Avalehe pilt
Questions on border crossing
09/26/2017

 

1. What is the difference between crossing external or internal border?

Persons who wish to cross the external border must cross the border only at the border crossing points, which are open for international traffic, and during their fixed opening hours. Crossing of external border at other places than through border crossing points or outside their opening hours is considered to be illegal crossing of state border.

See also: Border crossing points of Estonia, which are open for international traffic. Valid travel document (passport) is required for crossing the external border.

Internal border can be crossed at any place without passing through the border control. Although there is no border check carried out at the internal border, still, every person is requested to have along his/her identity document (ID card or passport).

2. Which documents do you need upon crossing the external border?

For crossing the external border you will need a valid travel document (passport).

The travel documents for an Estonian citizen are:
• Estonian citizen`s passport;
• diplomatic passport;
• seafarer discharge book;
• certificate for return to Estonia.

Travel documents issued by the Estonian Republic to aliens are:
• alien passport;
• temporary travel document;
• travel document for refugee;
• certificate of record of service on ships;
• permit for return to the Republic of Estonia.

If a travel document has been lost or stolen while staying abroad, then a foreign representation of the Republic of Estonia (embassy, consul) shall issue to such person a temporary travel document for return to Estonia. To Estonian citizens a certificate for return shall be issued, and to aliens a permit for return shall be issued. These above named documents are designed for return to Estonia, you cannot continue your pending trip with these documents. Upon arrival in Estonia, the certificate/permit for return shall be taken charge of by the police officers at the border crossing point.

3. Do I need a visa for entering Estonia?

Information about visa-free travelling can be found at the webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia.

4. What is the document requirement upon crossing an external border?

For crossing the external border you will need a valid travel document (passport). The valid travel document of third-country national must still be valid at least three months after the planned exiting date of the territory of the Member States, and the document must have been issued within last ten years (Schengen Borders Code, Article 5).

An alien crossing the state border shall hold a valid travel document issued by a foreign state or an international organisation, or an alien's travel document or a permit for return issued by the Republic of Estonia in which data concerning his or her visa or residence permit are entered, unless otherwise provided by law or an international agreement. Data concerning an alien's residence permit need not be entered in a travel document issued by a foreign state or an international organisation, if, in addition to the specified document, the alien also submits a valid identity (ID) card issued by the Republic of Estonia upon crossing the state border.

An Estonian citizen crossing the external border upon departure from Estonia shall hold a valid travel document. An Estonian citizen crossing the external border upon arrival in Estonia shall hold a valid travel document, certificate for return or other document, which is prescribed by an international agreement for visiting a foreign state.

Upon arrival in Estonia, an Estonian citizen who does not hold a cited above document, is also permitted to cross the state border if his or her identity and citizenship are evidenced on the basis of other documents.

5. Which documents shall a driver hold upon exiting Estonia?

A motor vehicle driver crossing the Estonian state border by a motor vehicle or by truck with the maximum authorized weight up to 3500 kg shall hold the following documents:

• Driver`s licence or other valid document proving the right to drive the motor vehicle;
• Registration certificate of the motor vehicle and of its trailer or copy of the trailer`s registration certificate approved by the authority that has issued this document. NB! Upon border crossing only the original registration certificate is acceptable and not the copy of thereof, and it does not matter what type of motor vehicle it is.;
• If the driver of a car or a truck with maximum authorised weight up to 3500 kg, which is registered in Estonia, wishes to exit with such vehicle Estonia and drive into a country which is not an EU Member State, and the name of such driver has not been entered as the user in the registration certificate of the vehicle, then, in addition to the above named documents, the driver must also have along a written approval issued by the owner of the motor vehicle for use of the motor vehicle. Such written approval is not requested, if the owner or a person entered as the user in the registration certificate is a fellow passenger.
• Written approval can be substituted by the contract for use, if the owner and a person granting the use of a motor vehicle is a legal person who has been entered in the Estonian Commercial Register and whose statutory activities are lease, commercial lease or rental lease.
• The written approval for the use of a motor vehicle and its trailer shall contain the following data:
o Place and date of compiling the written approval;
o Name and address of the owner of motor vehicle or its trailer;
o Make and model of the motor vehicle or its trailer, and registration of manufacturer's vehicle identification number;
o Registration certificate number and registration plate number;
o Given name and surname and address of the user of the motor vehicle, number of driver`s licence, date of birth or ID code;
o Validity term of the written approval.
o The owner's signature on the written approval must be attested officially or notarially.
• Motor third party liability insurance policy.

6. Which documents shall a seafarer of a recreational craft hold upon exiting Estonia?

Seafarer of a recreational craft shall hold:

• valid travel document;
• certificate of a skipper of a recreational craft;
• certificate of a recreational craft;
• list of passengers (list of persons on board of the recreational craft).
Pursuant to the valid maritime legislation of the Republic of Estonia, the passenger list is considered to be a ship's document.

NB! The skipper of a recreational craft arriving from a third country is obligated to present to the police officers the list of persons (passengers) being on board of recreational crafts.

