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Crossing the Estonian border

Who is allowed to enter Estonia?

People who are allowed to enter Estonia:

  • Persons who hold Estonian citizenship, have a residence permit or a right of residence in Estonia, or whose permanent residence is in Estonia according to the population register, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or not.

  • Citizens and residents of the European Union, the European Economic Area countries, the Swiss Confederation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of San Marino, and the Vatican City State (the Holy See), as well as persons holding a long-stay visa who are not symptomatic, and their family members who are not symptomatic.

  • All persons who arrive to the Republic of Estonia from the European Union or the Schengen Area countries, or from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and are not symptomatic.

  • Foreign nationals arriving from third countries who come to Estonia for work or study and are not symptomatic.

Self-isolation is mandatory for everyone who are symptomatic.

Self-isolation for asymptomatic individuals depends on the country from which they started their journey or countries through which they transited. People arriving in Estonia from at-risk countries have an obligation to remain in self-isolation for 10 days upon arrival. If they wish to reduce their period of self-isolation, they must get tested no earlier than 72 hours before they arrive in Estonia, and can get tested in Estonia on the sixth day from the abovementioned test. The self-isolation can be terminated before the tenth day if the results of both tests are negative. It is also possible to get tested immediately after arrival in Estonia. In this case, it is also possible to reduce the self-isolation period with a second test that is done no earlier than 6 days after the first test, and both of those must be negative. The period of 6 days will be calculated from the day following the first test.

All persons who have done their first test in another country (i.e. not at the border) must book the appointment for a second test themselves, by calling the call centre's line for people crossing the border 678 0000 (Monday to Friday 9.00 to 17.00).

Information on the list of countries and self-isolation requirements for arrivals to Estonia is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

If a person who comes to Estonia from a third country to study or to work comes from a country or transits through a country that is not listed on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or is listed as 'red', they must remain in self-isolation, which means that the employer or educational institution ensures the following:

  • the transport of the employee or student, and the opportunity to be in self-isolation for 10 days upon arrival in Estonia;

  • testing of the employee or student for COVID-19 immediately upon arrival in Estonia and re-testing no sooner than on day 6 of their stay in Estonia,

  • employees may not take up employment and students may not begin their studies within the first 10 days from arrival in Estonia,

  • employees may start work and students may begin their studies on day 11, provided that their second COVID-19 test is negative.

As an exception, the following asymptomatic persons may enter Estonia:

  • employees of a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office in Estonia, their family members, or foreign nationals arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation,

  • persons who are directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials, including the loading of goods or raw materials,

  • person who is a member of a foreign delegation arriving in Estonia at the invitation of the authority of the state or local government entity, in order to attend a work-related meeting,

  • providers of healthcare or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation,

  • persons who are directly involved in the international carriage of goods or passengers, including crew members serving on an international means of transport and persons performing repairs, warranty, or maintenance services on a means of transport,

  • persons who provide services to groups of passengers and are directly involved in the provision of passenger transport services,

  • persons whose purpose of arrival in Estonia is to ensure the operability of an essential service,

  • persons whose arrival in Estonia is related to the maintenance, repair, warranty, or information and communication technology of equipment of an enterprise operating in Estonia, where this is necessary to ensure the operation of the enterprise,

  • foreign nationals who are immediately passing through the territory of Estonia in order to reach their country of residence,

  • foreign nationals whose direct descendant or ascendant, relative or spouse, including a partner they are not married to on in civil partnership with, is an Estonian national, holder of an Estonian residence permit or the right of residence. at the border crossing, the burden of proof lies with the life partners who have to prove their partner status in order to receive permission to cross the border. To make the border crossing of the partner easier, we recommend sending the written confirmation of the Estonian citizen, or the foreign national who has the Estonian residence permit of right of residence, attesting that the arriving foreigner is their partner, to the Police and Border guard in advance.

  • foreign nationals who have received a special permit to enter the country from the Police and Border Guard Board. The application must be sent to ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee. The application for permission to cross the border in exceptional circumstances can be found on the website of the Police and Border Guard Board. The purpose of the special application is to allow third-country nationals to apply for crossing the external borders, for the purpose of entering Estonia under special circumstances for family reasons, such as funeral, wedding, illness of a family member, an indispensable meeting with a family member. A foreigner allowed to enter Estonia on the basis of a special application is subject to a general restriction of freedom of movement and must not leave their permanent place of residence or stay within 10 days.

