Finland closing border from midnight, halting regular travel from Estonia

Tallinn-Helsinki ferry (picture is illustrative).
Tallinn-Helsinki ferry (picture is illustrative). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Finland is imposing border controls at midnight tonight as part of its coronavirus measures, meaning regular shuttle travel between it and Estonia is halted for the time being, according to a foreign ministry press release.

Starting from tomorrow, Finland will only grant entry to Finnish citizens and those with a registered right of residence in Finland. All others, including Estonians who go to Finland to work but are not in this category, will not be allowed into the country in line with the decision of the government of Finland.

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said: "You must be aware that everyone wishing to go to Finland can still do so today, however, starting from tomorrow, only Finnish citizens and those with a registered right of residence in Finland are admitted. For example, if an Estonian citizen is working in Finland but has no registered right of residence there, starting from tomorrow, they will not be allowed to enter Finland. Those with a registered right of residence must keep in mind that as of tomorrow, the obligation to self-isolate applies to everyone arriving in Finland."

The international transport of goods between Estonia and Finland will continue and it is exempt from restrictions on movement, however, you must be aware of delays and have patience. More information is available on the websites of Finnish authorities (Border Guard and government).

"The Finnish Border Guard will be able to allow border crossings for work only on substantial grounds, for example, for ensuring the movement of goods, or providing vital services," Estonian foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu said Tuesday evening.

It also means that anyone entering Finland from March 19 will be subject to a 14-day quarantine period. This measure was already in place in Estonia from March 17.

Many people commute regularly to Finland from Estonia to work, and they must make a decision which side of the Gulf of Finland to stay on.

If you have plane tickets to Estonia from a more distant location (and a right to enter Estnonia) and wish to travel through Finland, as of now, the citizens of Estonia and other European Union member states can transit through Finland. More details about the practical circumstances of transit after border closures are currently being clarified.

Starting from March 19, Sweden will also suspend non-essential entries into the country; however, this does not apply to citizens of the European Union.

Therefore, if you are returning from a more distant location, you can travel through Sweden, but keep in mind tat regular ferry traffic between Stockholm and Tallinn has been suspended.

You can come to Estonia from Stockholm with a special Tallink ship, from Kapellskär to Paldiski or with a Tallink or Viking Line ship from Stockholm to Turku and then to Tallinn.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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