Effects of COVID-19 pandemic on Finnish missions’ entry permit services – current situation
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to influence the entry permit services of the Finnish diplomatic missions abroad. All missions are not able to provide these services in the same way and to the same extent as in normal circumstances before the pandemic. The missions have been able to serve customers in questions related to entry matters in the countries where this has been possible taking into account health security and local official regulations. In this fall, the missions have been reopening their services as far as possible, and currently entry services are provided in most countries at least to a limited extent.
Changes to travel guidance and entry restrictions due to COVID-19 situation
According to the Government decision made in September, restrictions on entry may be lifted for traffic between Finland and those EU and Schengen countries and the counties on the green list specified by the Council of the EU where the incidence of COVID-19 has not exceeded 25 new cases per 100,000 persons in the previous 14 days. The Government assesses the situation in different countries once a week. This news article will be updated with changes to the guidance and restrictions.
Travel guidance and entry restrictions amended due to COVID-19
On 11 September, the Government adopted a decision on restrictions on border traffic, which will enter into force on 19 September. Restrictions on entry will be lifted for traffic between Finland and Cyprus, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Poland and Sweden, as well as for residents of Australia, Canada and Japan who are travelling from their home country to Finland. Restrictions on entry into the country will be reintroduced between Finland and Hungary and Italy.
New Decree of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on Fees for Services Produced by the Foreign Service enters into force on September
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has issued a Decree on Fees for Services Produced by the Foreign Service for 2020–2022. The new decree will replace the former Decree of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on Fees for Services Produced by the Foreign Service (377/2014). The new decree will enter into force on 1 September 2020 and will be valid until 31 December 2022.
Entry restrictions and travel recommendations tightened – continue to avoid non-essential travel
In its informal meeting on 18 August, the Government outlined changes to border traffic restrictions and travel recommendations. Restrictions on internal and external border traffic will be reinstated based on an epidemiological assessment. Internal border control will be reinstated for traffic between Finland and Iceland, Greece, Malta, Germany, Norway and Denmark. Restrictions on external border traffic will be reinstated for traffic into Finland from Ireland, Cyprus and San Marino, as well as to Japanese residents in traffic arriving in Finland from Japan.
Visa applications in exceptional cases accepted by missions in limited manner
In accordance with the Government decision, the amendments to the entry restrictions entered into force on 10 August 2020. Insofar as external border control continues, the accepted criteria for entry are the return of persons living in Finland or in another EU or Schengen country and other essential reasons. As of 10 August, an established relationship is also considered an essential reason for entry on the basis of which a visa can be applied for.
Changes to entry restrictions and travel recommendations; continue to avoid non-essential travel
At its session on 6 August, the Government decided on changes to border traffic restrictions and travel recommendations. Internal border control will be reinstated for traffic between Finland and the Netherlands, Andorra and Belgium. All persons returning from abroad must take note of the quarantine instructions provided by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
Changes to border traffic and travel recommendations, non-essential travel should be avoided
At its session on 23 July, the Government decided on changes to border traffic restrictions and travel recommendations. Internal border control will be reinstated for traffic between Finland and Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland. All traffic is allowed from certain non-European countries. Persons returning from abroad should follow the quarantine instructions issued by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
Travel restrictions are further relaxed but non-essential travel should still be avoided
Finland allows recreational travel to Finland from those European countries where the number of coronavirus infections is at a sufficiently low level. People are able to travel to these countries and to return to Finland from them without self-isolation. On 15 June, the restrictions on non-essential travel were lifted for Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway and will be lifted on 13 July for Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Malta, the Netherlands, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the Vatican.
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