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Travelling abroad from Estonia

 

Who is allowed to cross the border?

Crossing the state border to enter into Estonia is allowed to a person who has Estonian citizenship, an Estonian residence permit or a right of residency, or whose permanent place of residence is in Estonia according to the population register.

The border can be crossed with an EU citizen’s right of stay or a visa only if the person is asymptomatic and is:

  • a worker at a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office, or their family member, or a foreigner arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation;
  • a person who is directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials;
  • a person offering health care services or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation.
  • Exceptionally, the Police and Border Guard Board may give permission for crossing the border to enter into Estonia to a foreigner:
  • who is asymptomatic and whose child or parent or spouse is an Estonian citizen or a person holding an Estonian residence permit or right of residency. Other connected persons, i.e. grandmother, aunt or life partner are not covered by the exception;
  • who is asymptomatic and in whose case permitting entry into the country is substantiated on the basis of a special application, i.e. persons who are assisting travel groups and are directly involved in providing the service of passenger transportation.
  • persons who are allowed to cross the state border with the goal of reaching their home country (transit).
  • See more in order no 78 of the Government from March 15, 2020 (https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/517032020004/consolide).

Can I still travel abroad by bus if needed?

We strongly advise you against going abroad. If travelling abroad is absolutely essential, please note that when travelling abroad by bus, you have to be in the same enclosed space with strangers for several hours, which means that there are favourable conditions for the spread of droplet infection through the air. When a person returns to the country, then as of March 17, all the people entereing Estonia will need to remain in self-isolation at home.

We encourage those travellers who wish to leave or have to do so to return quickly. At a later stage, this may no longer be possible as the situation is changing rapidly. If you are confident that you will be able to deal with the crisis abroad, follow the instructions of the local authorities. Be sure to check the validity of your visa or other basis for stay.

If the host country has closed its borders and/or international transportation is not working, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at konsul[at]mfa[dot]ee (include your personal details and the description of the problem) or the Estonian Embassy so that we can give you further guidelines.

What to consider when travelling with a pet?

Firstly, consider that travelling in not recommended right now. Many countries have set restrictions to crossing their border due to the spread of the coronavirus. Therefore, before going on a trip with a pet, find out what conditions currently apply in the country of destination and the transit country or countries.

Information on travel restrictions from the web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

More information on travelling with a pet from the web page of the Veterinary and Food Board.

I need to go to Sweden. Is it possible?

Sweden has not established any restrictions, and is not requesting additional entry documents from the European Union citizens. There is no quarantine requirement. Information about shipping routes: www.tallink.ee

If you need to transit another country (for example, Finland) when travelling to Sweden, you must observe the rules for transit in Finland.

I need to go to Norway. Is it possible?

You are allowed to enter Norway, if you are:

  • A citizen of the European Economic Area (including Estonia) and their family members who have a residence permit in Norway.
  • A citizen of the European Economic Area (including Estonia) who works in Norway or who are starting work in Norway. You must be ready to show your employment contract or some other relevant document as proof.
  • A service provider (independent contractors and seconded workers) of European Economic Area nationals who have started or start work in Norway.
  • A foreigner national who will stay at the airport transit zone before leaving Norway.

Additional information: G-09/2020 – Revised circular relating to Entry into force of the Regulations relating to rejection etc. of foreign nationals out of concern for public health. Additional information can be found at the home page of the Estonian embassy: https://oslo.mfa.ee/et/corona-viirus/

When arriving in Norway, general 14-day quarantine requirement applies (except for transit passengers).

May I cross the border?

It is not advised to travel abroad right now but it is not forbidden. Definitely weigh the necessity of the trip. Travelling for tourism is not sensible.

If the trip is urgent, consider the following.