The person arriving in Estonia can complete the electronic health declaration for crossing the border 24 hours before their arrival to Estonia. This will make the border crossing faster, and they do not have to wait in order to fill in a paper declaration.

Is a test that has been done in, for instance, Russia also accepted prior to arriving in Estonia? I.e. does the 72-hour rule apply regardless of the country?

The following order is in place for reducing the period of self-isolation (when arriving both from European countries and countries outside Europe):

  • People who do not wish to be in self-isolation for 10 days after arriving in Estonia can do a PCR test while they are still abroad, up to 72 hours before arriving in Estonia. In that case, while in Estonia, they have the possibility of doing a second test no sooner that on the sixth day after the first test they did abroad. A person is released from the 10-day self-isolation obligation before the deadline if the results of both tests are negative;
  • People who have not done a test up to 72 hours before arriving in Estonia may do the first test in Estonia immediately after arrival to the country and the second test no sooner than six days after the first test was done. The 10-day self-isolation can be ended before the deadline if the results of both tests are negative.

More specific information on the web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

What documents do I need to be able to prove on the border that I have been vaccinated against COVID-19?

The provider of health care services has an obligation to document a vaccination according to the requirements and forward the data to the Health Information System. If you have been vaccinated in Estonia, it is possible to see your own immunization data and, if necessary, print them out from the Patient Portal digilugu.ee (immunization notification, epicrisis). It is also possible to prove vaccination with an immunization passport, that can be issued on paper by the provider of health care services.

People who have been vaccinated while abroad can prove their vaccination by presenting an immunization passport, its copy, or a relevant certificate, that contains, in Latin or Slavic alphabet and in Estonian, Russian or English, among other things, the data of the person immunized, e.g. the disease against which the immunization was done, the date of the immunization, the immunization agent that was used, its lot number, the dosage administered, how many doses have been administered to the person, and the name and other data of the provider of the immunization. The proof can also be an officially certified printout from a database of another country.

How can I prove, e.g. to an employer or on the border, that I have already had the coronavirus and do not need to stay in self-isolation?

If you have had the coronavirus within the last 6 months, you can get the reply to the referral to testing or the relevant epicrisis (the personal data of the person who was analyzed, the methodology of the analysis, its results, the place and time of the analysis performed, who performed it and their information) from digilugu.ee and present this data on the border or to your employer, if necessary.

If you had the coronavirus while abroad, you can prove having had it by presenting a certificate issued by a doctor in another country, proving that you have had the coronavirus (the certificate must be in Latin or Slavic alphabet, in Estonian, Russian or English and contain the personal data of the person that was analyzed, e.g. the methodology of the analysis, its results, the place and time of the analysis performed, who performed it and their information). The proof can also be an officially certified printout from a database of another country.

Will I be turned back from the border if I am ill?

If you are an Estonian citizen or resident, you will not be turned back from the border even if you have symptoms of the disease. Also, those foreign citizens, whose family members reside in Estonia, will also be allowed to enter the county.

At the border

  • your travel documents will be checked, as well as your reason for entering the country and
  • the state of your health will be visually checked.

How do the police monitor compliance with the restriction on freedom of movement?

Police provides official assistance to the Health Board in monitoring compliance with restrictions on movement. This means that when police officers see the movement restrictions set be the government being violated in the course of their every-day work, they talk with people and explain the risks involved in public gatherings. If the infringement continues, the police inform the Health Board, which may, if necessary, issue a prescriptive order and impose a penalty payment.

What are the conditions for travelling between Estonia and Finland?

Entry into Finland is allowed for:

  • an Estonian citizen who resides in Finland and his family members. Residing means that the person has a right of residency that has been registered at the Finnish Immigration Service;
  • a person studying in Finland;
  • an unavoidable family reason (e.g. a funeral, a wedding, becoming ill, meeting with a close relative);
  • persons doing work that is important for the functioning of the society (including healthcare workers performing their professional tasks);
  • persons and special groups travelling for another unavoidable reason.

