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Finland has had a change of heart regarding closing its borders to Estonians – probably realising its society can’t really function without Estonian workers.
According to the Estonian foreign ministry, this afternoon, Finland announced that in line with the introduction of border checks from 19 March, the conditions for entering the country have changed, but all persons with a right of residence in Finland would continue to be allowed entry. This means 50,000 Estonians with a permanent right of residence and 20,000 Estonians with a temporary right of residence can continue to enter Finland, as well as those passengers who are transiting through Finland on their way back to Estonia from a more distant location.
Entry is also allowed to those workers who have a valid contract of employment for working in Finland.
Cross-border workers are not subject to Finland’s quarantine rules; however, they must keep in mind that when going to Estonia from Finland after 17 March, a 14-day self-isolation is mandatory. Isolation aims to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The Finnish foreign ministry and border guard specified the rules for entering Finland after 19 March as follows:
Workers – All people with a right of residence in Finland can enter Finland. Finland does not differentiate between people with a permanent and temporary right of residence. Everyone who have registered the right of residence in Finland can enter Finland.
Entry is also granted to those workers who have not registered for a right of residence but can show a contract of employment in Finland – they will be considered cross-border workers under the European Union law (EU cross-border workers).
Quarantine – A general rule applies that when entering Finland, you must remain in isolation for 14 days. However, Finland will not apply the isolation rule to EU cross-border workers. The only condition for a cross-border worker to enter the country is the existence of contract of employment. Cross-border workers are workers who are permanent residents of one European Union country (such as Estonia) and work in another (such as Finland).
However, the Estonian foreign ministry still advises people to consider their health and that of others and remember the self-isolation rule in force in Estonia.
Transit – transit through international airports and ports through Finland is allowed. For example, from the Vantaa Airport or the Port of Turku, people are free to proceed to the Port of Helsinki to board a ferry to Tallinn. They will not be asked to present additional documents (such as a ferry ticket).
For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.
Cover: A Helsinki public transit bus. Many of the bus drivers in Finland are Estonians. Photo by Prompter1, shared under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.