Foreign ministry: new options for Estonians returning home

The Estonian foreign ministry and Estonian representations abroad continue to work with travel agencies and transport companies to find and mediate options for Estonians to return home.

The following additional flights have been added:

Tomorrow, 22 March at 1:30 PM, a special flight by Atlantic Travel departs from the Tenerife South Airport (Tenerife Sur) to Riga. There are some seats available; those wishing to purchase a ticket should contact the airline immediately. At around 10:00 PM, a special Lux Express bus will take people from the Riga Airport to Estonia, please contact the bus company to book a seat. 

A special flight by Nordica from Malaga to Tallinn is scheduled for Tuesday, 24 March, at 12:45 PM. People can book their tickets directly on the Nordica website. Those wishing to return home to Spain from Tallinn can also take the Tallinn-Malaga flight. The Tallinn-Malaga flight departs on 24 March at 8:00 AM.

On Monday, 23 March, at 3:50 PM, a special Air Baltic flight departs from Istanbul to Riga. Please call +371 6710 7771 to book a ticket.

On Monday, 23 March, an evacuation flight is organised by Lithuania from Bali to Vilnius; please book immediately or notify the Estonian embassy in Canberra (name, personal identification code, passport number, telephone number).

On Friday, 27 March, an evacuation flight organised by Lithuania departs from Hanoi to Vilnius with a stopover in Bangkok. You can register online for boarding from Hanoi or Bangkok. The ticket costs €999.

Important consular information:

For those wishing to return from New Zealand, the good news is that yesterday, on 20 March at 9:00 PM (local time), Australia extended the transit window to 72 hours, which means transit through Australia’s airports is allowed until 23 March at 9:00 PM (local time). Transfers must be made on the same day. The initial transit window announced covered 36 hours.

The Estonian foreign ministry reminds that those flying back to Estonia via Helsinki should be prepared to present a certificate (such as a ferry ticket) at the start of their journey, proving their 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 for coming to Estonia from Riga: a) take the train from Riga to Lugazhin (near Valka); departures are at 10:34 AM and 6:15 PM (the first option would allow people to change to a Valga-Tallinn train the same day); b) if you are travelling with a larger group, you can contact Lux Expressto 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.

Return home at the earliest opportunity

The Estonian 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. People 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 with the ministry by calling +372 5301 9999 (24h).Due to potential new travel restrictions or disruptions to transport links, the foreign 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: A Lux Express long-distance bus. Photo: Lux Express Facebook page.

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