Look at : Navigation in foreign waters

7. What are the requirements for minors upon crossing external border?

Document requirements for minors upon crossing the state border:

• In the European Union (EU) the document requirements for minors upon crossing the external border have been established similar to those for adults, meaning, that the EU and Schengen Member States apply the principle "each and every person shall hold a personal travel document". From amongst the EU Member States the obligation of travel document for minor is not applicable in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and in Ireland. This provision does not concern the travel documents issued by non-EU countries.
• Pursuant to the Estonian valid legislation, upon crossing the state border of Estonia there is no requirement to hold additional documents (letters of authorization). Still, due to the restricted active legal capacity of a minor, the border guard officer can check at the border the existence of approval by his/her parent (legal representative). Border guard officers of other states may also request additional documents. We recommend to provide a child with the permit written by hand, where the contacts of the parents shall be recorded. In addition, it is recommendable to contact the foreign representation of the target country before travelling to a foreign country and to ask for the specifications having regard to the requested documents.
• An alien under 15 years of age need not hold a travel document if he or she enters Estonia, stays in Estonia or departs from Estonia accompanied by a person in whose travel document the alien's name, date of birth and photograph and data concerning his or her visa or residence permit, if a visa or residence permit requirement applies to the alien in Estonia, are entered. If the minor is under 7 years of age, his or her photograph need not be entered in the travel document held by the person accompanying the minor. Data concerning residence permit need not be entered in the travel document held by the person accompanying the minor if the minor has a valid identity (ID) card or document evidencing residence permit, issued by the Republic of Estonia.
• An alien minor, who does not have the legal bases or does not hold the valid travel document for entering Estonia and applies for asylum or residence permit in Estonia under the temporary protection, shall be allowed to enter Estonia after having submitted the application for asylum or residence permit under the temporary protection to the police authority.
• When a minor is travelling with an accompanying person, it is checked that the accompanying person of the minors is their parental curator. In order to make the checking smooth, we recommend you to have along documents evidencing your rights as a parental curator. When travelling outward Estonia the attested approval of the other parent is not requested at the border. Still, we draw your attention, that such approval can be requested at the border of a transit country and/or target country, therefore we certainly recommend you to contact the foreign representation of the transit country and/or target country before starting your trip in order to obtain more specific information.

8. What to do if a child has already been removed to live in a foreign country or there is a plan to do so without the consent of the other parent?

Parents often appeal to the Police and Border Guard Board to prevent transfer of their child to live in a foreign country by the other parent. Pursuant to the Family Law Act, parents have joint custody over their child. If a parent represents a child independently, consent of the other parent is presumed. An electronic mail or a phone call is no sufficient ground so that the Police and Border Guard Board could prevent the crossing of the state border of their child in case the child travels with the other parent. Parents should consider the fact that since the accession of Estonia to the Schengen Area, the internal border controls have been lifted (including internal flights and passenger ships between Member States). Persons pass the border checks if they cross the external border (in other words, they travel to a third country).

If one parent wishes to prevent (does not give consent) for the transfer of their child to another country / to live there and the parents cannot reach an agreement, courts should be applied to in order to solve the problem. Transfer of the child from the country without consent of the other parent is not a solution to the problem. In the course of the subsequent legal dispute concerning the custody of the child, the parent might not only deprived of the right to meet their children, but in some cases also a real penalty could be imposed on the parent (the provisions of the convention on the international child abduction shall apply if the child aged under 16 years has been taken to a foreign country or he/she is retained there without the consent of the person who holds the right of custody of the child).

In order to avoid any subsequent problems, the matters of child custody should be solved by the parents before the child settles in a foreign country.

If the child has already removed to a foreign country, you can turn to the Estonian Ministry of Justice, contacting them on the telephone +372 6208 183, or via email central.authority@just.ee. The Ministry of Justice shall first discover the whereabouts of the child and help to establish a peaceful agreement. In particular, an agreement with the other parent will be sought the child to be voluntarily returned, or efforts are made in order to resolve the situation out of courts. If such action does not bring any effects, legal proceedings will be initiated in order to return the child.

Watch also some educational videos:
Parental child abduction
The EU cross-border rights of custody of the child and visiting rights

Recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

9. What are the legal bases for arrival to and stay in the country?

The legal bases for an alien to stay in Estonia are:
• a visa issued by a competent Estonian agency;
• a visa issued by a competent agency of a member state of the Schengen Convention unless the terms of a visa preclude the right to stay in Estonia;
• the right to stay in Estonia arising directly from a treaty;
• the right to stay in Estonia arising from a resolution of the Government of the Republic to forego the visa requirement;
• the right or obligation to stay in Estonia directly arising from law, a judicial decision or an administrative act;
• a residence permit issued by a competent agency of a member state of the Schengen Convention, and
• a diplomatic or service card issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the staff of the diplomatic mission and consular post of a foreign state and a representation of an international organisation accredited to Estonia, their family members and private staff.

NB! General order of alien's legal status upon arrival at the border crossing point after expiry of the legal ground for stay in Estonia.

10. Which countries is it possible to travel to visa-free with an Estonian alien`s passport?


Visa-free regime applies to persons with undetermined citizenship who is a holder of an alien`s passport and residence permit of Estonia. Look at the homepage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

11. What are those cases when the police officer may not allow an alien to enter Estonia?

Police officer has been provided with the right to prevent an alien from entering the country, if:
• the alien violates the border regime or custom rules;
• the alien refuses to produce at the border crossing point information relating his/her personality and the trip;
• the alien does not possess sufficient funds for covering his/her stay in Estonia and departure from Estonia and there is no recipient who can cover such expenses;
• the alien fails to produce the requisite health insurance policy;
• the alien presents a risk to public order, internal security, public health or international relationships of one or several EU Member States;
• the other cases prescribed by the Estonian legislation.

12. What are the possible questions asked upon crossing the external border?

At the external border, the police officers can ask anything concerning the purposes of the visit, means of subsistence for stay and accommodation in Estonia, etc., and to request documents evidencing the statements.

13. Where can I find information concerning border queues?

The information related to the state border queues can be found at the GoSwift electronic environment for booking a state border queue.

14. What are the restrictions established for import of goods?

The information related to the restrictions and prohibitions on import of the goods carried along by a traveller shall be found at the home page of the Tax and Customs Board.