Finland is set to relax border crossing rules from Monday, July 26, harmonizing the requirements valid for foreigners arriving for work and for tourists, and also allowing entry for cruise passengers if they produce proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.
According to the decisions of the Finnish government and the Finnish health authority, border controls between Finland, the European Union and Schengen area countries will be abolished.
It will then be possible to travel freely, for work or tourism, from Estonia to Finland if the requirements set by the Finnish health authority are met, shipping company Tallink said on Thursday.
To travel, the passenger will need a vaccination certificate; a document proving recovery from COVID-19 in the last six months; or a COVID test certificate with a negative result. The requirement to provide one of the three documents does not apply to passengers under the age of 15.
Previously only people who had been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months were allowed to enter Finland.
To unvaccinated people the requirement to take a coronavirus test both on entry and three to five days after the first test will continue to apply. If they leave the country in the meantime, they do not have to take a second test.
Piret Murk-Dubout, member of the management board of Tallink, explained to ERR that as of Monday, Finland will no longer apply different requirements to people traveling for work and those on a holiday trip.
"The novelty is that cruise tourists will also be able to enter Finland with a negative test - a possibility that did not exist for holiday visitors earlier. And if the test is no more than 72 hours old, it is possible to visit Finland with one negative test, spend a day in Finland, return to the ship in the evening and head home," said Murk-Dubout.
She welcomed Finland's decision and stressed the importance of clear information in people's travel decisions.
"We welcome it that the Finnish state no longer distinguishes between business trips and holiday trips, and there is one set of requirements. This can then be clearly followed," the board member of Tallink Grupp said.
Tallink recommends that travelers fill in a Finentry form before entering Finland, which significantly speeds up the entry process. If a passenger is about to stay in Finland for more than 72 hours and does not have a vaccination certificate, proof of recovery from COVID-19, or has only had one injection, it is mandatory for the passenger to take a coronavirus test not earlier than 72 hours after arrival.
The Tallink executive also emphasized that the company has made testing available on the ships bound for Finland and at the port in Sweden.
Editor: Helen Wright