World Championship2018

Migrants try to get to Europe on the passport of the fan. Finland and Latvia launched investigations

Potential refugees do not need a visa to enter Russia if they have made a Fan ID.

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Fans for getting into the World Cup matches in Russia need a fan ID (Fan ID) – a document tied to tickets and passport data. In addition, foreign fans can use a passport instead of a visa all month long while there is football. However, many migrants use this and try to illegally move to Europe through the Russian regions.

Passport fan as a substitute for visa

The 2018 World Cup matches are held in 11 cities, including St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad and Rostov, which are close to the Russian border. From June 4 to July 25, foreigners can enter Russia on the passport of the fan, but through several checkpoints. Centers for fans have been installed in Moscow’s Vnukovo, Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports, as well as in the Leningrad and Kaliningrad regions.

The only transit point was opened on the border of Russia and Belarus – it operates from June 1 to July 25. It is expected that in 2019 foreigners will come across the Russian-Belarusian border to the Euro Games, which will be held in Minsk.

Get a fan’s passport is several times simpler than a Russian or European visa. Foreigners must buy a ticket for the match at the 2018 World Cup and leave an application on the site or at the Fan ID Clearance Center. Before the start of the Championship documents could be received in three weeks at home, after the start – for several days at the visa centers of VFS Global

Several illegal migrants have already been detained

On June 14, the Office of the Federal Bailiff Service for Karelia told about a group of fans from Morocco who tried to cross the Russian-Finnish border. Fans showed the police tickets for the match between Morocco and Iran, but could not explain what they were doing on the border. After they pleaded guilty, the court expelled four fans and fined each two thousand rubles.

June 20 in Vyborgsky district of the Leningrad region detained two Iranians, who also came to the Russian-Finnish border. The village police Red Hill delivered fans with Fan ID to the station – they are waiting for the trial.

Also on June 20, the State Frontier Committee of Belarus reported on the detention of illegal migrants under the guise of fans. According to the department, most often come across the citizens of Morocco and Pakistan, who pretend to be “football fans”. “When we start to work with them, unfortunately, not everyone even knows what a ball is,” – said the head of the Belarusian State Customs Committee Alexei Sytenkov.

Supporters of Morocco on a match with Portugal. Getty Photos

Latvia first thought of it

On 14 June, the State Border Guard of Latvia warned of the high risk of illegal migration during the 2018 World Cup. The department was reminded that the presence of Fan ID does not give the right to enter the country – it still requires a Schengen visa.

Three citizens of Senegal were detained on the Russian-Latvian border, who tried to get to Europe on the passport of the fan. Police in the village of Terekhovo detained the fans and sent them to court, they will no longer be able to match their team with Colombia, Poland and Japan.

Finland and Germany began to take measures

June 16, two days after the start of the 2018 World Cup, the Federal Office for Criminal Affairs (BKA) warned the German police about refugees who could come to the country in the guise of fans. The publication Bild spoke about Arab and African forums, whose users are discussing migration to Europe.

The German Foreign Ministry issued a warning that illegal migrants with Fan ID will be sent home when they try to break the border.

According to Bild, a large number of fan passports were received by citizens of Iran, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, despite the fact that their teams are not considered favorites of the tournament.

As told “Fontanka”, a similar warning was issued in the Finnish border guard. The Migration Service deals with three cases of illegal migration, including a Chinese citizen who applied for asylum.

The fan’s passport does not give access to the territory of Finland or the European Union. This is an approved travel document only for travel to Russia. Thus, all cases when the Fan ID attempts to enter Finland without a visa are considered illegal entry. So this can not be called an easy or acceptable way.

Marco Saarex
head of the department of analysis of the situation of the border guard of Finland
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