  • Before going abroad get to know the conditions for entering the country of destination: find out whether you will be allowed into the country. If in doubt, contact the Border Guard of the destination country.
  • If you have to go through any other countries to reach your destination, find out the transit rules of those countries as well.
  • It is not possible to use the special flights that are bringing Estonian residents home for travelling abroad.
  • Take into account that in order to limit the spread of the corona virus, the states can unexpectedly restrict the conditions for entering their country and moving around there. You can get stuck in quarantine abroad and getting home could be very complicated, sometimes impossible.

Will ships continue to sail between Estonia and Finland or Estonia and Sweden?

Some sailings will continue, but you should check with the ship operator whether a specific sailing will happen. It must be remembered that border controls will be in place in the port from 17 March so a travel document will certainly be needed, and that there will be restrictions on entry to the country.

Can I travel from Estonia to Russia after March 18? Which changes were introduced March 30?

As of March 18, at 00:00, the Russian borders were closed to citizens of other states and to stateless persons. The border may be crossed only by the following persons, if they show no symptoms of the disease:

  • Employees of diplomatic and consular representations, who reside in Russia, and their family members;
  • truck drivers, involved in international freight transportation;
  • crew members of airlines and shipping companies;
  • railroad crew members involved in international railway transport;
  • members of official delegations;
  • persons holding diplomatic or service visas, or persons with a regular visa due to the event of death of a close relative;
  • persons, who permanently reside in the Russian Federation;

Restrictions in force as of March 30:

  • foreign nationals (including Estonian citizens and residents) can leave Russia;
  • Russian citizens residing in Estonia are allowed to return to Russia, but they can only come back to Estonia after Russia has lifted their restrictions.
  • Russian citizens and Russian residents whose permanent place of residence is in Russia, are allowed to return to their place of residence.
  • no new changes were implemented regarding international freight transport.

For additional information about crossing the Russian border, please contact the information hotlines of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: +7(495) 587 88 60, +7(499) 244 19 77, +7 (499) 244 19 88, +7(499) 244 28 47.

I want to go on a holiday. Can I do this right now? Should I wait?

At this moment, it is not possible to travel for a holiday outside Estonia.

There is still a very high probability that flights may be cancelled, there is no intercity transport, and restaurants, accommodation places, tourism sights, and beaches are closed. Possible quarantine rules must also be considered.

In Estonia, the quarantine requirement of 14 days applies, i.e. when arriving back from a holiday or a trip, you must remain in quarantine in Estonia for 14 days.

Before booking a trip, you should check the travel information from the website ReisiTargalt, and from the websites of authorities of your country of destination. If you have decided to buy a plane ticket or a package holiday, you should definitely consider the terms of cancellation, as your trip might be cancelled due to restrictions in place.

Is it allowed to go to from Estonia to a store in Latvia? Do I have to stay in isolation for 14 days upon returning?

Yes, you may go, provided that you are healthy and you have not been given the obligation to stay in isolation within the past 14 days. You do not need to stay in isolation upon returning to Estonia.

 

Working abroad

If an Estonian resident returns home from working in another country, they need to stay at home based on current restrictions. Does the Police and Border Guard Board have the right to prevent them from leaving the country again within 14-day period?

The following requirements apply when returning from abroad.

  • If an Estonian resident has returned from working abroad (except from Finland, Latvia or Lithuania), they are obliged to stay at home for 14 days.
  • If and Estonian resident leaves the country now (except to Finland, Latvia or Lithuania) and returns, even if this happens on the same day, they must also stay at home for 14 days.
  • The requirement to stay at home for 14 days does not apply to Estonian residents who work in Finland. See the order at https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/527032020003/consolide

The obligation to stay at home means that a person must remain at their place of residence, or, for instance, in a hotel, for 14 days. If possible, social contacts must be avoided.

Those who do not adhere to these obligations can be issued a penalty payment but hopefully this will not be necessary.

The restriction on movement is necessary as it helps to keep the virus from spreading.

You can find more information on the requirement to stay at home from the order of the person in charge of the emergency situation.

Can I travel from Estonia to Finland?

