Interior ministry announces temporary border control rules ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Border control.
Border control. Source: Sergei Stepanov

Minister of the Interior Mart Helme (EKRE) on Sunday explained the new rules which will be introduced when temporary border controls are applied on Tuesday, March 17. Only Estonian citizens or residence permit holders will be allowed to enter.

The government will reintroduce border controls temporarily on all state borders to try and stop the spread of coronavirus.

In addition to travel document checks, information will be collected on the traveller's journey, health and possible exposure to the infection. A valid identity card is required upon border crossing.

International cargo, including vehicles providing food and medical supplies transportation can enter the country. Similarly, persons providing vital services, such as fuel suppliers.

Foreigners are allowed to transit Estonia on their way to their home country if they have no symptoms of COVID-19.

Foreigners working for a short time in Estonia or visiting as a tourist with a visa or with visa-free entry will not be allowed to enter Estonia after March 17. In case they are already in Estonia, they can remain here or leave the country, if they wish so.

The term isolation means that the person must remain indoors for 14 days with no contact with other people. If there are other people staying in the same premises, also they need to remain in isolation. In case of serious symptoms, people will be hospitalised.

"I suggest that isolated people communicate with their friends and acquaintances by phone or online and ask them to bring the necessary goods. It is important to remember that the person bringing the goods must not have any physical contact with the people in isolation. The situation is inconvenient but I ask for people's understanding. It is important to isolate people with symptoms as this way we can reduce the possibility of further infections," Helme said.

Rules of entry to Estonia from March 17, 2020:

Estonia can be entered by Estonian citizens and residents, including people with the temporary residence permit or right of residence:

  • Estonian citizens who are holders of Estonian passport;
  • Estonian citizens who are holders of Estonian ID card;
  • Citizens of the EU who are holders of the Estonian ID card;
  • People who are holders of the Estonian alien's passport (so-called grey passport);
  • Foreign citizens who have the Estonian residence card.

For instance, people:

  • Who study at an Estonian vocational or higher education institution
  • Who work in Estonia
  • Who are married to an Estonian citizen or resident
  • Who have a company in Estonia.

Estonia cannot be entered by people who:

  • Come to Estonia visa-free, with a Schengen visa or Estonian visa:
  1. For short-time work;
  2. For a tourist trip, for instance, to see the Old Town in Tallinn;
  3. To visit relatives or acquaintances.

Estonia may be entered only by foreigners without symptoms who:

  • Are directly related with the transport of goods and raw materials, for instance, drivers and loaders;
  • Provide healthcare services and other services needed for the solution of the emergency situation;
  • Are employees of foreign diplomatic representations and consular posts or their family members or foreigners who come to Estonia in connection with international military cooperation.

As an exception, the Police and Border Guard Board may allow foreigners without symptoms into Estonia:

  • Who are direct descendants (i.e. children and their children) or ascendants (parents and their parents) or the spouse of an Estonian citizen or a person who is a holder of an Estonian ID card or residence card;
  • In case the entry into the state is justified on account of exceptional circumstances, for instance, in case a mother with a visa and her child are located in different countries.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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