Approximately 3,000 Estonians have asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for help to return to Estonia during the corona crisis, and most of them have also arrived home. At the moment, there are still 35 more people in need of help, who are being assisted personally by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These people are located in 19 different countries, with larger groups in New Zealand and South Africa.
The opportunities for returning to Estonia from abroad are extremely limited. Most regular flights have been cancelled; a few special charter flights remain that have been organised by EU member states. You must also register for a special flight and purchase a ticket.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends avoiding travel whenever possible. This is especially true for those at risk of coronavirus who are more likely to become infected when travelling. If you choose to remain abroad, you must follow the instructions of local authorities and make sure that you do not breach the terms of your visa or any other conditions for being in the country in question during the emergency. 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.
Restrictions of immediate neighbours as of today:
• According to current information from the Finnish authorities, Finland may stop maritime passenger traffic in the next few days. Tallink has currently confirmed that passenger traffic to Finland will continue this week. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs monitors the decisions of the Finnish government. From 22 March, entry to Finland is allowed only to individuals that have registered their right of residence in Finland, and some exceptional cases: https://vm.ee/en/soome-pendelranne
• 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. Additional control measures were implemented in the port of Helsinki on the morning of 2 April. All people arriving in Finland from abroad are asked to fill in a questionnaire with health information before crossing the border. Passengers with symptoms of respiratory illness are referred to medical staff and given corona tests. 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.
• By decision of the Lithuanian government, passenger and air transport of passengers ended on Friday, 4 April, the only exception being the Kiel-Klaipeda ferry connection. Travellers and vehicles can move on this route only with permission from the Lithuanian Minister of the Interior. The only options 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 this is only allowed with special permits and 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.
• The Russian Federation closed all borders on 30 March. EU citizens are allowed to leave Russia. 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.
• Increasing restrictions on movement are imposed in various regions of Russia.
Worldwide travel restrictions:
• Belarus, Canada, Croatia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the USA have notified of tightening or extending movement restrictions.
• Air traffic between Turkey and Estonia is interrupted at least until 1 May. Travellers can fly from Istanbul to Estonia only via Minsk (Belavia), or from Istanbul via Doha to Helsinki (Qatar Airways). No other travel options from Turkey to Estonia will be available in the near future, either directly or with transfers, nor will it be possible to transit through airports in Turkey. As of 4 April, Turkey has imposed a total travel ban on all residents under the age of 20 (previously 65+ residents), in addition to quarantining 30 provinces, including Ankara. Wearing masks will become mandatory at workplaces and elsewhere in public places.
• Spain plans to extend the national emergency situation and the accompanying restrictions until 26 April.
• Greece extended the extraordinary restrictions on movement until 27 April.
• Portugal will suspend all commercial flights during the Easter holidays (9 to 13 April). Only evacuation and transport flights will continue.
• In Ukraine, as of today, 6 April, additional restrictions will apply, prohibiting movement in public places without a mask or respirator, and gatherings of more than two people. In addition, half of the border crossing points that have been open so far will be closed.
• From 3 April, people are not allowed to leave home between 22.00 and 04.00 in Thailand. An exception applies to going to an airport (upon presentation of airline tickets).
• Germany has decided to relax the restrictions on seasonal workers: 40,000 workers from Eastern Europe can come to Germany in April and May each for harvesting and other seasonal agricultural work.
• Norway has approved an amendment allowing EEA nationals to enter Norway to work in the agricultural, horticultural, forestry and food industry sectors. They are subject to a 14-day quarantine obligation.
• The Czech government decided to extend border controls at the Austrian-German border until 24 April.
• Vietnam: Persons whose visas have expired but are still required to remain in the country may exceptionally apply for a new visa for 30 days (an application certified by an honorary consul is required among other things).
• The United Arab Emirates extended all existing restrictions for two more weeks.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has information on the following flights to return to Europe and Estonia:
• On 7 April, Nordica will organize a special flight from Stockholm to Tallinn. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.nordica.ee/lendamekoju
• From 7 April, Emirates Airlines will resume scheduled passenger flights from Dubai to London, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich and Brussels. Tourists in the UAE who have not yet had the opportunity to leave the country can check in for flights from Dubai. Return flights from destinations to Dubai are only open to UAE citizens.
• 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. Due to the restrictions under consideration in Finland, it is safer to use connections through Germany.
• Qatar Airways flies from Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, etc.) and Thailand (Bangkok) via Doha to various cities in Europe, including Helsinki and Frankfurt.
• New Zealand has promised special flights to Europe on limited days. Special flights from Auckland and Christchurch to Frankfurt and Vienna will take place between 6 and 11 April.
• Mexico has flights to London and Paris; Finnair is flying from Paris to Helsinki.
• KLM will continue flights from more distant destinations, including the United States. Flights from the USA (Newark, Chicago) to Frankfurt will take place three times a week.
• From Canada, it is possible to fly to various European destinations, including Frankfurt.
• On 8 April, a special Swedish flight from Cyprus (Larnaca) to Stockholm will take place.
• Thailand (Bangkok)–Frankfurt special flights will take place until 9 April. According to information available to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are no more special flights from Phuket, air traffic in Phuket will be closed on 10 April.
• On 7 April, a special flight from Malaysia to Amsterdam will take place. Finnair flies from Amsterdam to Helsinki, more information on the airline’s website.
• Special flights organized by Germany from Barbados to Frankfurt will take place on 7 and 8 April.
• On 7 and 8 April, Germany will have special flights from South Africa (Cape Town, Johannesburg) to Frankfurt and Munich. Special flights from South Africa (Cape Town, Johannesburg) to Amsterdam will take place on 8 to 10 April.
• Israel, Tel Aviv – London special flight on 7 April. More information: https://www.israir.co.il.
• Germany will organise a special flight from Vietnam to Frankfurt on 8 April.
• On 8 April, there will be a flight from Egypt (Cairo) to Paris. More information at flyaircairo.com.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia