More than 2,650 people – most of the people that were abroad and wanted to return to Estonia – have done so by now. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware of 75 more Estonian residents that want to return as soon as possible.
Travel options are extremely limited. Most regular flights have been cancelled; a few special charter flights remain that have been organised by EU member states.Registration and tickets are required for these special charter flights.
Travellers in transit should consider any restrictions imposed by our neighbouring countries, which may change at short notice.
According to current information:
• As of 2 April, no updates have been received on restrictions in Finland, as the Finnish government and parliament have not adopted relevant decisions yet. According to the current information from the Finnish authorities, Finland may stop maritime passenger traffic to Finland in the next few days. This is not expected to concern cargo transport and passengers travelling from Finland to Estonia. As the decision is pending, the details and exact effective dates are still unknown; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is monitoring the decisions of the Finnish government. For any questions concerning ferry traffic, please contact the ferry operator.
• Until any new restrictions are published and take effect, the border crossing rules in Finland remain unchanged: if an Estonian or third country citizen with a valid residence permit in Estonia can only travel via Helsinki to reach Estonia, the Finnish border guard will not prevent such travel. Airlines have been informed of this. Airlines may refuse to carry passengers that may endanger their own or other people’s health or safety. Like the checks in place at Helsinki Airport, additional checks are also being carried out at the ports from the morning of 2 April: everyone arriving in Finland from abroad is asked to fill in a questionnaire before crossing the border; this is checked by a border guard official. Passengers arriving at a port are divided into two groups – passengers with respiratory tract infection symptoms are directed to healthcare personnel who will test them for the coronavirus. These passengers are not allowed to use public transport and they must remain in quarantine for two weeks upon returning home or arriving at their place of stay. Restrictions on crossing the borders of the Uusimaa region in Finland remain in force until 19 April. Uusimaa may be entered in transit (e.g. from the port of Turku to Helsinki), but please have a ferry ticket to Estonia to prove that Estonia is your final destination.
• The Lithuanian government decided to end passenger transport by air and ferry from 4 April, with the only exception being the ferry between Kiel and Klaipeda. Travellers and vehicles can move on this route only with permission from the Lithuanian Minister of the Interior. The only option for entering Lithuania by car is via the Kalvarija-Budzisko and Saločiai-Grenctāle border crossing points. We cannot recommend that Estonians transit through Lithuania, as it is only allowed on special permits with a police escort. Freight transport will continue.
• From 1 April, Poland has introduced stricter domestic restrictions on movements. These restrictions do not concern international freight transport.
• Russia closed its borders on 30 March to travellers entering and leaving, subject to exceptions. Citizens of the Russian Federation are allowed to enter but not leave Russia. The same applies to people with dual citizenship. People entering Russia must undergo 14 days of self-isolation. EU citizens are allowed to leave Russia.
• Increasing restrictions on movement are imposed in various regions of Russia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has information on new restrictions in the following countries:
· Indonesia will prohibit foreigners from entering the country, including in transit, in the near future (no date has been set). Domestic flights have been suspended.
· Croatia requires foreigners to register with the police.
· TAP has stopped all regular flights from and to Portugal. Madeira has imposed a weekly limit on entries to the island.
· All international passenger flights to and from Myanmar have been stopped from 23.59 on 30 March to 23.59 on 13 April.
· Cuba announced on 31 March that it has stopped international passenger flights, and all ships belonging to other countries must leave Cuban waters.
· New Zealand announced today, 2 April, that foreigners are allowed to use public transport within the country (incl. planes) to reach an international airport. Special conditions apply. New Zealand also allows the arrangement of special charter flights.
· Japan extended the prohibition on entry to all individuals who have visited certain countries within two weeks prior to their arrival. Furthermore, visa exemptions and visa validity will be stopped for the citizens of all countries, excluding the above-mentioned countries. This prohibition will not prevent some categories of foreigners who have left the country before 3 April from returning to Japan at a later time; later foreign leavers will not be allowed to return.
· Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Jordan, Latvia, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Turkmenistan have announced stricter or extended restrictions on movement.
· The borders of Ireland and Luxembourg remain open.
If you are in trouble because of the restrictions in a foreign country, please contact the nearest Estonian embassy or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs helpline +372 5301 9999.
If you can safely remain abroad during the crisis period, you are not obliged to return to Estonia. Make sure you comply with visa and other requirements of stay in the foreign country during the emergency situation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has information on these few flights to return to Europe and Estonia:
• Nordica has a special flight from Stockholm to Tallinn on 7 April. Tickets are available here: https://www.nordica.ee/lendamekoju
• Lufthansa is flying London–Frankfurt–Tallinn twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
• Finnair is flying London to Helsinki twice a day at 10.20 and 18.20. Passengers must have a ferry ticket to prove that their end destination is Tallinn. With the restrictions currently considered in Finland, it is also possible to return to Estonia via Germany.
• Mexico has flights to London and Paris; Finnair is flying from Paris to Helsinki.
• KLM continues with fewer flights from more distant destinations; please monitor their website and make your bookings at the earliest opportunity.
• Thailand (Phuket/Bangkok) – Frankfurt special charter flights between 3-9 April. These are the last opportunities for flying out of Phuket, as the air traffic in Phuket will be closed on 10 April.
• Germany has organised special charter flights from Thailand on 4 April from Phuket and on 3 and 5 April from Bangkok. The ticket prices will be clarified after the flight, but remain within the market price range (estimated at 600 to 800 euros). Flights are destined for Frankfurt, from where passengers have to make their own arrangements to travel to Estonia. To register, please send the passenger’s name, gender, age, passport number, passport validity date and date of birth to Laura-Liisa Laving (Laura-Liisa.Laving@mfa.ee), who will forward these to EEAS, at least 2 days before the flight. Getting on the flight is not guaranteed.
• Egypt, Cairo – Stockholm, a flight on 3 April at 15.00.
• Israel, Tel Aviv – London, flights on 5 and 7 April. Information is being updated. Please monitor https://www.israir.co.il
• Italy, Milano Malpensa – Vilnius, 3 April at 10.00.