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Guidelines for International Productions Travelling to Finland During COVID-19

These guidelines are valid 1 October – 13 December 2020. 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

The Finnish Border Guard (Raja) sorts countries into three different categories, which determine the restrictions and measures to be followed when entering Finland.

These categories are:

  • Border traffic turned to normal
  • Restriction category 1
  • Restriction category 2

The current country classifications can be found here. The classifications are updated each Monday, so it is important to note that the situation can vary from week to week. It can also never be guaranteed that crossing the Finnish border will occur exactly as it is presented below. Due to the constantly changing COVID-19 situation, official guidelines and regulations can change rapidly.

1. BORDER TRAFFIC TURNED TO NORMAL

If you are entering Finland from a country classified under ‘border traffic turned to normal’, there are currently no special restrictions or health measures to be followed when crossing the border.

2. RESTRICTION CATEGORY 1

If you are entering Finland from a country classified under ‘restriction category 1’, you can cross the border if your travel is work-related. At the border check, you may be asked to present a certificate or document to verify that the entry requirements are fulfilled. Such documents may relate to information on the employment relationship and assignment. It’s good to have a Finnish contact as an inviting party for your travel to Finland.

3. RESTRICTION CATEGORY 2

If you are entering Finland from a country classified under ‘restriction category 2’, 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 Ministry of Economic Affairs & Employment of Finland and with the local hospital district where production will take place. Then the given crew’s arrival plan is presented to the Finnish Border Guard for approval. To illustrate the process, here is how the process would look like for a U.S. production planning to film in Finland:

Example 

A U.S. production plans to film in Finland in 2020. Finnish border guard currently classifies U.S. travelers under the highest-risk category: restriction category 2. 

The U.S. company/studio has contracted a Finnish production service company for the production. Once it is clear which individuals from the project would be travelling to Finland (e.g. director, DOP, key talent), the service company provides their details to the Ministry of Economic Affairs e.g. via this short form.

The ministry then communicates with the local hospital district of the planned production location and confirms any required additions to the existing covid-19 production guidelines. The tailored guidelines for the production are then sent to the Finnish border guard where it is approved.  The final and updated instructions are then sent to the U.S. team by the Finnish service company and they are free to prepare for their travel to Finland and entry into the country. This entire process of obtaining approval from the relevant authorities (ministry, hospital district, border) takes a total of no more than a few days.

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)

EU AND SCHENGEN COUNTRIES

a. The visit to Finland lasts less than 72 hours

A voluntary COVID-19 test in the country of origin within 72 hours before travelling, with a negative result. No quarantine or second test is required.

b. The visit to Finland lasts longer than 72 hours

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: 10-day quarantine

Option 3: Applying for a status as a 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.

ALL OTHER COUNTRIES (E.G. CANADA, CHINA, RUSSIA, TUNISIA, UNITED STATES)

The inviting party/employer prepares a proposal for the Finnish Border Guard. The proposal is assessed by the responsible ministry and the health authorities assess it. Health security measures are agreed on a case-by-case basis.

If you are entering Finland from a country outside of the EU or a non-Schengen country, you need a local partner, (e.g. a production company) that will handle the communications with the Finnish officials.

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

 

Sources:

COVID-19 Safe Lapland

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

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

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

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