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Finland to loosen border restrictions on Monday

Finland's entry restrictions will be significantly relaxed on Monday.

Matkustajalaiva saapumassa Helsingin Länsisatamaan.
A passenger ferry arriving in Helsinki from Tallinn, Estonia (file photo). Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

On Thursday, Interior Ministry officials announced that Finland will allow business travel from EU and Schengen countries by all means of transport.

That means that the much-discussed commuter traffic from Estonia by ship will be possible from next week, for instance. It will be easier to commute to Finland from Sweden and Norway.

Leisure travellers from EU and Schengen countries will also be allowed to enter Finland, as long as they have certification proving that they are fully vaccinated for at least two weeks or have recovered from Covid-19 within the previous six months.

Internal border controls between Finland and other Schengen countries will however continue until 11 July, Kirsi Pimiä, Permanent Secretary at the Interior Ministry said at a press conference on Thursday.

Non-essential travel outside Europe still not recommended

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is also easing its recommendations on travel from Finland.

Until now, it has advised residents of Finland to avoid unnecessary travel, including in the EU and Schengen area. According to the new recommendations, travel to these areas is possible as long as special care is taken, said Pasi Tuominen, Director General of Consular Services at the Foreign Ministry.

The THL and Foreign Ministry still recommend against non-essential travel outside Europe, and say that all travel should be avoided to Brazil, South Africa and India.

No further testing or quarantine

The Finnish news agency STT said on Wednesday that the government would open commuter traffic by ship to Finland from Estonia, Sweden and Norway.

Those who have received two doses of an approved vaccine (or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine) will be allowed to move around Finland freely, with no further testing or quarantine required.

The aim is partly to ensure that seasonal workers are able to enter Finland.

Until now, only employees who do work that is deemed significant for the functioning of society or security of supply have been able to enter Finland by land or sea. Estonia has strongly demanded a relaxation of Finland's restrictions, which Prime Minister Kaja Kallas called "unreasonable".

Work-related travel from EU and Schengen countries is already allowed by air, but most travel from Estonia is by ship.

Travellers without certificates of vaccination or recovery from coronavirus must self-quarantine until a second test, which must be taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Berry pickers, cabin owners allowed to come

Internal border controls will however be abolished between Finland and Poland and between Finland and Hungary. Entry restrictions will also be removed from traffic between Finland and Romania, Monaco and San Marino.

The decisions made now will allow the entry of foreign berry pickers, as well as foreign property owners and their family members. Russians who own holiday homes in Finland have been calling for the right to enter, for instance.

Tuomas Laosmaa, head of the Border Guard's border inspection division, said that in principle Finnish border officials will accept national vaccination certificates if they are in Finnish, Swedish or English. After 1 July, the EU digital certificate will be accepted by authorities in all EU member states.

The certificate, available on paper or via smartphone, indicates the bearer's vaccination status, recent negative test or recovery from the disease.

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