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Guidelines for International Productions Travelling to Finland During COVID-19

These guidelines are valid until  30th April 2021. The guidelines have been made together with a representative of The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and with the local hospital district.

CROSSING THE FINNISH BORDER

At the moment you can cross the Finnish border if you apply for a special group status from the Finnish Border Guard. However, Finnish Border is open for residents travelling from Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South-Korea, Thailand or Vatican.

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

As of 1st October, the Finnish Government will categorize countries and regions depending on how many COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants the country has had in the previous 14 days. The categorization model is called the traffic light model. Health and safety measures are adjusted according to the number of new COVID-19 cases.

Up-to-date traffic light model map, maintained by the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare

1. COUNTRIES WITH LESS THAN 25 CASES PER 100,000 INHABITANTS IN THE PREVIOUS 14 DAYS (THE GREEN COUNTRIES)

There is no need for testing or quarantine. Just follow the general safety and health guidelines set by the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare.

2. COUNTRIES WITH MORE THAN 25 CASES PER 100,000 INHABITANTS IN THE PREVIOUS 14 DAYS (THE RED AND GREY COUNTRIES)

Option 1: A voluntary COVID-19 test in the country of origin within 72 hours before travelling, with a negative result. In Finland, the second COVID-19 test to be taken at the earliest 72 hours after arriving in Finland. Self-isolation until receiving a negative result from the 2nd test.

Option 2: 14-day quarantine

Option 3: Special group. Your Finnish partner prepares a proposal for the Finnish Border Guard. The proposal is assessed by the responsible ministry and the health authorities. Health security measures are agreed on a case-by-case basis.

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