This depends on whether you are among the persons to whom Finland currently allows this.

People still allowed to enter Finland:

  1. Estonian citizens with a right of residence registered in Finland;
  2. People who work in Finland, who have a permanent employment contract and a special permit obtained by their employer that has to be presented at the border;
  3. People studying in Finland;
  4. Estonian citizens who have a member of family living in Finland, in cases where the visit is unavoidably necessary.

Before travelling see also additional information regarding derogations and special permits is available here: https://tem.fi/artikkeli/-/asset_publisher/linjaus-valttamattomien-tyotehtavien-maahantulosta-valmistunut and instructions for crossing the border: https://www.raja.fi/ajankohtaista/ohjeet_rajanylitykseen The burden of proof at the border lies with the person travelling, the Finnish border authority will make the final decision regarding the entrance to the country. Please also view the full list of derogations
https://www.raja.fi/ajankohtaista/ohjeet_rajanylitykseen

A general requirement to remain in self-isolation for 14 days applies to all persons arriving in Finland.

More information on sea and air travel

  • Information on travel on the ships of Tallink, Viking LIne and Eckerö Line can be found on their web pages.

Finnair is planning to arrange flights between Tallinn and Helsinki based on demand - for more information we recommend contacting Finnair.

Freight transport with Finland continues in both directions, as well as passenger transport from Helsinki to Tallinn.

I need to go to a foreign country, but not for a holiday but for work purposes or a vist. Can I travel?

Estonian borders are open. Before you go to a foreign country, check the conditions of entry to the country of destination and make sure you are granted entrance. If you are not certain, contact the border guard services of your country of destination. If you must travel through another country in transit before reaching your destination, please also check the transit conditions of that country.

We recommend you to consider your need to travel very carefully, and do it only if it is urgent.

Special flights organised to bring citizens back home cannot be used to travel abroad.

What will the opening of the Latvian and Lithuanian border mean?

As of May 15, Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian national border may be crossed by persons:

  • who have no symptoms.
  • who have either Estonian, Latvian, or Lithuanian citizenship, residence permit or right of residence or place of permanent residence registered in Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania according to the Population Register.

Local orders and requirements resulting from the spread of the virus must be followed. Mandatory isolation is not required.

When returning to Estonia through Latvia or Lithuania, the requirement of self-isolation for 14 days remains in force.

Which conditions are in force based on the decision of the Finnish Government to allow work-related travel as of May 14?

The Finnish Government made a formal decision on May 7, regarding the re-establishment of employment-related travel between the Schengen countries and Finland. The decision will come into force on 14 May.

  • Crossing the border from Estonia Finland is permitted on the basis of employment relationship or carrying out work-related tasks, as well as for unavoidable family reasons, such as meeting a close relative, funeral, wedding, illness.

  • Until 13 May only entry of essential workers is allowed to Finland (health care workers, rescue workers, caregivers to the elderly, transport workers, etc.). However, from 14 May, it is no longer necessary to prove the essential nature of work – anybody who has employment or work in Finland can enter Finland.

  • crossing the border is also allowed for people studying in Finland.

  • Border controls will continue at land borders, ports, and airports where the reason for entry is determined. Therefore, a passenger must be able to provide justification for the journey at the border. Which kind of documents are sufficient to justify the trip will be decided by the Finnish Border Guard who will also make a final decision on admission to the country.

  • A person entering Finland must stay in quarantine-like conditions for 14 days. This means that movement is allowed between the workplace and the place of residence, but unnecessary movements and contacts should be avoided. The quarantine does not have to be observed by first responders and rescue workers, border guards and customs officers. But they should observe Finland's official guidelines, hygiene requirements, safe distances and avoid physical contacts in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

  • Social welfare workers and health care workers should make arrangements for the organisation of their work with the employer. The employer must assess the risk of infection and, if necessary, change the work tasks for 14 days from arrival in the country in order to ensure the safety of clients and patients and the safety of the working environment.

