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Crossing the Estonian border

General rules

Who should I contact if I want to change the contact details on the confirmation of compliance with movement restriction?

If a person wishes the Police and Border Guard Board (PBGB) to review the imposition of the restriction of movement, or wishes to change the contact details on the confirmation sheet, they must contact the PBGB. To this end, please send the following to ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee:

  • your contact details (first and last name, personal identification code, telephone number, address)
  • time and place of border crossing
  • explanation (e.g. justification for an exemption)

What does restriction of freedom of movement mean?

If you have tested positive for corona virus you will be subject to restrictions on movement and you may not leave your place of residence from when you are diagnosed with the coronavirus until you have fully recovered. You may only leave if your home is told to do so by a healthcare worker or a police officer or for essential reasons if you are life or health are in danger. The families of people who have tested positive are subject to the same restrictions on movement.

Exceptional cases when it is permitted to leave the home if there are no signs of illness are:

  • if a member of the family is a healthcare worker or providing other services that are vital in the emergency
  • to get essential supplies in the immediate local area when there is no other way of getting them. In this case all restrictions on movement and public spaces must be followed
  • if there has been no contact at all within the home with the person who has been diagnosed with coronavirus
  • to spend time outdoors if all the earlier restrictions on movement in public spaces are followed

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.

I bought a puppy from a neighbouring country. Is it possible that the seller of the puppy brings the animal to the border crossing point of the neighbouring country and I pick it up at the Estonian border?

No, it is not possible to organise the receipt of the animal this way, as the officials of the Police and Border Guard Board are not allowed to bring any animals across the border. You will therefore have to find another solution or wait for the movement restrictions to be lifted.

The Police and Border Guard Board will allow you to leave Estonia, in case you decide to go to the neighbouring country to get the animal. However, entry into another country may be subject to restrictions. If necessary, contact the border guard of the neighbouring country and apply for a special permit to enter the country. You can also ask a foreign embassy or a foreign representation for further information on entry conditions and applying for a special permit.

If the seller of the animal wishes to come to Estonia, they must apply for a special permit to enter Estonia from the Police and Border Guard Board. You can find more information on the website https://www.politsei.ee/en/instructions/emergency-situation

Who is allowed to enter Estonia?

People who are allowed to enter Estonia:

  • All who hold Estonian citizenship, have a residence permit or a right of residence in Estonia, or a permanent residence in Estonia according to the population register, regardless of whether they have any signs of disease 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 have no symptoms of disease and their family members who have no symptoms of disease.

  • All 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 if they show no symptoms of disease.

  • Foreign nationals from third countries who arrive in Estonia for work or study if they show no signs of disease.

Self-isolation is mandatory for everyone showing symptoms.

Self-isolation for individuals without any symptoms depends on the country from which they departed or countries through which they transited. People arriving to 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 not earlier than 72 hours before they arrive in Estonia, and the second test can then be done in Estonia not earlier than on the sixth day after the first test. The self-isolation can be terminated early 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 when another test is done no earlier than 6 days after the first test and both of which must be negative. The period of 6 days will be calculated from the day following the first test.

People who have done their first test in another country (i.e. not at the border) must call to the call centre for people crossing the border 678 0000 (Monday to Friday 9pm to 5pm).

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, and they come from a country or transit through a country that is not listed on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or is listed with 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 10 of their stay in Estonia,

  • employees may not take up employment and students may not begin their studies during the first 1 days after arrival in Estonia,

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

As an exception, the following persons who do not show any signs of illness may enter Estonia:

  • employees at 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 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 performance 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 is an Estonian national, holder of an Estonian residence permit or the right of residence.

  • 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. By doing so, the crossing of the border will be faster, and they do not have to wait in order to fill in a paper declaration.

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.

Will the border control still take place for small vessels at the harbour?

The border control shall not be carried out in respect of persons on pleasure boats entering the port of a Member State or leaving the port of a Member State and may enter a port that is not a border point. However, according to the assessment of the risks of illegal immigration, inspection and/or physical examination of pleasure boats can be carried out. In particular, if the coastline of third countries is located in the immediate vicinity of the territory of a Member State.

