FM: new options for returning to Estonia

The Estonian foreign ministry and Estonian foreign representations continue to work with travel agents and transport companies to find and mediate options for Estonians to return home, and they’ve added new options for the stranded citizens to get closer.

The ministry would like to urge Estonians abroad to make a decision immediately about whether they wish to return to Estonia or are prepared to remain abroad for an extended period of time. There are fewer and fewer transport options for coming to Estonia and while the border remains open to Estonians, it may soon be logistically impossible to get back to Estonia before the global crisis is over.

We are sharing the latest information available to us.

The following additional flights have been added:

On 23 March, KLM makes two flights from New Delhi and one flight from Mumbai to Amsterdam. If you are interested in these flights, please contact the Estonian embassy in New Delhi.

You can fly from the Dominican Republic to Helsinki on 23 March with Finnair. Book your tickets on the Finnair website.

There is a special Nordica flight from Malaga to Tallinn on 24 March. Book your tickets online.

Finnair flies from Gran Canaria to Helsinki on 24 March. Book your trip online.

Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Vietnam, and Bangkok, Thailand, on 27 March to Kaunas, Lithuania. The flight departs on 27 March at 10:00 AM from Saigon with a stopover in Bangkok and then flies to Kaunas. When booking tickets, priority is given to citizens of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Book your flight until 24 March.

AirBaltic flies from London to Riga, there are still seats available for the 26 and 27 March flights. Book your tickets online. Direct regular travel connections are no longer available for getting to Estonia from Riga; we recommend taking a taxi to the Estonian border (such as Bolt) or hiring a car.

Regular flight route options about to be suspended:

The last flight from Istanbul to Tallinn is on 26 March and from Frankfurt on 27 March.

EasyJet has announced plans to suspend most of their flights from Tuesday, 24 March, and changes in London-Tallinn flights are likely.

Important consular information:

The foreign ministry continues to remind you that if you are flying back to Estonia via Helsinki, you should be prepared to present a certificate (such as a ferry ticket) at the start of your journey, proving your final destination is Estonia. 

Regardless of the new border crossing guidelines introduced by the Finnish government that come into effect at midnight on Sunday, Estonian citizens and permanent residents can still return home through Finland. Transit through the international airports and ports of Finland is still 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.

The ministry recommends the following options to come to Estonia from Riga: a) take the train from Riga to Lugazhin (near Valka), departures at 10:34 AM and 6:15 PM (the first option would allow you to change to a Valga-Tallinn train the same day); b) if you a travelling with a larger group, you can contact Lux Express to let them know about your arrival time and organise shared bus transport if possible; c) take a taxi to the Estonian border in Ikla or Valka and ask someone (friends or family) to come and pick you up; d) rent a car in Riga and return it in Tallinn.

Singapore stops entry to foreign nationals and transit through its airports from 24 March (at 12:00 AM).

From 22 March (at 12:00 AM), shuttle migration between Estonia and Finland is no longer possible.

Montenegro has suspended regular international flights.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, all arriving passengers will be quarantined at the border (in tents).

Italy has imposed even stricter domestic restrictions on movement, including on movements outside.

Thailand requires a health certificate on entry.

Vietnam banned entry to all foreign nationals from 22 March.

The Philippines are denying entry to all foreign nationals; visas and visa waiver has been suspended.

Romania has imposed a nightly curfew and begun closing its borders.

Taiwan will suspend transit flights between 24 March and 7 April.

There are virtually no options for entering Japan from Europe; visas have been suspended, and new visas are issued only in rare cases. However, it is still possible to leave Japan, and transit through Japanese airports is allowed on the condition you do not enter the country. Europeans cannot go outside the transit zone; therefore, transit is only possible through the same airport and terminal.

Prepare for an extended stay

The foreign ministry is in constant contact with travel agencies and other European Union states to make sure that Estonians stranded in more distant locations without any other options for returning can get on possible evacuation flights. You must be aware that the cost of flights varies and depends on the number of passengers.

If you are stranded abroad and cannot find any other options for returning, please get in touch by calling +372 5301 9999 (24h).

Due to potential new travel restrictions or disruptions to transport links, the ministry asks all Estonians who are currently travelling to return home at the earliest opportunity or prepare for an extended stay at their current location.

For the latest developments in Estonia, follow our special blog on coronavirus.

Cover: EasyJet has announced plans to suspend most of their flights from Tuesday, 24 March, and changes in London-Tallinn flights are likely. Photo by Frederick Tubiermont on Unsplash.

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