All other temporary restrictions of movement across the border established on 19 March (e.g. border control at border crossing points, limiting border traffic to tourists etc.) are in force until June 14.

The Finnish Border Guard instructions are available here: https://www.raja.fi/ajankohtaista/ohjeet_rajanylitykseen.

The translation provided by the Finnish Embassy in Tallinn of the Border Guard Regulations:

GUIDELINES OF THE BORDER GUARD BOARD REGARDING THE BORDER MOVEMENT BASED ON THE DECISION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF FINLAND OF 07.05.2020

The Finnish Government decided to continue the control of internal borders and restrict the border movement until 14.06.2020. The Border Guard Board instructions provide passengers with information about the changes to the permitted border movement which will be in force until 14.05.2020.

Permitted at internal borders:

  • return movement to Finland
  • return or transit movement to other EU and Schengen countries
  • work-related travel
  • other essential movement

Permitted at external borders:

  • return movement across the border to Finland
  • return or transit movement across the border to other EU and Schengen countries
  • departure from a third-country national
  • other essential movement

According to Article 9 of the Finnish Constitution, Finnish citizens have the right to return to Finland, and everyone has the right to leave the country. Limitations on this right to leave the country may be restricted by law, if they are necessary for the purpose of safeguarding legal proceedings or for the enforcement of penalties or for the fulfilment of the duty of national defence.

MOVEMENT AT INTERNAL BORDERS

The Finnish border guards allow movement at internal borders, i.e. between Finland and another Schengen country:

  1. Return to Finland a) Finnish citizens and their family members b) EU and Schengen nationals and their family members residing in Finland c) third-country nationals residing in Finland on the basis of a residence permit

  2. Return or transit movement to other EU and Schengen countries a) Citizens of other EU and Schengen countries and their family members b) Citizens of a third country residing in another EU or Schengen country on the basis of a residence permit

  3. Movement based on employment and other essential movement

a) employment related movement based on employment relationships and performance of work-related tasks b) diplomats, personnel of international organisations, military and assistance organizations in the performance of their tasks c) persons studying in Finland d) persons arriving to Finland based on the residence permit or right of residence (including citizens of the EU/Schengen country registered with the right of residence) e) people travelling due to an unavoidable family obligation (e.g. meeting with a close relative, funeral, wedding, cases of illness) f) persons who need international protection or persons travelling for an humanitarian reasons g) other unavoidable and justified movement (e.g. urgent personal reasons, reasons related to the Sami way of life and culture)

In addition to movement across the internal borders of Finland and Sweden, and external border of Finland and Norway, movement across the border is also allowed for fishing purposes without landing on the territory of another country.

According to Article 9 of the Finnish Constitution, Finnish citizens have the right to return to Finland, everyone has the right to leave the country. Limitations on this right to leave the country may be restricted by law, if they are necessary for the purpose of safeguarding legal proceedings or for the enforcement of penalties or for the fulfilment of the duty of national defence.

In transportation of cargo, international freight transport is permitted in addition to chartered cargo from businesses to clients.

The purpose and prerequisites of labour migration based on employment relationships and work-related tasks are explained during the border control process. A person who travels on the basis of labour migration may be asked for documents to certify the right of entry to the country. Such documents are, for example, evidence of employment relationships and tasks.

Third-country nationals who arrive in another Schengen country shall be registered on the basis of special instructions.

The person who arrives in the country must avoid contacts and stay in quarantine-like conditions within 14 days. This means that they are allowed to travel between their place of work and home, and for other unavoidable reasons.

This principle does not apply to first responders and rescue personnel or the staff of the Border Guard and Customs Board. However, they must observe the general instructions for public officials regarding hygiene requirements, keeping distances and avoiding close contacts to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In case of any respiratory symptoms, health care services must be immediately contacted.

The real-time instructions of Health Board officials are distributed when entering the country.

 

Last updated: 19 May 2020