Q&A about travelling and coronavirus

Q&A about travelling and coronavirus

We have put together frequently asked questions with answers about travel and coronavirus.

Updated Q&A, 25.3.2020, 4.42 pm

Do not travel abroad!

Call the Foreign Ministry’s 24/7 Service Centre only in an emergency.

Will I be able to return to Finland on the Foreign Ministry’s repatriation flights? Where do I get more information about the flights?

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is planning to arrange repatriation flights from certain destinations from where travellers are no longer able to return to Finland using commercial connections. Possible repatriation flights will be subject to a charge and, in their organisation, attention will be paid to the overall situation, which means that it is not possible to arrange flights for all destinations.

The Ministry will inform about the repatriation flights to travellers who have submitted their travel notification at matkustusilmoitus.fi and post information on its website at um.fi as well as on its social media channels.

The preferred option to return to Finland is still the use of commercial air connections. Commercial connections continue to be available from many destinations, and many airlines have informed about additional flights.

Please follow different airlines’ customer information pages and social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Finnish missions abroad will also provide information on different route options on their social media channels.

Why do I need to do submit a travel notification?

At the moment, we urge anyone travelling abroad to submit a travel notification to enable the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to know your location and contact you. You can visit matkustusilmoitus.fi also while abroad and submit your travel details there. If you do not know how to do that, ask a friend or a family member in Finland to fill in the details on your behalf. Remember to update your details after you have returned to Finland, so we do not unnecessarily try to contact you abroad.

If you have registered at matkustusilmoitus.fi, you can edit your details yourself. If you have not registered, please send an email to konsulipalvelut.um@formin.fi.  Please note that the processing will take time because there is a backlog of requests to edit or remove travel notifications.

We are at a travel destination and heard that Finland has closed its borders on Thursday 19 March starting at 00.00. Are we able to return to Finland anymore?

Finns travelling abroad are encouraged to return to Finland as soon as possible. New flight routes are being suspended every day, which is why it can be considerably more difficult to return to Finland later. However, Finnish citizens and foreigners with a permanent residence in Finland will be allowed to return to Finland also in future, if transport connections are available.

Travellers are now required to be resilient and able to deal with uncertainty. It is good to be prepared for situations in which all travellers cannot return to Finland immediately due to the lack of transport connections.

For more information about arriving in Finland, please see the website of the Border Guard.

We are on holiday abroad and all travellers are now urged to return to Finland. What should we do?

Contact your travel organiser or airline, be active and try to arrange an earlier ticket back home. Please note that there is a backlog in all telephone services at the moment, so we advise you to use online services for making changes to your flights, for example. If you cannot rebook, consider buying your return ticket from another airline. Please note that airlines are announcing suspensions of new routes every day.

Do not call the Foreign Ministry’s 24/7 Service Centre for advice on flight reservation matters, as it is for emergencies only. If you have taken every possible measure and still cannot find any flight connection back home, send an email to konsulipalvelut.um@formin.fi. Based on these emails, we are compiling a list of travellers who cannot return to Finland using commercial transport connections. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs cannot, however, book any flights or pay tickets for you.

If you have not submitted a travel notification yet, please do it now. Through the matkustusilmoitus.fi service, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is able to contact travellers and send them information about the current situation in each country and about possible flights, for example.

Several other countries have also closed their borders and imposed restrictions on internal movement. If you are travelling by car, find out if it is possible to leave the country by road. Those travelling by car should be prepared for the possibility that while abroad, the trip may be interrupted if new restrictions are imposed.

Follow the news and the advice provided by airlines and local authorities to get the most recent information. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Finnish missions abroad are updating information on their social media channels, Facebook and Twitter.

In the current situation, you may need to stay in your travel destination for a longer time. Travellers are now required to be resilient and able to deal with uncertainty. It is good to be prepared for situations in which all travellers cannot return to Finland immediately due to the lack of transport connections. Please note that when you return from abroad, you will be recommended to stay at home for 14 days.

Can the Finnish State fly people home from their travel destinations?

Travellers should primarily contact their travel organiser to try to sort out their possibilities to return to Finland and use commercial flight connections. Finnish missions abroad provide updated information about the situation on their social media channels, Facebook and Twitter.

If you have taken every possible measure and still cannot find any flight connection back home, send an email to konsulipalvelut.um@formin.fi. Based on these emails, we will compile a list of travellers who cannot return to Finland using the commercial transport connections. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs cannot, however, book flights or pay tickets for you.

If you have not submitted a travel notification yet, please do it now. Through the matkustusilmoitus.fi service, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is able to contact travellers and send them information about the current situation in each country and about possible flights, for example.

The Foreign Ministry is working to sort out the situation, but it is good to remember that the number of travellers willing to return to Finland is high right now. Should repatriation take place, it would be carried out in cooperation with EU Member States and the Nordic countries. Repatriation is always considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the overall situation in the country of destination. Please note that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is not responsible for the costs of repatriation; travellers are responsible for their travel expenses also in such a situation.

Can the Ministry for Foreign Affairs forbid me from travelling abroad or order me to cut my trip short?

Freedom of movement is a constitutional right of the Finns. It is not within the competence of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to restrict this freedom, nor can anyone be forbidden from travelling abroad or ordered to return to Finland. It is always up to you to decide whether you wish to travel abroad or return to Finland.

Finns cannot be prevented from leaving Finland, but you should be aware that many other countries have restricted the arriving passenger traffic and some countries have also imposed significant restrictions on internal movement. Travellers arriving in a foreign country may also be placed under quarantine. If you need medical care while abroad, it may be difficult to obtain it because of the limited capacity of the local healthcare services. It is also becoming more and more difficult to return to Finland, as the transport connections are getting scarcer by the day.

Because of this very exceptional situation, all travel abroad should be avoided until further notice. All travellers are also urged to return to Finland as soon as possible.

I have submitted my travel plans at matkustusilmoitus.fi but now I cancelled the trip. How can I remove my travel details from the system?

If you have registered at matkustusilmoitus.fi, you can edit your details yourself. If you have not registered to the system, please note that the processing will take time because there is a backlog of requests to edit or remove travel notifications. If necessary, submit your new travel plans and contact details.

Will insurance cover my costs if I miss my trip?

In insurance claims matters, you must turn to your own insurance company. It is important that you go through the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. In the event that your trip is cancelled or interrupted, reimbursement is a matter to be solved between you and your insurance company. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is not in a position to comment on the matter nor to give any documents.

Although tour operators and travel insurance providers use the Foreign Ministry's travel advice in their own cancellation and refund policies, it is important to note that the Foreign Ministry does not issue travel advice for these purposes.

Basic information on travel insurance is available on the website of the Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau.

Can the Finnish authorities help if a Finnish traveller is placed under quarantine abroad?

The national authorities comply with their own legislation. Note that the quarantine regulations or the threshold for placing people under quarantine, for example, may vary from country to country. Travellers must always comply with the guidance and instructions issued by the authorities of the country of destination and stay in the country for the duration of the possible quarantine. In an emergency, a traveller who has been placed under quarantine may contact the nearest Finnish Embassy or the 24/7 Service Centre of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It should be noted, however, that the Foreign Ministry or the Finnish missions abroad cannot influence decisions made by the authorities of another state.

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