The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Estonian foreign representations continue to work with travel agents and transport companies to find and mediate options for Estonians to return home. While the Estonian border remains open to Estonian citizens and residents, it may soon be logistically impossible to get back to Estonia before the global crisis is over.
If you do not wish to remain abroad, we recommend returning to Estonia as soon as possible. You should first immediately contact a transport company or travel agency to check the availability of regular flights or flights organised by travel agencies. If these options are no longer available and you are stranded in a foreign country, please contact the nearest Estonian embassy or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at +372 5301 9999.
If you are currently abroad and you are able to safely remain in another country for the duration of the crisis, there is no need for you to return to Estonia. However, you must make sure you do not breach the terms of your visa or any other conditions for being in the country in question. Unfortunately, it is very difficult at present to predict when the crisis will pass and what restrictions may (still) be in place in a few months’ time.
You should also be aware that the provision of essential services in your current country may be limited, and there is a risk of loss of jobs and accommodation options.
Important consular information from Estonia’s foreign representations (we also recommend keeping an eye on the websites of representations, which are being continuously updated):
- Lithuania extended the transit window until 13 April at 24.00. Transit is allowed with a police escort only. Since all cases of transit need to be agreed upon in advance with the Lithuanian authorities, please contact the Estonian Embassy in Vilnius immediately, emailing your name, contact telephone number / email address and travel document number to firstname.lastname@example.org. National restrictions were extended until 13 April.
- On 27 March 2020 at 00.00, Russia is suspending both regular and chartered flights to and from foreign airports, except for evacuation flights bringing back Russian citizens from areas affected by the coronavirus or flights organised under special orders by the Russian government. The decision to suspend air traffic was made by the Russian government’s coordination council for containing the spread of the coronavirus.
- Transit through Turkey is no longer possible from 27 March; the last flight from Istanbul to Tallinn was on 26 March.
- Information applicable to all those returning to Estonia: Due to the strict transit rules that have been introduced in certain countries, airlines may require you to provide proof that Estonia is your final destination. Take any such documentary evidence with you (tickets et al.), preferably printed out. If you encounter any problems, let the Ministry of Foreign Affairs know by calling +372 5301 9999.
- Belgium: From 25 March, anyone arriving from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days. You can work from home, but you cannot leave your home. All family members who may have gone to the airport to meet the person arriving from abroad must remain in quarantine (if you are travelling by private car, all passengers must also self-isolate).
- Options for returning through France are becoming increasingly limited: the Paris Orly Airport will be closed on 31 March at 23.59 due to a sharp drop in air traffic: –92% compared to earlier volumes. CDG remains open. Starting from 27 April, train traffic will be limited, the TGV and Intercités lines will run at a 7% capacity.
- In Malta measures on those who have tested positive for the coronavirus and are ignoring the quarantine were made stricter with a €10 000 fine.
- Finland will probably extend the emergency situation regulation in force until 13 April, which means that bans on entry, assembly, and other measures will be extended. Additionally, between 25 March and 19 April, it is not permitted to enter or exit the Uusimaa region, which includes Helsinki. Exceptions apply for those returning home, commuting to work in the area or substantive personal grounds.
- Denmark is considering restricting movement between the different regions of the country to stop domestic travel during the spring holidays, which would spread the virus from urban to rural areas.
- If you are in the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme, you must keep in mind that you cannot stay in the United States beyond the initial 90 days. Therefore, we recommend returning to Europe at the earliest opportunity. In special cases (for example, if you are hospitalised or your flight is cancelled due to weather conditions) you can submit an application to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant of satisfactory departure and extend your stay by 30 days. You can find the contacts for your nearest office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services here: https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/find-a-uscis-office
- Passengers transiting through Thailand must present a “fit to fly” certificate. Unlike Thailand’s previous decision, the certificate does not need to include test results for COVID-19, however, it is crucial that the document is titled “Fit to fly medical certificate“, it is signed by a doctor and it is in English or in the official language of the issuing country.
- A large number of London-Tallinn flights have been cancelled, which means Estonian citizens will have to remain in the United Kingdom for an extended period of time.
- Options for returning from the Philippines are becoming more limited, and the number of flights initially offered has been reduced.
Evacuation flights in cooperation with other European Union states are organised from locations where regular flights are practically no longer possible. However, we cannot guarantee they would take place. The Foreign Ministry continues its efforts to make sure that Estonian citizens and residents stranded in more distant locations without any other options for returning can get on possible evacuation flights. You must keep in mind that none of these flights are free: the cost varies and depends on the number of passengers on each flight.
Additional flights of which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware should regular flights be unavailable:
- Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam (SGN)-Bangkok, Thailand (BKK)-Kaunas. The flight is likely to take place on 31 March.
- AirBaltic added a special flight from Frankfurt to Riga on 30 March for Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian citizens, tickets can be booked only by calling +371 67207771. The ticket costs €190.
- On 27 March, the Finnish Foreign Ministry in cooperation with Finnair is organising flights to Helsinki, please refer to Finnair’s website for more information
- Faro, Portugal-Helsinki
- Funchal, Madeira-Helsinki
- On its 27 March flight from Malaga to Tallinn, Nordica is making a stopover in Brussels at 14.45, and citizens wishing to return to Tallinn can board the plane there.
If you are stranded abroad, cannot safely remain in the country and cannot find any other options for returning, please get in touch by calling +372 5301 9999 (24h).
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia