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Foreign Ministry travel advice: contact your travel agents and airlines for returning to Estonia

15. March 2020 - 17:44

Due to the possibility of new travel restrictions or disruptions to transport links, the Foreign Ministry asks all Estonians currently travelling to return home immediately and contact their travel agents or airlines for doing so. The Foreign Ministry also advises against any foreign travel from Estonia.

“Our priority is the safety of Estonians across the world. To Estonians currently travelling, I have a clear message: our national borders are always open to Estonian citizens, including after 17 March, however, due to travel restrictions and transport links, it may soon prove technically difficult to get here. Please consult your travel agents or airlines immediately and find the best possible route for returning home at the earliest possibility,” Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu urged.

As early as in the coming days, returning to Estonia can become extremely difficult due to disruptions to transport links and border closures.

The Foreign Ministry has contacted the authorities of Poland to ensure the possibility of returning to Estonia by land transport. “We have made requests through official channels and will cooperate with other countries if necessary,” Foreign Minister Reinsalu emphasised.

The call to return home as soon as possible does not apply to Estonian citizens who are permanently residing abroad – if you live abroad, please follow the instructions of local authorities.

If you have questions about travel disruptions or insurance, please call the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority helpline +372 620 1707.

What should I know?

  • Due to potential sudden travel restrictions or disruptions to transport links, we ask all Estonians who are currently travelling to return home at the earliest opportunity.
  • From 17 March, Estonia will introduce temporary border checks and restrict entry into the country. Estonian citizens and residents of Estonia who have a residence permit or right of residence in Estonia, as well as their next of kin will be able to enter the country even after that date. The exemption also applies to foreigners travelling through Estonia to return to their homeland.
  • Starting from 17 March, all people entering Estonia must self-isolate, and the rules for isolation will be drawn up in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior by 16 March.
  • International freight and access to vital services to Estonia will continue after 17 March.
  • Reaching Estonia may become increasingly difficult over time due to disruptions to transport links and border closures. In addition to the countries listed in the Ministry’s press release yesterday (Poland, Denmark, Lithuania, Norway), extensive restrictions on movement will be introduced in the coming days in Latvia and Ukraine, and new measures are likely in Turkey (see information below).
  • If you are commuting often between Estonia and Finland, we recommend contacting your shipping company as well as following updates about ferry traffic on the company’s website or their social media channels. We also urge you to keep in mind that the situation may change quickly and people arriving in Estonia after 17 March must remain in self-isolation for 14 days.
  • If you are currently travelling abroad and decide to remain there, we ask you to follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If you are living in abroad, we ask you to follow the instructions of local authorities.

Please also read the Foreign Ministry’s frequently asked questions section, which is updated on a continuous basis. Travel information (in Estonian) is available on the Reisi Targalt portal, where you can register your trip.

Additional information about important restrictions in Estonia’s neighbouring countries and popular destinations:

In Latvia, as of 17 March at 00.00, international passenger traffic at airports and ports is suspended, as well as international bus and train traffic. Traffic on national borders will also be suspended, except for special cases. The exemptions apply to Latvian citizens and Latvian residence permit holders who have the right to return to Latvia. Latvia is screening all people who are returning from danger areas and are showing symptoms of the disease.

In Lithuania, restrictions due to the quarantine will be applied to people arriving by air, rail, land transport to Lithuania, except for citizens of Lithuania and individuals with a Lithuanian residence permit.

Transit is allowed until midnight 19 March; domestic transport will also be restricted. There are no restrictions on the movement of goods. Yesterday afternoon, Lithuania announced that it would close its borders to foreigners, except for those with a residence permit. Lithuania is reintroducing border checks on the internal borders of the EU, that is, with Poland and Latvia, for ten days, and an entry ban for foreigners is being considered. There are no restrictions for foreigners leaving the country.

With Poland, only the Kalvarija–Budzisko border crossing point remains open. All passengers arriving in Lithuania by plane are subject to registration and medical screening. All passengers arriving by land and sea transport must undergo medical screening.

At midnight, Poland reintroduced border checks at all border crossing points and subsequently foreign nationals cannot enter Poland. It is also not allowed for citizens to enter Poland for transit purposes in order to return to Estonia. International air and train traffic will be suspended as of the same time. There are no restrictions on international freight; a list of border crossing points open to crossing is available on the website of the Estonian Embassy (in Estonian). At midnight before Sunday, all commercial flights are suspended.

The government of Ukraine is already taking preventive measures to contain the spread of the virus; starting from Monday, restrictions are in place for the entry of foreigners into the country. Starting from 17 March, entering and exiting Ukraine is allowed only through 107 land border crossing points. At midnight before Sunday, Ukraine suspended train traffic with Poland and from midnight on 17 March, Ukraine will also suspend flights.

Turkey has suspended air traffic with the following countries: Azerbaijan, Austria, Belgium, China, Spain, the Netherlands, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Italy, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Norway, France, Sweden, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Denmark. Air connections with other European countries, including Estonia, are still open; however, you must be aware that the connections may be suspended at very short notice. For example, several countries between Turkey and Estonia have prohibited entry for non-resident foreigners by now – on 17 March, Latvia is suspending passenger traffic through Riga Airport, and the Polish airline LOT suspended all international flights on 15 March.

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