Estonia, often known as the country of forests and islands, welcomes a large number of visitors every year; however, it has kept its doors shut to all but essential travel as soon as the Coronavirus pandemic started to spread in Europe.
Last year, the Northeastern European country saw 1.97 million visitors who stayed in the accommodation establishments in the country, or a 48 per cent decrease compared to 2019 figures. Such a decrease was marked due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which prohibited many travellers from visiting the country for non-essential purposes.
Last year, the virus prevented international visitors from entering the Baltic country and camp freely in its forests or exploring this territory’s amazing nature, which mainly attracts nature lovers.
Up to this point, the country has recorded a total of 144,001 COVID-19 infection cases and 1,302 deaths based on the figures provided by the World Health Organization.
However, some exemptions are applied for internationals that plan to enter the Baltic country despite such figures published by WHO. At the same time, travel for unnecessary reasons, including tourism, is also permitted, provided that passengers meet specific entry rules.
Who Can Enter Estonia Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic?
According to the announcement of the Estonian government, at present, citizens and residents of Estonia can enter the country whether they show COVID-19 symptoms or not.
In addition, citizens of the European Union, the Schengen Zone countries, as well as those from the United Kingdom, Andorra, the Vatican City, and San Marino, are also permitted to enter the country.
Besides, the doors are also opened for long-stay visa holders and their family members, provided they are asymptomatic.
Vaccinated travellers from third countries, regardless of their purpose of travel, can also enter the country.
“Third-country citizens who have not completed a course of vaccination and who come to Estonia to work, study, see their family, or on a special permit if they have taken a coronavirus PCR-test 72 hours before entering Estonia or a rapid antigen test 48 hours before and can provide a certificate of a negative result,” the government clarifies.
Can Unvaccinated Travellers Outside the EU/EEA or Schengen Area Enter Estonia?
Internationals from countries outside the European Union, the European Economic Area, or the Schengen Zone who have not been vaccinated against the virus are allowed to enter Estonia, even for non-essential purposes such as tourism, if they belong to any of the countries mentioned below, following the recommendation of the Council of the European Union on the gradual abolition of restrictions on non-essential travel into the European Union.
Vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers from the following countries can enter Estonia without being obliged to follow testing and quarantine rules if they belong to the following countries:
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
Travellers from the following countries, included in Annex I, are also permitted to enter Estonia; however, if they do not obtain a negative test document, they will have to undergo a testing process upon arrival and follow quarantine rules. If travellers wish to shorten the self-isolation period, they must undergo a second test on the sixth day after the first test.
If travellers from the following countries have a negative test certificate, they will not be required to take a COVID-19 test upon their arrival in Estonia.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Brunei Darussalam
Testing & Quarantine Requirements
Authorities in Estonia have clarified that testing before and after entry and a ten-day quarantine period is compulsory for all passengers arriving in the country from territories that have an infection rate higher than 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks.
Therefore, travellers, who belong to countries that are not listed in Annex I are obliged to follow mandatory testing and a ten-day self-isolation rule. However, the quarantine period can be shortened if they undergo a second COVID-19 test on the sixth day of their arrival, and the result is negative.
However, authorities in Estonia have clarified that vaccinated travellers are not obliged to follow testing and quarantine requirements upon their arrival.
“The testing and quarantine requirement does not apply to persons who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in the last twelve months, or who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 180 days and who have been declared healthy by a doctor,” the statement clarifies.
Entry Restrictions for Unvaccinated Travellers from EU/EEA
Unvaccinated travellers from Norway, Bulgaria, San Marino, and Slovenia are obliged to undergo a ten-day quarantine upon their arrival in Estonia, as the countries have been added to Estonia’s epidemiologically red list.
According to the Estonian Foreign Ministry, taking a test upon arrival, in addition to a second test taken on day six or later, can reduce the ten-day quarantine requirement.
However, these rules are not applicable to EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate holders who have been fully vaccinated with one of the European Medicines Agency authorized vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Janssen) and travellers recovered from the COVID-19 virus.
Furthermore, the rest of Estonia’s red list, which consists of countries that have reported an average rate of 201 and more positive cases for 100,000 inhabitants during the last 14 days, includes the following, also indicating their infection cases rate:
- Belgium 241.45
- Bulgaria 264.19
- Cyprus 496.06
- Denmark 225.22
- France 403.23
- Greece 412.28
- Iceland 309.50
- Ireland 504.11
- Liechtenstein 252.92
- Lithuania 288.43
- Monaco 315.97
- Norway 233.92
- Portugal 306.42
- San Marino 261.23
- Slovenia 257.36
- Spain 270.49
- Switzerland 417.11
- The United Kingdom 681.73
On the other hand, the moderately high-risk list of countries (yellow list) includes countries that have reported a 75-200 average rate of infections with Coronavirus for 100,000 people for a 14-day period, which, as the following list indicates, are:
- Andorra 102.39
- Austria 193.57
- Croatia 154.31
- Finland 154.96
- Germany 137.03
- Italy 150.19
- Latvia 115.17
- Luxembourg 172.02
- Malta 144.39
- Netherlands 199.99
- Sweden 127.23
Moreover, arrivals from these countries that can present a valid vaccination or recovery certificate are exempted from the entry requirement. However, a test taken within 72 hours before reaching the country for PCR tests or 48 hours for antigen tests, must be provided from unvaccinated travellers. If a test taken before reaching Estonia cannot be provided, travellers must get tested upon arrival and self-isolate until the result is issued.
On the other hand, no restriction on entry is applied for travellers arriving from green countries, which have 75 or fewer positive cases with COVID-19 per 100,000 for the last two weeks. However, they must complete an online passenger entry form before arrival.
Estonia’s green countries include the following:
- Czechia 24.75
- Hungary 17.64
- Poland 7.7
- Romania 31.44
- Slovakia 28.97
- Vatican 0.0
Which Vaccines Are Approved for Use in Estonia?
Estonia became one of the first countries within the European Union that started issuing the EU Digital COVID-19 document in order to ease the travelling process for all its citizens wishing to visit the EU and Schengen Zone countries.
Authorities in Estonia clarified that they accept vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). However, each EU Member State can decide if they want to allow the entry for internationals that have been vaccinated with any of the vaccines that are not approved by EMA.
Currently, the vaccines recognized by EMA are Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Comirnaty (BioNTech, Pfizer), and Moderna, Vaxzevria ( AstraZeneca, Oxford).
What to Expect When Visiting Estonia?
At present, travellers can enjoy “everything that Estonia has to offer,” as according to the country’s official tourist information website, Visit Estonia, there are no restrictions on tourism if travellers present vaccination or recovery documents or a negative result of the COVID-19 test.
Therefore, besides forests, internationals who plan to enter Estonia can also spend some time in Estonia’s islands such as Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Ruhnu, Kihnu, and Vormsi as the best way to escape from their daily routine.
Travel Insurance for Estonia
Citizens from other countries interested in visiting Estonia are urged to purchase travel insurance packages in order to be protected amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Travel insurance will help passengers save most of their money if their trip gets cancelled due to COVID-19 or other specific reasons.
In Estonia, reasonably priced travel insurance can be purchased from AXA Assistance, Europ Assistance, or MondialCare.
Current COVID-19 Situation in Estonia
On September 7, the World Health Organization reported that there were 213 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Estonia within the last 24 hours and one death.
49.8 per cent of Estonia’s population have been vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least the first dose of a vaccine so far, while 46.4 per cent are fully vaccinated.