Restrictions on entry extended until 12 January
On 10 December, the Government decided to extend the restrictions on entry into the country until 12 January 2021. The COVID-19 epidemic is still clearly growing globally, and the number of infections is increasing in most countries. Although the number of new cases in Finland started to rise in the autumn after a calmer period in the summer, differences between the epidemiological situations in Finland and many other countries have recently grown sharply. It is therefore not justified to ease the restrictions until the new health security measures under preparation have been made sufficiently available.
The decision is based on the limit value of a maximum of 25 new cases of the disease per 100,000 persons in the previous 14 days. It applies to Schengen countries, non-Schengen EU countries and the United Kingdom.
Minor changes to restrictions on internal border traffic
Internal border traffic refers to traffic between Finland and other Schengen countries. Restrictions on internal border traffic are in force for traffic between Finland and Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, with the exception of leisure boating.
However, day-to-day travel is permitted for local border communities at Finland's land border with Sweden. Similarly, commuting and other essential travel is permitted for local border communities at the Finland’s land border with Norway. In addition, people can come to work in Finland from Sweden and Estonia without a 10-day self-isolation period.
As regards internal border traffic, the decision of 19 November 2020 will be amended so that crossing the internal border between Finland and Sweden and between Finland and Norway will also be allowed on ice-covered border rivers, but it will not be allowed to go ashore to the territory of another state. In addition, residents of border communities and Saami people may cross the land border between Finland and Sweden and between Finland and Norway (including lakes) and border rivers also at places other than border crossing points. However, the above-mentioned right does not permit them to cross the border with a motor vehicle, with the exception of off-road vehicles. These amendments will enter into force on 14 December 2020.
At the internal borders, the restrictions on entry allow only return traffic to Finland, transit traffic, work-related travel and travel for other essential reasons, apart from the above-mentioned exceptions. A 10-day period of self-isolation is recommended for travellers arriving in Finland. Travellers can shorten their self-isolation period at their discretion if they take two voluntary COVID-19 tests.
Restrictions on external border traffic remain unchanged
External border traffic refers to traffic between Finland and non-Schengen countries. The decision of 19 November 2020 will remain unchanged and the restrictions on external border traffic will continue until 12 January 2021. Restrictions have already been lifted for traffic arriving in Finland from the Vatican, and for traffic between Finland and Australia, Japan, Rwanda, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and New Zealand for residents of these countries.
The decision concerning lifting the restrictions for residents of China and of the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions who are travelling from these regions to Finland will remain unchanged, provided that reciprocity is confirmed by the Council of the European Union.
People may still come to Finland from the following European countries for work or other essential reasons: Andorra, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Monaco, Romania, San Marino and the United Kingdom. The restrictions on entry for these countries correspond to the restrictions on internal border traffic. A 10-day period of self-isolation is recommended for travellers arriving in Finland.
For all other non-Schengen countries, restrictions on entry allow only return traffic to Finland and other EU and Schengen countries, transit traffic at Helsinki Airport and other essential traffic. In addition, a 10-day period of self-isolation is recommended for travellers arriving in Finland. Travellers can shorten their self-isolation period at their discretion if they take two voluntary COVID-19 tests.
The United Kingdom withdrew from the EU on 1 February 2020. The transition period will end on 31 December 2020. After the transition period, i.e. from 1 January 2021, UK citizens will be subject to the provisions concerning third-country nationals in border checks.
Government still recommends avoiding unnecessary travel to high-risk countries
Under the Constitution of Finland, Finnish citizens and residents of Finland always have the right to return to Finland, and everyone has the right to leave Finland if they so wish, provided that there is no legal impediment to this. However, the Government still recommends avoiding unnecessary travel to other countries, except for countries for which the restrictions on entry have been lifted.
Travellers must be aware of the current entry and quarantine regulations of their country of destination and they must take into account the quarantine and testing recommendations for those returning to Finland. A 10-day period of self-isolation is also recommended for expatriate Finns arriving in Finland for the Christmas holidays. Travellers can shorten their self-isolation period at their discretion if they take two voluntary COVID-19 tests.