The government decided to reintroduce border controls temporarily on all state borders to stop the spread of coronavirus. “We ask people to remain in Estonia and not to travel. When going to another country, people may remain in a quarantine area and returning home may be highly difficult or even impossible. From 17 March onwards, only Estonian citizens and residents can enter the country, including people with the temporary residence permit or right of residence,” the Minister of the Interior Mart Helme explained.
In addition to the travel document checks, also information will be collected on the traveller’s journey, health and possible exposure to the infection. The presence of a valid identity card is required upon border crossing. “Due to the various restrictions, it may be necessary to provide proof of identity. Therefore, I call on everybody to carry an ID document also when travelling within Estonia,” Helme stated.
International cargo, including vehicles providing food and medical supplies transportation can enter the country. Similarly, persons providing vital services, such as fuel suppliers. Also foreigners are allowed to transit Estonia on their way to their home country in case they have no symptoms of COVID-19.
Foreigners working in Estonia with a visa or visa-free will not be allowed to return to Estonia after 17 March. In case they are already in Estonia, they can remain here or leave the country, if they wish so.
“In case people with the right of entry show symptoms of the disease, those with mild symptoms will remain under home surveillance, while those with more serious symptoms will be hospitalised. People in whose case COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed must comply with the isolation requirements,” the Minister of the Interior explained.
The given isolation means that the person must remain indoors for 14 days with no contact with other people. In case there are other people staying in the same premises, also they need to remain in isolation. In case of serious symptoms, people will be hospitalised.
“I suggest that isolated people communicate with their friends and acquaintances by phone or online and ask them to bring the necessary goods. It is important to remember that the person bringing the goods must not have any physical contact with the people in isolation. The situation is inconvenient but I ask for people’s understanding. It is important to isolate people with symptoms as this way we can reduce the possibility of further infections,” the Minister of the Interior said.
Principles of entry in Estonia from 17 March 2020
Estonia can be entered by Estonian citizens and residents, including people with the temporary residence permit or right of residence:
• Estonian citizens who are holders of Estonian passport;
• Estonian citizens who are holders of Estonian ID card;
• Citizens of the EU who are holders of the Estonian ID card;
• People who are holders of the Estonian alien’s passport (so-called grey passport);
• Foreign citizens who have the Estonian residence card. For instance, people:
- who study at an Estonian vocational or higher education institution
- who work in Estonia
- who are married to an Estonian citizen or resident
- who have a company in Estonia.
Estonia cannot be entered by people who:
• come to Estonia visa-free, with a Schengen visa or Estonian visa:
- for short-time work;
- for a tourist trip, for instance, to see the Old Town in Tallinn;
- to visit relatives or acquaintances.
Estonia may be entered only by foreigners without symptoms who:
• are directly related with the transport of goods and raw materials, for instance, drivers and loaders;
- provide healthcare services and other services needed for the solution of the emergency situation;
- are employees of foreign diplomatic representations and consular posts or their family members or foreigners who come to Estonia in connection with international military cooperation.
As an exception, the Police and Border Guard Board may allow foreigners without symptoms into Estonia:
• who are direct descendants (i.e. children and their children) or ascendants (parents and their parents) or the spouse of an Estonian citizen or a person who is a holder of an Estonian ID card or residence card;
• in case the entry into the state is justified on account of exceptional circumstances, for instance, in case a mother with a visa and her child are located in different countries.