ATHENS – Rich Russians squeezed by European Union sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine still are welcome to buy residency permits and get passports in Greece if they invest enough, the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR) has advised them.
That was reported by SchengenVisaInfo.com which said that Hungary and Italy also would accommodate them as other EU countries have pulled back in the wake of the invasion that made energy prices skyrocket in the bloc.
Greece, despite EU concerns about the possibility of criminals hiding cash and money laundering, continues to sell the Golden Visas but is going to raise the threshold in most areas of the country to 500,000 euros ($535,380.)
The advice comes following an analysis of the association done in collaboration with tour operators who assist in visa applications, the site said, after Russian airlines were banned from EU countries as well.
“You can easily and quickly get a Schengen visa for a tourist trip to Hungary, thanks to a loyal visa policy. This is one of the most popular European countries among Russians, even under sanctions,” ATOR says in a statement regarding the analysis.
That’s because Hungary, under its authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is pro-Russian and even sent its foreign chief to Belarus, a key Russian ally in the invasion, further mocking the EU.
“At the moment, as an accredited tour operator in Greece, we have no problems with obtaining Schengen visas… refusals are not a threat for our tourists, since they happen only in very serious cases, as a rule, not related to the tourist purpose of the trip,” experts from tour operator Ambotis Holidays told ATOR, the site said.
The top favorite destinations in Greece for Russian tourists are Halkidiki, Crete, and Rhodes, not so much Athens, which is favored by Chinese who buy up properties and other investors who’ve taken over swaths of neighborhoods.
It also advised Russian citizens to submit documents at least a month before the planned departure at the visa issuing embassies, in order to avoid possible delays for getting the passport back.
The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Slovakia do not issue visas to Russians, nor do Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland, The Czech Republic and Estonia, who also bar Russian tourists as of now.