The restrictions are in force until May 25, 2021.

Everyone arriving in Finland via ports in Helsinki or the Vantaa Airport and are not carrying a SARS-CoV-2 certificate for a negative corona test that has been done within the past 72 hours must do a test at the port or at the airport. Testing is not required from persons who have a medical certificate on having had the coronavirus within the past 6 months, freight transport and logistics personnel, transit passengers going to a connecting flight at the airport, and children born in 2008 and later. If a person cannot do a test for valid reasons, the authorities have the right to assign him to isolation. Persons who do not follow the orders of the authorities can be punished with a fine or an arrest. The decision is in force until May 31, 2021 but may be extended.

Starting from February 23, 2021, the passengers (starting from 13 years of age) going to Finland on a ship must present a coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 certificate (the corresponding test must be done within the previous 72 hours) or a medical certificate attesting to the passenger having had COVID-19 within the previous 6 months. More information (including about the exceptions) from the web pages of the ship companies: https://www.tallinksilja.com/book-a-cruise, https://www.eckeroline.com/ or https://www.sales.vikingline.com/.

More information when travelling to Finland https://reisitargalt.vm.ee/riigid/soome/ (in Estonian)


The same requirements apply for arrivals from Finland to Estonia as do for arrivals from other European countries. This means that all persons who have crossed the Estonian national border must stay in self-isolation for 10 days. The self-isolation and testing requirements do not apply to people who have had COVID-19 within the previous 6 months, or have received a full course of vaccinations.

Similarly to arriving from other countries, the 10-day self-isolation can be reduced with testing. That requires two coronavirus tests with negative results. One of them up to 72 hours before arriving in the country or immediately after crossing the border, and the other test no sooner than six days after the first test.

The possibility of returning to Finland before the end of the self-isolation period remains, if the reason for returning is unavoidable work, studies or a family event. The person must have done a coronavirus test with negative results no sooner than 72 hours before leaving Estonia in these cases as well. The change is necessary primarily for enabling labour and educational mobility.

This allows people who have not done a corona test immediately after arriving in the country but during the isolation period have an avoidable need to urgently return to a foreign country due to work, studies or a family event, to do this test and leave the country.

I would like to fly to or from Estonia in two weeks. How can I find out if that flight will take place?

Currently it is most prudent to plan direct flights to or from Estonia no more than one week in advance, as beyond that there cannot be full certainty that the infection rate in the given country will not exceed the permitted level. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications reviews the infection rates for countries each Friday afternoon and then opens or closes routes accordingly.

Starting from the beginning of this year, it is allowed to open up air routes from Estonia to countries where the coronavirus infection rate per 100,000 residents within the past 14 days is under double the European Union average.

The government has established exceptions for Warsaw, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Riga, and Helsinki. Flights from Estonia can be operated to these destinations, regardless of the new cases of infection in the country over the last 14 days.

The list of permitted countries is updated every Friday afternoon, which means that the list of countries from which it is possible to take a direct flight to Estonia can change each week. More information on the list of countries can be found here: https://www.mkm.ee/et/uudised/info-lennupiirangute-kohta.

When will I be able to use the COVID-19 vaccination certificate in other European countries?

The European Union is in the process of creating a Digital Green Certificate framework, the objective of which is to create a cross border framework for issuing, verifying and recognizing interoperable vaccination, testing and recovery certificates.

Work on the draft are ongoing, the objective is to adopt the regulation in the middle of June. Implementing the regulation also requires the member states to have technological readiness that might not be achievable in all member states in such a short time perspective. Thus the possibility that the actual implementation of the regulation might take longer has to be taken into account.

How will the checking of the COVID-19 vaccination certificate take place on the border?

The vaccination certificate can be presented on the border both on paper and on the screen of a smart device. The vaccination certificate contains a QR- code, and scanning that will allow a quick checking of the correctness and validity of the data.

The person conducting the check must evaluate, according to the requirements of the destination country (e.g. whether the date of immunisation meets the requirements set by the destination country).

Do pilots also have the obligation to self-isolate and test after crossing the border?

