Late last night, to prevent the spread of the corona virus, the Finnish government decided to stop cross-border commuting for Estonians working in Finland but permanently residing in Estonia. The ban will take effect from midnight (00.00) on Sunday 22 March.
This means that those Estonians currently working in Finland, who have not registered their right to residence in Finland (i.e. do not have a permanent address of residence in Finland), are no longer able to enter the country as of this Sunday. Only Finnish nationals as well as persons with permanent address of residence in Finland are able to enter Finland and a 14-day self-isolation requirement is applied to them upon entry.
All those Estonians who work in Finland but permanently reside in Estonia should decide within today and tomorrow, whether to go to Finland and stay there continuing to work until the regulations are changed, or to stay in Estonia. In the latter case, they have no possibility to travel to Finland until the current restrictions will be changed, which can take time. We urge everyone affected by this ban, to make their decisions based on what is best for the wellbeing and health of themselves and others, and discuss their options with their employers.
Until 23.59 Saturday 21 March, the instructions regarding border crossing given by the Finnish authorities on Wednesday 18 March apply, whereby those workers who have not registered their permanent address of residence in Finland, can enter Finland, provided they have and can present a valid employment contract in Finland. Those workers will not also be subjected to a 14-day self-isolation requirement upon entry to Finland.
From the evening of 18 March, for those entering Estonia, the 14-day isolation requirement will not apply to those permanently residing in Estonia but working in Finland, provided they do not display any symptoms.
The new restriction on travel by the Finnish authorities affects approximately 20, 000 permanent residents of Estonia working in Finland.
According to present information, those Estonian citizens and permanent residents of Estonia travelling back to Estonia, can continue to return to Estonia via Finland also after this Sunday. Travelling in transit from international airports and ports via Finland is allowed. For example, a person travelling via Vantaa airport or the port of Turku can freely and independently travel to the port of Helsinki to catch a ship to Tallinn. No extra documents are required by the Finnish authorities; however, one should be prepared to show the airline representative at their country of departure a document (for example, a ferry ticket) to prove that the end destination of travel is Estonia.
The Estonian government, Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Estonian Embassy in Helsinki are in constant communication with their Finnish colleagues and as soon as there are any new details made available, will make it available.
With questions regarding ferry tickets, we recommend turning to the respective shipping companies. At present, the shipping company Tallink continues to operate between Estonia and Finland according to changed Schedule, until this week-end Tallink’s shuttle vessel Megastar will make an extra trip per day and the last departure from Helsinki is at 23.00. We urge all passengers to check that they have the right to enter the Republic of Estonia before purchasing a ticket. For more information, please visit the websites of shipping companies Tallink, Eckerö Line or Viking Line.
For more information, please visit the website of the Finnish Boarder Guard at https://www.raja.fi/ajankohtaista/ohjeet_rajanylitykseen
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia