Sunday March 07, 2021

Govt tightens entry restrictions until 25 Feb

Published : 22 Jan 2021, 22:50

Updated : 23 Jan 2021, 10:25

  DF Report

Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo and Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru spoke at a press conference on the entry restrictions on Friday. Photo: Finnish government by Jussi Toivanen.

The government on Friday decided to tighten the restrictions on entry into Finland until 25 February in the wake of the worsening coronavirus situation, said an official press release.

The new restrictions will enter into force on 27 January aiming to reduce cross-border traffic in order to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 variants.

The epidemiological situation in Finland differs considerably from that in other Schengen countries.

For this reason, the risk that travellers might spread the virus variants is significant in Finland.

As of 27 January, Finland will restrict entry from all Schengen countries.

Only essential travel for work will be permitted across internal borders. Essential travel constitutes work that is important for the functioning of society or for security of supply, that must be performed by a person or persons arriving from another country and that must be carried out without delay.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment maintains a list of the work that is considered important for the functioning of the society or for security of supply.

However, any critical task included on the list does not automatically mean that entry into the country is warranted.

Employers must use a separate form to justify why the job of a worker seeking entry into Finland is essential and why the work must be performed without delay.

The worker seeking to enter Finland presents this form at the border check-post, in addition to other documents required for crossing the border.

The changes would not affect those working abroad from Finland. The quarantine and testing recommendations also apply to Finnish citizens working abroad.

Entry is still permitted for healthcare and rescue service personnel (including emergency medical care) and for professionals who take care of the elderly in their duties, freight transport and logistics personnel in their duties, for authorities in essential duties, diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel and personnel of aid organisations in their duties, as well as for representatives of states participating in international negotiations, and for persons participating in the work of international organisations.

The entry of foreign nationals is also permitted for essential and justified reasons. These include the entry of foreign media representatives; transit of regular, scheduled flights at an airport, travel to a property, private residence or holiday residence in Finland, asset arrangements in Finland, and the entry into the country of a family member of a Finnish citizen residing abroad.

Studying in Finland is a permitted reason for entry from the Schengen countries subject to the restrictions and certain other countries.

People travelling with a Finnish residence permit, those in need of international protection or those travelling for other humanitarian reasons, and for compelling personal reasons are still permitted to enter the country.

Certain special groups are permitted to enter the country. Special groups cover those involved in culture, sports, and business life, for example.

The previous decision will also be amended so that belonging to a border community at Finland’s land border with Sweden or Norway is no longer a valid reason for entry. In practice, this applies only to non-Finnish citizens. Finnish citizens and those living in Finland can continue to cross the border under the Constitution.

Furthermore, residents of border communities no longer have the right to cross the border other than through border crossing points. This also applies to Finnish citizens who will have to cross the border through the border crossing points set out in the decision.