When entering Estonia, it is important to observe the requirements regarding entry into the country and in which case self-isolation is compulsory. The relevant information is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://vm.ee/et/teave-riikide-ja-liikumispiirangute-kohta-eestisse-saabujatele and Police and Border Guard Board home page: https://www.politsei.ee/et/juhend/eriolukord. Information regarding self-isolation obligation when arriving at another country is available on the web sites of these states and embassies.

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.

 

Restriction on freedom of movement 

What does restriction of freedom of movement mean?

If you have tested positive for corona virus you will be subject to restrictions on movement and you may not leave your place of residence from when you are diagnosed with the coronavirus until you have fully recovered. You may only leave if your home is told to do so by a healthcare worker or a police officer or for essential reasons if you are life or health are in danger. The families of people who have tested positive are subject to the same restrictions on movement.

Exceptional cases when it is permitted to leave the home if there are no signs of illness are:

  • if a member of the family is a healthcare worker or providing other services that are vital in the emergency
  • to get essential supplies in the immediate local area when there is no other way of getting them. In this case all restrictions on movement and public spaces must be followed
  • if there has been no contact at all within the home with the person who has been diagnosed with coronavirus
  • to spend time outdoors if all the earlier restrictions on movement in public spaces are followed

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.

From 1 January, when travelling to Estonia from the United Kingdom of Great-Britain and Northern Ireland, a SARS-CoV-2 test must be carried out at least 72 hours before the start of the trip or immediately after arrival. The obligation to take the test does not extend to children under 12 years of age. After arrival, people must remain in their residence or permanent place of stay. To reduce the time of self-isolation, the second test must be performed no earlier than on the sixth day after the first test results are returned. If both tests come back negative, the obligation to self-isolate ends. After the first negative test result, it is not possible to fulfil essential work obligations. However, it is possible to attend an unavoidable family event if the first test is negative. Children under the age of 12 who want to avoid staying in self-isolation have to also do a test.

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 is the confirmation of restriction on freedom of movement?

The restriction observation on freedom of movement confirmation or obligation to self-isolate is a document that a person entering Estonia signs at the border. The signature is confirmation that the person is:

  • aware of the obligation to restrict their freedom of movement
  • obligated to stay at their residence or place of stay for 10 calendar days.

The person signing the document also includes their personal and contact information, as well as the address of the residence or place of stay. If the address provided at the border changes during the obligation to not leave that address, the Police and Border Control should be notified by e-mail at: ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee

The restriction of freedom of movement (self-isolation) imposed by the Order of the Government of the Republic applies regardless of whether the confirmation document was signed upon arrival in Estonia.

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.

Is it necessary also to avoid contacts with family members while in self-isolation?

The purpose of self-isolation is to prevent possible contacts with other people to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Therefore, a person who has been in close contact with an infected person or a person who has returned from at-risk country should maintain distance with family members.

During the self-isolation period:

  1. Use the opportunities for remote work and learning.

  2. Do not leave your home or place of residence, except (a) on instructions from a health care worker or police officer (b) on instructions of a health care worker to receive health care services or in the event of an emergency that threatens life or health, (c) to obtain the necessary items (d) avoiding any contacts with other people while outdoors (park, forest, etc.).

  3. Follow health safety requirements: (a) wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water and disinfect, if necessary; taking into account that the virus can spread from contaminated objects (b) avoid touching the face, eyes, mouth and nose with your hands; (c) air the rooms regularly (at least twice a day, at least 15 minutes at a time) (d) cover nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing (the used tissue should be thrown away immediately, and then wash your hands).

  4. If you need to go to a public place in order to purchase the necessary items, wear a mask.

  5. If you or someone in your household develops any symptoms of the disease, then a) contact your family physician or family physician hotline at 1220 as soon as possible; b) provide information whether you have been in close contact with a person infected with COVID-19, or you have returned from an at-risk country c) describe your health status to the family physician and follow the physician´s instructions.

If your health suddenly deteriorates, call the emergency number 112. NB! When making the phone call, please provide information of your contact with an infected person. If you display any symptoms, please do not go to the emergency department or to the family physician yourself, request for treatment advice and instructions via telephone.

 

Last updated: 18 September 2020