Pilots fall under an exception in force, according to which they are not subject to the obligations to self-isolate and test if they are directly involved with international freight or passenger transport and are arriving in Estonia to perform professional duties.

Do pilots also have the obligation to self-isolate and test after crossing the border?

Pilots fall under an exception in force, according to which they are not subject to the obligations to self-isolate and test if they are directly involved with international freight or passenger transport and are arriving in Estonia to perform professional duties.

Who has to remain in self-isolation for ten days after entering Estonia?

All symptomatic persons have an obligation to self-isolate. Whether an asymptomatic person has an obligation to self-isolate depends on their country of departure or transit.

Returning to Estonia from the countries at-risk from COVID-19, people have the obligation to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival. In order to reduce the 10-day self-isolation period need to test for coronavirus no earlier than 72 hours before arrival. The second test can then be taken in Estonia not earlier than the sixth day after the first test. The period of six days will be calculated from the day following the first test. The isolation can end before the 10-day period if the results of both tests are negative.

Information about the countries and self-isolation obligations of those arriving in Estonia can be found on the homepage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://vm.ee/en/information-countries-and-self-isolation-requirements-passengers

Staying in self-isolation means that a person cannot leave their place of residence within 10 days, except at the order of a health care worker or police officer or for essential trips. For example, you can leave your home if your life is in danger or you need medical care, you need to renew food supplies, buy essential goods, purchase medicines, get fresh air while not coming into contact with other people. In all these cases, contacts with other people must be avoided. Therefore, you cannot go to work or go hiking on a populated hiking trail. But you can go outside for a run or ride a bike, for example, if you do it without coming into contact with other people.

What should I expect when crossing the Estonian-Russian border?

Both Estonia and Russia have set restrictions to crossing the border. As a general rule, the Russian borders are closed for entry to foreigners. Individuals who hold a Russian residence permit, or who live in the territory of the European Union and hold the Russian citizenship may enter the country once a month. It is only allowed to enter the country in exceptional cases.

  • When crossing the national border of the Russian Federation, present the results of a PCR test that has been done no more than three calendar days prior to arriving in the Russian Federation. If the PCR test results are not there, you must carry out a Russian Federation PCR research within three calendar days and accept the obligation to stay in self-isolation for 14 days. Payment for the research takes place according to the legal acts of the Russian Federation.
  • It is obligatory to follow the rules of self-isolation in a place of residence (place of stay) (an isolated room to avoid contacts with family members and other persons who are not isolating) if: a) symptoms occur; b) the new PCR corona test shows positive results; c) until getting the negative results of the new PCR coronavirus test.

Transit through Russia to Estonia: transit is prohibited; European Union citizens who are in the country are allowed to leave the country. If there are questions about exceptions regarding the objectives of the trip and repeated border crossings (visiting close relatives living abroad, sports competitions, cultural events etc.), and the possible restrictions sets to leaving the country, we recommend turning to the Russian Embassy for clarification.

National restrictions: there is a mask mandate in force in all regions of Russia (in public transport and indoors). Additionally, there is a requirement to keep a 1.5 meter distance in public spaces.

We point out that Russia can change the conditions to entering the country and staying there. If there are additional questions, we recommend turning to the Russian Embassy in Tallinn.

Additional information is available from the helplines of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: +7(495) 587 8860, +7(499) 244 1977, +7 (499) 244 1988, +7(499) 244 2847.

Also refer to the Reisi Targalt website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to the home page of the Estonian Embassy in Moscow.

Applying for a permit to cross the border in exceptional circumstances

The obligation to prove the need to cross the border, provided the person falls in one of the categories under exceptions, lies with the person themselves. The application may also be submitted, and the circumstances can also be proven by the company or employer.

A prior notification of the Police and Border Guard Board is a prerequisite for crossing the border for people involved in the maintenance, repair, warranty or information and communication technologies, and people involved with labour migration. The notification can be submitted at ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee and will be answered at first chance.

For people who do not qualify for the exceptions specified in the order, it is still possible to get a permit for crossing of border on the basis of a special application which can be sent to ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee.

Additional information regarding:

Crossing the border might take longer than usual.

 

 

Last updated: 3 May 2021