I arrived in Finland the other Sunday for a brief visit and promised to write up about borderline absurd arrival experience.
Entry procedures and requirements are very fluid right now, and the processes may have changed at Helsinki Vantaa from May 2nd.
You can access Finentry’s page here.
There is no requirement for a PCR-RT test to arrive in Finland (against the law for the government to require one at least from citizens and residents). Still, the government majority-owned airline Finnair requires one (their requirements changed last week – read more here), as do the boats and ferries transporting passengers and cargo between Finland and Estonia or Sweden.
As I was transiting through Germany that requires a negative test (fast antigen tests acceptable), and Lufthansa doesn’t demand PCR-RT, I did one in Mexico regardless because I was not fond of possibly having my nose massaged at midnight at the destination.
Before boarding the flight from Frankfurt to Finland, you have to visit a special podium for the Lufthansa employee to clear you to travel. I merely presented my Finnish ID that is acceptable for intra-Schengen travel and no other questions.
Arrival At Helsinki-Vantaa
The Lufthansa plane pulled up at the gate, and they opened the front door. I had my hopes up that there would be no bus transfer, but was not going to be surprised if there was.
I head the conversation between the Swissport agent and the Lufthansa cabin crew.
The flight would be disembarked to three busses (supposedly 20 passengers per each) using the rear door, and there would be separate transportation for the crew who would spend two nights in Helsinki.
As I was sitting at 1A, I was the second last passenger to leave the plane to an almost full bus with roughly 40 passengers (I counted).
I am not quite sure what happened to the intention of boarding 20 to each bus.
We were then taken to a health screening where someone asked about a negative PCR-RT test or if you had one.
I said that I had my test done and was asked to fill out a form.
The line was not long, and I soon had a quick chat with a nurse (I would assume).
It was enough that I showed a positive text message from HUS showing that I was diagnosed with a Covid-19 at the Helsinki-Vantaa in December. I was waived through and told that there is no quarantine or any additional test requirements in place.
There is a service called FINENTRY that you can supposedly use to determine what the requirements are in terms of quarantine and additional Covid-19 test (supposedly free, and you can book them using the service).
If you think, Finland is essentially an island with a long EU outer border with Russia that has been mostly closed for non-citizen and commercial traffic.
There have been issues on the Western border with Sweden where some cities have essentially been integrated, and people live, work and shop on both sides.
The problem has been the prevalence of Covid-19 cases in Sweden compared to Finland, and those coming back to Finland from Sweden have spread it up north.
The temporary Schengen border checks for arrivals to Finland have now been in place for close to a year. In a friendly way, I always remind the Finnish border control about the unlawful checks that are still in place when allowed, per the Schengen, to be in place for a couple of weeks.
The system at the Helsinki-Vantaa can handle a small number of flights but won’t work when the number of travelers rises.
There must be other procedures for intra-Schengen arrivals that are complicated when some EU member states have unilaterally allowed tourists from countries that are still on the EU’s travel ban list.
Either flights from these countries need to go through the arrival checks, or employees who are boarding these planes at outstation need to ensure that passengers are allowed to enter.