On September 8, Estonia issued a regulation restricting Russian citizens from crossing the country's border.
The regulation contains an exception for close relatives of Estonian citizens and holders of a long-term residence permit. At the same time, close relatives of Estonian residents with a temporary residence permit can’t enter the country.
Getting a long-term residence permit is difficult for many of these residents due to the length of residence requirement in Estonia.
The explicit mention of the long-term residence permit made it impossible for hundreds of families, some of whose members live in Estonia on the basis of a temporary residence permit, and others in Russia, to see their parents, children, and spouses in Estonia.
The situation is made worse by the fact that travel to Russia has become risky for such anti-war residents due to criminal prosecution in Russia for supporting Ukraine and its citizens, as well as the risk of being mobilized to participate in the war against Ukraine.
We propose to exclude the requirements for the long-term residence permit of close relatives from the conditions for crossing the border in order to be able to meet with spouses, parents, and children, regardless of the type of document on the basis of which we are residents of Estonia.
Update 1, quantitative.
Registered in Estonia at the beginning of 2022 [source]:
- 77.5 thousand long-term residence permits of Russian citizens whose close relatives are allowed to enter;
- 9.5 thousand temporary residence permits, the owners of which cannot be visited by close relatives.
Update 2, qualitative.
The majority of temporary residence permits were issued to high-skilled workers invited to Estonia (37%) and their families, as well as students of Estonian universities (17%) [source].
Close relatives (children, spouses, and parents only) who came on the basis of short-term visas were in most cases elderly parents who visited their children with their grandchildren without posing a threat to the security of Estonia.