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Finland – COVID-19: Some Easing, Some Tightening of Travel Restrictions

Finland–Some Easing and Tightening of Tvl Restrictions

Finland’s government on 23 July has had to reimpose internal border control for traffic between Finland and Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland as well as tightening external border traffic for Algeria and Australia as of 27 July. Employment-based traffic in the Schengen internal borders is still allowed; however, the individual needs to carry proof of employment. Individuals traveling from non-Schengen countries: South Korea, Georgia, Japan, China, Rwanda, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and New Zealand, do not need to carry any proof of their employment due to the lifted restrictions.

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Following its decision to gradually lift the travel restrictions on 13 July, Finland’s government announced on 23 July that internal border control for traffic between Finland and Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland would be reintroduced. In these countries, the number of cases has started to increase since the last assessment.1 Restrictions on external border traffic for Algeria and Australia will also be tightened again. The restrictions took effect on Monday, 27 July.

(For prior coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2020-313, 10 July 2020.)

WHY THIS MATTERS

The updated travel restrictions mean that holiday/pleasure trips from these countries are no longer allowed. Also, employees from these countries will have to prove the reason for their stay in Finland. Employment-based traffic otherwise in the Schengen area is still allowed; however, the individual needs to carry proof of employment.

Individuals traveling from non-Schengen countries such as South Korea, Georgia, Japan, People’s Republic of China (“China”), Rwanda, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and New Zealand, do not need to carry any proof of their employment due to the lifted restrictions. 

Updated Travel Restrictions as of 27 July

On 23 July, Finland’s government made a decision regarding reintroducing some travel restrictions, as well as the further dismantling of other entry restrictions, starting 27 July.

As of 27 July, internal border controls between Finland and Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland are reintroduced.

However, for these countries for which internal border controls are in place, there are some exceptions as to when entry will be allowed, including return traffic, commuting, and other essential traffic.

For external borders, the restrictions lifted on 13 July for Algeria and Australia have been tightened back again as of 27 July.

Notably, as of 27 July, travel between Finland and South Korea, Georgia, Japan, China, Rwanda, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and New Zealand will be allowed without restrictions. Restrictions had been lifted 13 July in case of commuting and other non-essential services for residents of those countries.

Allowed Border Traffic

As of 27 July, based on the current development of the epidemic, travel to Finland is expected to be possible for the following groups of travellers2:

  • Finnish nationals and their family members;
  • Nationals of European Union (EU) and Schengen countries residing in Finland and their family members;
  • Those coming from Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania;
  • Those coming from The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Malta, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary and Liechtenstein;
  • Those coming from Cyprus, Ireland, Andorra, San Marino, and the Vatican;
  • Those coming from Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, and China (provided that reciprocity is confirmed in the EU);
  • Third-country nationals who have a valid residence permit granted by the Finnish authorities.

Travel will also be permitted in the following cases:

  • Travel across other Schengen internal borders and from the United Kingdom for employment or “commission-related” commuting;
  • Essential travel in order to work and other essential traffic (as defined and substantiated).

The purpose and requirements of a work trip based on employment relationships or assignments are to be determined during the border check. During border checks, the person on a work trip may be asked to present documents to verify that the entry requirements are fulfilled. Such documents may relate, in particular, to information on the employment relationship and assignment. 

KPMG NOTE

It is important to note that the authorities update the list of countries based on developments in the epidemic situation in the various countries.  The Finnish government will review the rules on border restrictions in two weeks’ time.  Based on the information shared by the government, the next changes in border traffic are scheduled to enter into force on 10 August.  Restrictions may also be re-introduced if the epidemic situation in a given country significantly deteriorates.

The KPMG International member firm in Finland continues to monitor these matters closely, as further instructions can be expected from the authorities in the forthcoming days to clarify the newly-introduced measures.

FOOTNOTES

1  News release (in Finnish) from the government: “Hallitus päätti sisä- ja ulkorajaliikennettä koskevien rajoitusten jatkosta” (Government decision on border traffic restrictions from 27 July).

2  See (in English) “The instructions of the Finnish Border Guard to passengers regarding entry to Finland.” 

*  Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not offer immigration services or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.

 

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Finland.

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