Road between lakes in Posio
Photo by: Mikael Kunnari

Guidelines for International Productions Travelling to Finland During COVID-19

Infogrpah about health security measures from people arriving from high-risk countries to Finland.
Photo by: Finnish Government
Infogrpah about health security measures from people arriving from high-risk countries to Finland.
From 26th July, You can enter Finland from all countries if you have received a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

CROSSING THE FINNISH BORDER

At the moment you can cross the Finnish border from all countries if you have received a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

  1. You can enter Finland from all countries if you have received a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine. You will not be subject to any other obligations under the Communicable Diseases Act.
  2. You can travel from EU and Schengen countries to Finland, but you must first check your obligations under the Communicable Diseases Act (see figure above), for example with regard to COVID-19 testing.
  3. If you have not received a full course of an approved COVID-19 vaccine and are arriving from outside the EU or Schengen area, check the restrictions on travel to Finland from the country in question on the Border Guard website. If travel is possible, i.e. you are coming from a country on the EU’s green list from which entry into Finland is allowed, or you have an essential reason to travel, check your obligations under the Communicable Diseases Act (see figure above). In addition, some of the countries on the EU green list are exempted from these obligations.

Please be aware that just because you are allowed to Finland, that does not mean you are automatically exempted from the obligation to be tested for COVID-19, for example.
Source: Finnish Government.

For production crews it is still useful to apply for a special group status from the Finnish Border Guard.

Up-to-date information for guidelines for border traffic during pandemic can be found here.

SPECIAL GROUP STATUS

For the special group status, you need a local partner, (e.g. a production company) that will handle the communications with the Finnish officials. Every production crew’s entry into the country will be processed individually, in advance by the Finnish Border Guard. Then the given crew’s arrival plan is presented to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy of Finland and the local hospital district for approval.

On the practical level the process will be following according to the Finnish Border Guard:

“Applications relating to special groups should be sent by email directly to the Finnish Border Guard (rajavartiolaitos@raja.fi). The application is made by the party extending the invitation.

The applications must include justification regarding the national significance of the activities and the reasons why other procedures cannot be observed as well as the procedures that will be used to ensure the implementation of health security. The employer or other such party inviting the person or persons to enter the country must be able to present a health security action plan that complies with the national instructions for them.

If the health security measures are at least in accordance with currently valid national recommendations from the health authorities, the application does not require a separate statement from the health authorities on these measures. In cases where the health security measures presented in the application contain deviations from the current recommendations or an application is otherwise different (e.g. a large group size or several separate groups), a separate statement from the local infectious disease authority (municipality or hospital district) must be included in the application.

The applications are sent from the Finnish Border Guard to the relevant government ministries and, if necessary, also the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, who then issue a statement on them. After receiving the statement, the Finnish Border Guard will prepare a policy concerning the necessity of entry to Finland and inform the applicant of that policy. However, the final decision on entry to the country is made during the border check.”

In summary:

  • Contact and hire a local partner (a production company or e.g. a fixer) who will handle the communications with the Finnish officials. Film Lapland will help you find a local partner.
  • Make a health and safety plan for your production with your local partner.  Use APFI’s guidelines.
  • Consult the local infectious disease authority (municipality or hospital district) in advance.
  • Local partner fills this short form for the Ministry of Employment and the Economy of Finland and attaches it to the application for the Finnish Border Guard.
  • Finally, the local partner makes an application to the Finnish Border Guard.

HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES AFTER CROSSING THE FINNISH BORDER

 

Inquiries:
The Finnish Border Guard gives people advice on cross-border traffic by phone and email. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English on weekdays between 8.00 and 16.00 at +358 295 420 100. Questions can also be sent by email to rajavartiolaitos@raja.fi. The advisory service is very busy and it may take longer than usually to receive a reply. Travellers are advised to first check the up-to-date guidelines on border traffic on the Border Guard’s website.

COVID-19 Testing in Lapland

You should get tested immediately if you suspect a corona infection or begin to experience even mild symptoms of any of the following: fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, difficulty to breathe or shortness of breath. By doing this, you can also protect others.

For information on the current COVID-19 situation in Lapland, local guidelines for health and safety, and how and where you can get tested, please visit www.covid19safelapland.com, maintained by the Lapland Healthcare District and the Länsipohja Healthcare District.

For general COVID-19 guidance, please call the Government’s joint telephone helpline +358 295 535 535

Health and safety plan on the set

For productions that are travelling to Finland as a special group, it is compulsory to have a health and safety plan as a part of the application while applying for entry from the Finnish Border Guard. Audiovisual Producers Finland – APFI, the Union of Journalists in Finland, the Finnish Actors’ Union, and the Trade Union for Theatre and Media Finland has made guidelines to follow while filming in Finland.

Sources:

APFI – Updated health and safety guidelines to be followed during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Safe Lapland

Finnish Government – Corona-info: information on the coronavirus by telephone and chat

Finnish Government – Entry restrictions and health measures in place in Finland

Finnish Government – Government adopts resolution on implementing the hybrid strategy for border traffic and travel

Finnish Border Guard – Guidelines for border traffic during pandemic

Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) – Transmission and protection – coronavirus

Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) – Travel and the coronavirus pandemic

Lapland Hospital District: Lapland Entry