the Foreign Ministry’s goal is to facilitate citizens’ travel to popular destinations that have a visa requirement. “We are working on increasing the number of countries to which Estonian citizens can travel without needing a visa,” he said.

The foreign minister noted that year by year, the number of people travelling to Estonia is also growing. “For example, in the first ten months of 2010 our representations in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Pskov, Kiev, Minsk, and Tbilisi received a total of 90 037 visa applications. In the first ten months of this year, they received 138 823 applications,” Paet stated.

The foreign minister said that Estonia has simplified its visa policies within the framework of the Schengen legal space. “Our foreign representations are issuing more and more multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years. In 2009, we abolished the requirements for an invitation to be filed together with the visa application,” said the foreign minister. As of 2007 a visa application can be filled out in advance over the internet, which speeds up the processing of the application.

The visa application process is also simplified by the opportunity to send an application using an outside courier service – this option is available in Russia and Ukraine, where an agreement is in place with the company Pony Express. “Considering the size of the countries, it is significantly easier for people in more remote regions to apply for a visa in this way,” Paet asserted.

Paet noted that issues related to the safety of travellers are also of utmost importance to the Foreign Ministry. “We are pleased that most travel agencies explain to their clients how important it is to have travel insurance and also offer opportunities to purchase insurance. We could make it a goal to not send a single person on a trip without travel insurance,” emphasised the foreign minister.

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